Today! Golisano Foundation and Community Kicking off Spread the Word Inclusion
Dozens of Organizations, the Sabres, Amerks, Schools & Businesses Planning Pledge Campaigns & Events
ROCHESTER, NY––March 6, 2019–– For the ninth year, a record number of organizations will join the  Golisano Foundation  on and around Wednesday, March 6 to Spread the Word: Inclusion , to stop all types of discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities.

Spread the Word  asks people to pledge to respect, acceptance, and advocating for inclusive words and actions to end discrimination of individuals with intellectual disabilities. It's being held on and around the national day of activation on Wednesday, March 6.

The Rochester movement has become one of the largest in the country. 

"We have made great progress with our grassroots work over the past 10 years to encourage the use of respectful language. Now, we are taking our efforts to the next level to ask people to be more inclusive in their daily lives," said Ann Costello, Executive Director of the Golisano Foundation. "Being inclusive starts with each of us – at home, at work, at school, at play, and in our communities – to value and respect everyone and include them in our lives. No one wants to be excluded, but it can be a common occurrence for people with intellectual disabilities. We have so much to learn from people who have different abilities and interests. Being more inclusive is easy to do and can make a world of difference."

Spread the Word was founded in 2009 and is an ongoing effort by  Special Olympics  International (SOI) and  Best Buddies International  to inspire respect and acceptance. The Golisano Foundation has spearheaded this initiative in Rochester since 2011. The goal is to promote more inclusive communities for people with disabilities and special needs, and reach out to more people who can spread the word and pledge to use respectful language that promotes more accepting attitudes for all people. The R-Word initiative also helps celebrate the unique gifts and talents that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and can share with the world.

To date more than 50 organizations and associates of the Golisano Foundation in NY State as well as Florida are planning  Spread the Word: Inclusion  pledge activities. Additional activities will be announced as details are finalized.

Highlights of Spread the Word Activities
The following Rochester organizations will be Spreading the Word with pledge activities on site, email and social media campaigns and more:

Spread the Word Inclusion Day Wednesday, March 6 Activities

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.Bishop Kearney High School, speeches and pledge banner signing, 124 Kings Hwy S., Rochester – Media Contact: Steve Salluzzo (585) 342-4000
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. University of Rochester Medical CenterPledge Banner Signing:
  • Eastman Institute for Oral Health (625 Elmwood Ave., Rochester)
  • University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester)
  • Eastman Dental at School #17 (158 Orchard St., Rochester
  • UR Medicine Complex Care Center (905 Culver Rd, Rochester)
  • Strong Memorial Hospital Cafeteria
  • Pledge banner signing
  • Gregory Street Blues Band (under the direction of the ARC) performing from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Best Buddies from School of the Holy Childhood
  • Media contact: Lisa Delucia

Ongoing Spread the Word Activities

  • March 8th 5 to 10 p.m.Night of Inclusion with the Amerks, Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange Blvd, Rochester; discounted ticket prices, pledge banner signing – Media Contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

  • March 10th 2 to 6 p.m.Pledge Banner Signing with the Amerks, Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange Blvd, Rochester – Media Contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

  • March 12th 5 to 10 p.m.Buffalo Sabres Spread the Word, awareness table and pledge banner signing; Key Bank Arena, 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza, Buffalo – Media Contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

  • March 13th 5:30 p.m. – Genesee County Proclamation, Genesee County Building 1, 15 Main St, Batavia – Media contact: Wade Bianco (585) 343-2783

  • March 13th all day – No Uniforms at Notre Dame High School, 73 Union St, Batavia – Media contacts: Wade Bianco (585) 343-2783

  • March 16th 6 to 9 p.m.Ball of InclusionBest Buddies Western NY night of dancing, more details to be announced soon; Arbor at the Port, 1000 N River St Suite 110, Rochester – Media contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

  • March 18th 7 p.m.Arc of Genesee Orleans Trustee Awareness Presentation, Arc of Genesee Orleans, 64 Walnut Street, Batavia – Media contacts: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931

  • March 20th 1 p.m.Rochester Police Department Press Conference and Banner Signing, more details to be announced soon – Media contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

  • March 21stFrench Road Elementary School Assembly on Inclusion, 488 French Rd, Rochester

  • March 23rd 4 to 6:30 p.m.Notre Dame High School Autism Awareness and ANT Fundraiser, 73 Union St., Batavia – Media contact: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931

  • March 27th at 6:30 p.m. – Community Forum on Autism at Roberts Wesleyan College, Shewan Recital Hall, RWC Cultural Life Center, Apple Ln, North Chili – Media contact: Kym Woodard (585) 594-6807

  • March 30th 3 p.m.Notre Dame High School Parent Awareness Event, 73 Union St., Batavia – Media contact: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931

  • March 30th noonSpecial Olympics New York 2019 Canandaigua Polar Plunge, Kershaw Park, 155 Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua – Media contact: Robyn Armando (518) 588-3459

  • March 31st noon to 2 p.m.Charmed by Charity Event at Alex and Ani, in-store inclusive awareness and pledge table; 145 Culver Road Armory, Rochester – Media contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

Friends of the Golisano Foundation that are also promoting education and pledges:

Area Schools Participating in Pledge and Awareness Events in March:

  • Akron Central School, 47 Bloomingdale Ave – Media contact: Justin Gerstung
  • Brockport High School, 40 Allen Street, Brockport – Media contact: Stacy Hurley
  • Camden High School, 55 Oswego St., Camden – Media contact: Diana Carpenter
  • Churchville-Chili, 5786 Buffalo Rd., Churchville – Media contact: MP Dewey
  • City Honors School, 186 E North St., Buffalo – Media contact: Kaitlin Johnson
  • Clarence High School, 9625 Main St., Clarence – Media contact: Beth Brawn-Celotto
  • Dake Junior High School, West Irondequoit Central School District, 350 Cooper Rd., Rochester – Media contact: Courtney Hathaway (585) 245-4655
  • East Syracuse Minoa Central High School, 6400 Fremont R., East Syracuse – Media contact: Jaime Vollmer
  • Fayetteville-Manlius High School, 8201 E Seneca Turnpike, House 2, Manlius – Media contact: Katherine Carlson
  • Grand Island Central School District, 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island – Media contact: Christopher Simpson
  • Hilton High School, 400 East Ave., Hilton – Media contact: Ashley Oswald
  • Honeoye Falls-Lima, 83 East Street, Honeoye Falls – Media contact: James Arrigenna
  • Hornell High School, 134 Seneca Street, Hornell – Media contact: John Cardamone
  • Notre Dame High School, 73 Union St, Batavia – Media Contact: Wade Bianco (585) 343-2783
  • Pioneer Central School, 12145 Countyline Rd., Yorkshire – Media contact: Tom Izydorczak
  • Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Road and 1758 Schlegel Road – Media contact: Jane Laskey
  • Thomas High School, 875 Ridge Road, Webster – Media contact: Jane Laskey
  • Young Women's College Prep Charter School of Rochester, 133 Hoover Dr., Rochester – Media contact: Jeff Wheaton

How to Organize a Pledge Event
Go to  and take the pledge, and to get information and resources on how to Spread the Word in schools, companies and organizations.

Email the Foundation with Pledge Activities
The Foundation will recognize those organizations that are spreading the word on the  web site. To be included organizations should send an email to .

Social Media
The Foundation will also be following along on social media. Tag us in your pictures and tweets on  Facebook  and  Twitter  and  Instagram using the hashtags #PledgetoInclude and #RocRespect.
About Golisano Foundation
The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1985 with an initial gift of $90,000 from B. Thomas Golisano, the founder and Chairman of Paychex, the Foundation now has more than $40 million in gross assets, has awarded more than $24 million in grants, about $2 million annually, primarily to non-profit organizations in a multi-county region surrounding Rochester, NY.
The Golisano Foundation is committed to opening doors, changing perceptions, and forging unprecedented partnerships in pursuit of the goal to provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with pathways to self-sufficiency, personal dignity, and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes. 

Through our targeted initiatives, it is our vision that communities will encourage and commit to inclusion, acceptance and opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and provide services that empower individuals to make their way productively and creatively in their communities. In addition to providing funding, the Foundation also serves as a proactive partner with organizations that serve people with intellectual disabilities, working together to promote acceptance and inclusion in the community and workplace.

Spread the Word: Inclusion
Spread the Word to End the Word was founded in 2009 and is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics (SO), Best Buddies and SO supporters to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities.The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools and organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at  and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.