Timothy Shriver is the Chairman of Special Olympics, Inc. In that capacity, he serves more than 3.1 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in more than 175 countries. He has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on acceptance, inclusion and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.
In his 14 years at the helm of Special Olympics, Shriver has launched the organization’s most ambitious growth agenda to date. He has worked with the leaders of China to launch a thriving Program in their country and supported their efforts to bring the 2007 Special Olympics World Games to Shanghai. He has also worked with world leaders and dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Bertie Ahern, Rafiq Hariri, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Nyerere, Hosni Mubarak, Shimon Peres, Adrian Nastase, Adnan Terzic and Alejandro Toledo to bring issues related to intellectual disabilities to the forefront. He has begun programs in developing or war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina and Iraq.
Shriver has also created exciting new initiatives that enhance the quality of life for millions of people with intellectual disabilities through programs in athlete leadership, cross-cultural research, health initiatives, education development and family support. For example, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® was designed to help Special Olympics athletes improve their overall health and fitness, while Special Olympics Unified Sports® brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to help equalize the ability level and promote inclusion through team practice and competition.
As part of his work with Special Olympics, Shriver has been successful harnessing the power of Hollywood to push the movement forward. He has pursued initiatives in music, film and television to highlight the abilities and issues of those with intellectual disabilities, while helping to raise funds and awareness for the movement. In addition, he worked to get more legislative attention and government support for issues of concern to the Special Olympics community, testifying in front of Congress every year since 2001.
Before joining Special Olympics, Shriver served in various roles including educator, counselor, author and speaker in order to bring issues to the forefront such as substance abuse, violence, dropout rates and teen pregnancy. He worked with the New Haven Public Schools’ Social Development Project, now considered the leading school-based prevention effort in the United States, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading research organization in the United States in the field of social and emotional learning. Shriver currently chairs CASEL.
Shriver applied his educational interests to film, co-producing DreamWorks Studios’ 1997 release, “Amistad,” and Disney Studios’ 2000 release, “The Loretta Claiborne Story.” He is Executive Producer of “The Ringer” a Farrely Brothers’ film. Mr. Shriver also has produced or co-produced shows for ABC, TNT and NBC networks, plus made broadcast appearances on The Today Show, CNN, MTV and Nickelodeon’s World of Difference.
Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master's degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including honorary degrees from Loyola University, New England College and Albertus Magnus College, the Medal of the City of Athens, Greece, the Order de Manuel Amador Guerrera of the Republic of Panama, the 1995 Connecticut Citizen of the Year and the Surgeon General’s Medallion. He has authored articles in many leading publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Commonweal.
In addition to serving as a board member for Leeds Equity, Shriver currently serves on the Board of the Education Commission of the States’ Compact for Learning and Citizenship, chairs the Board of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.