2022 Special Olympics USA Games Named Winner of 2021 Amazon Web Services Imagine Grant for Nonprofits

2022 Special Olympics USA Games will work with Amazon’s cloud computing arm to build greater awareness about the stories of these athletes returning to glory – and connecting, interacting, and sharing their experiences through a cloud-powered app.

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games announced it has been selected as a winner of the 2021 Amazon Web Services (AWS) Imagine Grant, a public grant opportunity open to registered 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the United States who are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The grant will support the 2022 USA Games efforts to develop an interactive fan engagement mobile app that will serve to unite athletes, coaches, families, and honored guests throughout the Special Olympics 2022 USA Games – all powered by a cutting-edge serverless container infrastructure leveraging AWS Fargate and other critical services.

Now in its fourth year, the AWS Imagine Grant program provides vital resources to nonprofit organizations looking to deploy cloud technology as a central tool to achieve mission goals. As part of the program, AWS seeks proposals for big ideas on how to leverage technology in new and innovative ways to accelerate impact in local and global communities.

This dynamic, React-based app will allow stakeholders to (1) create custom games schedules, (2) live stream the Opening and Closing ceremonies, competitions, and awards presentations, (3) view transportation schedules and guided options to and from any venue, (4) engage with in-venue augmented reality experiences (such as wayfinding), (5) enable virtual ticketing, (6) receive push notifications for general games info, weather alerts, competition delays, etc., and (7) interact with sponsor opportunities via experiential marketing. Reflecting athlete input gathered during a deep research phase, the app will also feature a signature experience that allows users to send virtual “cheers” to celebrate the accomplishments of athletes throughout the Games, further elevating the message of inclusion, goodwill, and positivity that have made this organization a beacon of hope for so many.

2022 USA Games was named a winner in the Go Further, Faster category which recognizes highly innovative projects using advanced cloud services. Proposals were judged on several factors including the innovative and unique nature of the project, impact on mission-critical goals, and clearly defined outcomes and milestones.

Powering the app is an innovative serverless infrastructure designed by Solodev, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner and Cloud Consulting Partner to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Built entirely on AWS, the solution leverages a wide range of cloud and container services – including AWS Fargate – helping to accelerate development, reduce costs, and enhance scalability. Solodev recommended AWS as the cloud of choice to meet the unique challenges of this humanitarian effort and has provided vital consulting and DevOps expertise at every step.

“The support from the AWS team is a game-changer, enabling us to continue our ambitious goal to create something that has never before been possible for our athletes,” said Lonnie Snyder, Chief Information Officer, 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. “Thanks to the AWS cloud, we have already load-tested our first release and achieved sub-second response times with minimal hosting fees thanks to the serverless infrastructure. What we build will be enhanced by others and change the landscape of the Special Olympics Movement globally.”

Since the launch of the Imagine Grant program in 2018, AWS has awarded over $4.5M in unrestricted funds, AWS Promotional Credits, and AWS training support to 46 nonprofit organizations in support of their technology-driven goals. Previous winners are currently using AWS services to tackle critical challenges such as finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes by leveraging the power of data, tackling conservation issues at scale with machine learning, helping the military and Veteran community access resources faster and more reliably, and more.

“AWS was incredibly inspired by the innovative thinking we saw in the applications received this year. All of the nonprofits share a commitment to solving some of our world’s biggest challenges,” said Dave Levy, Vice President of Nonprofits, Healthcare, and U.S. Government at AWS. “We look forward to collaborating with our winners to help them build and reinvent new and existing cloud-based solutions that will make a meaningful impact on communities worldwide.”

“When it comes to powering nonprofits in the cloud, we always rely on AWS,” said Matt Garrepy, Chief Digital Officer at Solodev. “We’re proud to be supporting the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games with cloud technologies that will help transform the athlete and fan experience.”

Over 35,000 nonprofit organizations worldwide use AWS to increase their impact and advance mission goals. Through multiple programs tailored specifically to the nonprofit community, AWS can enable nonprofits of all sizes to overcome barriers to technology adoption, while enhancing the scale, performance, and capabilities of mission operations.

For more information on the AWS Imagine Grant, visit aws.amazon.com/imagine-grant.

About the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games 
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Jersey Mike’s Subs is the Presenting Partner and the event is hosted by Disney. During this magical week, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean will travel to Florida to unite in one of the country’s most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and showcases 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout the week including forums and VIP receptions. Website: www.2022USAGames.org.


April Evans