ComEd employees have raised over $1.5 million to support Special Olympians over last 12 years
Over 320 ComEd employees, friends and family members returned to Chicago’s North Avenue Beach yesterday for the annual Chicago Polar Plunge presented by Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities (SOC/SCC). For more than a decade, ComEd Coolers have raised funds and plunged into Lake Michigan to support thousands of athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities across Chicago.
As part of the company’s “ComEd Coolers” team, ComEd employees have raised more than $198,000, and are on track to raise more than $200,000, for the 2023 Polar Plunge. Since ComEd started participating in the Polar Plunge in 2011, nearly 5,000 employees have raised more than $1.5 million to support this important cause.
“The ComEd Coolers continue to be one of our largest and highest fundraising teams year after year,” said Ray Barker, President, Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities. “We are thankful for ComEd’s continuous support and dedication to the thousands of athletes that our programs serve, all of whom reside in the city of Chicago. It is through the support of companies such as ComEd, that we are able to offer year-round programming, events and life-changing experiences to our athletes.”
Now in its 23rd year, the Chicago Polar Plunge supports year-round sports competitions and recreational activities for children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. SOC/SCC supports 17 athletic programs at 23 Chicago Park District locations and over 150 Chicago Public Schools.
“At ComEd, we understand the importance of fostering inclusive environments where people feel valued and empowered,” said Gil Quiniones ComEd CEO. “I am proud that our employees show up year after year to support Special Olympics Chicago athletes. Taking the plunge for the first time alongside dedicated employees, friends and families was an incredible experience.”
Linda Givand Rhodes, senior manager of customer assistance and advocacy at ComEd, plunged into Lake Michigan for the third time. Last year, Rhodes jumped into Lake Michigan by herself as the COVID-19 pandemic kept the ComEd Coolers at home. Rhodes’ love for sports and the camaraderie it creates amongst athletes is what inspires her to jump into the icy waters of Lake Michigan year after year.
“What I love about sports is not only the physical benefits, but the emotional benefits as well. It provides an opportunity to build teamwork skills and strengthen connections with other people,” said Rhodes. “It would be a shame not to make something that I personally value unavailable and inaccessible to everybody. Which is why leading up to the plunge I focus on the meaning of the cause instead of being cold for 10 minutes.”
The Chicago Polar Plunge is one of ComEd’s longstanding commitments to give back to the communities it serves. In 2022, ComEd employees supported a variety of initiatives including the Special Olympics Chicago Polar Plunge, The American Heart Association’s Heart Walks, and the ComEd Cause of the Year: Addressing Food Insecurity. In total, ComEd employees volunteered over 20,000 hours, supported 452 nonprofit organizations and raised more than $1.5 million dollars for organizations throughout northern Illinois.
For more information about ComEd’s commitment to supporting communities throughout northern Illinois, visit ComEd.com/Community.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.