February 12, 2024

Festival of Inclusion Returns Saturday February 24 Featuring 80+ Organizations Serving the Intellectual and Developmental Disability Community

Festival of Inclusion

Free! 11AM – 2PM at Nazareth’s Golisano Training Center—Interactive Creative Activities & Demonstrations

The Golisano Foundation, Special Olympics, and Best Buddies are joining together to host the third annual Festival of Inclusion on Saturday, February 24. The inspirational day of interactive fun, games and education is free and will be held at the Golisano Training Center at Nazareth University, 4245 East Ave in Rochester from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is part of the annual Spread the Word Inclusion campaign.

This event is an excellent opportunity to meet the devoted agencies in our region and beyond who will showcase their inclusive services, promote acceptance, and advocate for respectful words and actions in every aspect of our lives. Come and join us for an afternoon filled with entertainment, games and interactive activities

Erica Dayton, Golisano Foundation Executive Director.

Event Highlights

  • 80+ Interactive community stations
  • Adaptive equipment demonstrations
  • Sports activities
  • Virtual reality
  • Therapy animals
  • College programs and medical specialist resources
  • Free t-shirts and tote bags to the first 750 attendees
  • Passport scavenger hunt with fun games and prizes 
  • A photo booth for fun photo ops
  • Monroe County Sheriff emergency vehicles to explore outside the Center
  • AP Enterprises construction equipment to explore outside the Center
  • Food trucks and stands located outside the Golisano Training Center entrance – Chef’s Catering, Eat Greek, ROC City Sammich, Rochester Kettle Corn
  • Additional snacks and beverages generously donated by Wegmans will be available at no charge and distributed by LifePrep@Naz students in Cafe Nine, located inside the Center’s corridor.

2024 Festival of Inclusion sponsors and partners include the Golisano Foundation, Best Buddies, Special Olympics, Nazareth University, Wegmans, AutismUP, Al Sigl, WXXI, Common Thread Brews, Maria Spinelli Photography, Monroe County Sherrif and AP Enterprises.

Community inclusion stations featuring interactive and creative activities and demonstrations will take place inside the Center from the following regional organizations:

Please note – To download media assets please visit:

This year’s Spread the Word Day of activation is Wednesday, March 6. The campaign was created 15 years ago and is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support of inclusion and to promote respect and acceptance of people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.

More Information on the Festival of Inclusion and Spread the Word Inclusion Campaign

For complete details of the event visit

The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. dedicated to making the world a better place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Foundation is devoted to opening doors to opportunity, changing negative perceptions and stereotypes, and forging unprecedented partnerships to ensure individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have pathways to personal dignity, independence, and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes. Founded in 1985 by Tom Golisano—entrepreneur, philanthropist, civic leader, and founder of Paychex, Inc. —the Foundation “imagines the possibilities,” advocating for families, fighting for their dignity, and giving people with IDD the opportunity to thrive in their communities. With more than $60 million in gross assets, it awards about $3 million annually to non-profit organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida.

About Special Olympics New York – Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 170 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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