Media Advisory



Dalmath Associates, Inc. (585) 586-6650

Jean Dalmath (585) 755-6911

Amanda Antinore (585) 729-7533

Wednesday March 4 is National R-Word Awareness Day

Events Scheduled all around Rochester 

to Spread the Word to End the R-Word (Retarded)

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--March 3, 2015--For the fifth year, the Golisano Foundation  is challenging the Rochester community to Spread the Word to End the R-Word.?


The campaign, which has become one of the largest in the nation for a single region, is being held around the national Spread the Word to End the Word day of awareness on March 4th. It asks people to pledge to take a stand against using the R-word, "retard" or "retarded." 

The r-word has gained popularity in culture, but is offensive and derogatory.


Here's what's happening around Rochester to spread the word! 



National R-Word Awareness Day Pledge CampaigActivities are taking place at the following locations:

  • Bay Trail Middle School, Penfield, students involved in multiple activities assisted by The Advocacy Center
  • Eastman Institute for Oral Health, staffed by medical and dental students
    • University of Rochester Medical Center, 625 Elmwood Ave., Eastman Dental Center banner signing, 11:00am-1:30pm
    • Downtown Clinic in Sibley Building288 E. Main Street, banner signing, 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Greater Rochester Collaborative - The College at Brockport and Nazareth College of Rochester collaboration, 55 St. Paul Street
  • Monroe Community Hospital 
  • Monroe Community College Henrietta Campus 
  • Nazareth College, Main Campus, 4245 East Avenue, Rochester
  • RCSD School 17 Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation Dental Center, 158 Orchard Street
    • Banner signing, 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Roberts Wesleyan College, 2301 Westside Dr, Rochester 
  • Rochester Institute of Technology - 
  • Rochester Regional Health System - 
  • University of Rochester Medical Center and AADMD, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Strong Memorial Hospital's Caf´┐Ż 601
    • DJ Lui, 10:30am - Noon
    • Gregory Street Blues Band, Noon - 1:30pm 
  • University of Rochester River Campus (see above)


  • Monroe Community College Damon Campus (228 East Main Street)

  • University of Rochester River Campus (252 Elmwood Ave) is organizing multiple events on campus to encourage people to be kind to one another and use respectful language - specifically, to try and remove/discourage use of the "R-Word" in campus community and raise awareness of why words matter. Activities include:

  • "I choose to #endtheRword because..." whiteboard photo campaign

  • Info pledge center in Wilson Commons

  • Banners and signs around campus

  • "Post-Secret" style box: At the info table in Wilson Commons will be a box in which campus community members can share anonymous personal stories about when the R-word (or any derogatory language) was used in a hurtful way.  After 3/4/15, peoples' stories will be compiled on a large poster and placed in a public area for campus to see.

R-Word Activities Media Contact at UR is: Catherine Lewis, Assistant Director
Rochester Center for Community Leadership, (585) 275-8172,

See Tom Golisano's video message


Each year the foundation's goal is to reach out to more people who can spread the word and pledge to use respectful language that promotes more accepting attitudes for all people including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have unique gifts and talents to share with the world.


Additional activities will be updated on our web site:


Spread the Word to End the Word was started by youth and is an ongoing effort of Special Olympics International, Best Buddies and other supporters.


Each year the Golisano Foundation's goal is to reach out to more people who can spread the word and pledge to use respectful language that promotes more accepting attitudes for all people including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have unique gifts and talents to share with the world. 


"Most people who use the words retard or retarded do not mean to be hateful, but to the millions of people around the world have intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities, and their families and friends, it is hurtful, and as cruel and offensive as any other slur," said Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation.


"With greater awareness Rochester is leading the way nationally, and inspiring other communities to make a dramatic change - and to think before using words that perpetuate the stigma and negative stereotypes."  


"We made a big impact last year and are grateful for the response we received. Now we need to build on that awareness and keep the message going.


"We're asking people, schools, businesses, organizations and communities to take the pledge to end the r-word and use the new r-word, respect. It's easy, it doesn't cost anything, it takes just a minute and it can make a big difference."


How to Organize a Pledge Event

Go to and take the pledge, and to get information and resources on how to Spread the word to end 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



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 $28 million in gross assets and has awarded more than $17 million in grants, about $1.2 million annually, to non-profit organizations in a multi-county region surrounding Rochester, New York that serve people with developmental disabilities.


The foundation is committed to opening doors, changing perceptions, and forging unprecedented partnerships 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 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.


For more information see