For Immediate Release



Dalmath Associates, Inc. (585) 586-6650

Jean Dalmath (585) 755-6911

Amanda Antinore (585) 729-7533


Many Rochester Organizations Will Be Spreading the Word to End the R-Word on March 5th 

Golisano Foundation is Launching the 4th Annual Awareness Campaign around the National Day of Awareness 


ROCHESTER, N.Y. - February 26, 2014 - For the fourth year, the Golisano Foundation
is challenging the Rochester community to Spread the Word to End the R-Word.™


The campaign is being held around the national Spread the Word to End the Word day of awareness on March 5th, and 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.


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.


Several local organizations will Spread the Word to End the Word including:

  • Mercy High School -  Plans are in full swing for a March 5th Spread the Word campaign throughout the school in every classroom with posters, pledge banners, and online pledges
  • Sigl Community of Agencies
  • University of Rochester Medical Center and Eastman Institute of Oral Health - a pledge campaign will be held in Cafe 601 on March 5th featuring DJ Louie, who will spin music in the morning from 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and the Gregory Street Blues Band will play in the afternoon from Noon - 1:30 p.m. Other activities are also planned.

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.


"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.


"We believe that with greater awareness Rochester can lead the way nationally, and inspire 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."


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


About the Golisano Foundation

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