GiGi's Playhouse is thrilled to announce that our fearless founder and GiGi's Mom, Nancy Gianni, has been officially chosen as a CNN Hero!
12 years ago, Nancy envisioned a better world, one full of potential and acceptance. That is when the first GiGi's Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center opened.
Available to all, GiGi's is a place for families and the community to learn about and celebrate the diagnosis of Down syndrome and benefit from free therapeutic, educational and career training programs that unleash one's "Best of All". Today there are 31 free-standing Playhouses throughout the United States and Mexico serving more than 25,000 participants and families. Programs are offered 100% free to all families so that cost will never be a barrier to achievement and acceptance. Going beyond Down syndrome, Nancy's vision for global acceptance for ALL comes to life through GiGi's Playhouse and the Generation G campaign
"This is not about me or GiGi. It is about all of us stepping up to make this world a better place. The real Heroes of GiGi's Playhouse include the participants themselves, (they inspire me every day!), the volunteers who run 97% of all programming, the courageous families who embrace the journey of opening a Playhouse in their own community, and the believers who make this all possible."
The entire segment and Nancy's official CNN Hero profile can be viewed on CNN.com by CLICKING HERE
Segments of Nancy's story are tentatively scheduled to air LIVE on CNN and its family of networks in the next several days, subject to breaking news and other ongoing stories:
- HLN (formerly Headline News) at 6AM and 1PM
- CNN: 10AM, 3PM - HLN: 10AM
- CNN: 4PM
- CNN: 3PM - CNNEE (CNN en Espanol): 5PM
From Richard Riley, a long-time Playhouse grandparent and supporter who nominated Nancy for CNN Heroes:
"Acknowledgment on the world stage should be but a beginning in recognizing the mission and the expectation of it's success that Nancy Gianni has set. It could have easily been about her child, her struggle. Instead Nancy chose the word our...our children, our struggle. Millions are in need of feeling the touch of Love that is GiGi's Playhouse!"
CNN Heroes is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others. 2016 marks the tenth year of the Peabody Award-winning, Emmy-nominated campaign. Each year, CNN receives thousands of nominations from around the world.
In its first nine years, CNN Heroes has received more than 50,000 nominations from more than 100 countries. Since 2007, the campaign has profiled more than 200 CNN Heroes. They're working in more than 80 countries around the world, helping hundreds of thousands of people.
CNN's decision came after a month-long vetting process - including research, analysis and investigation into 501c3 standings with the IRS, our financials, our business model, our program model, location stability, executive board health, and more - across all 12 years of GiGi's Playhouse existence - and we passed! To be verified and validated by an international news organization like CNN is pretty cool unto itself!
Please join us in congratulating Nancy, her family and the GiGi's Playhouse community on this very special honor!