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The Shriver brothers and their ties to the Cape

Tim Shriver, who spends summer vacation time here, explains that “Hyannis Port is a great gift of land, people and culture. All of our children see it as our home. Now in the fourth generation for our family, it’s a place to feel at rest, at peace.” His relationships with his three brothers and his sister are also “extremely close and powerful,” and it is here on the Cape that they frequently join together. Tim believes that his parents would be “most excited to see that we have so many people doing such creative work with lessons of the heart.” Though Eunice and Sargent Shriver passed away in recent years, “I feel like they are still here,” Tim says. “I sense their spirits daily; I don’t think of them in the past tense.” 

Mark Shriver

Tim’s younger brother, Mark, also feels an important connection to Hyannis Port and to their parents. “We attend mass with our children every Sunday that we’re here,” he says, “and we visit Mom and Dad in the cemetery across the street afterward.” On a lighter note, Mark says: “The Cape has always been a place of joy, of fun, and of relaxation. And Hyannis Port is just amazing, with golf, water skiing and sailing all within a five-minute walk of each other. It’s the place where we’ve raised our kids with family, both immediate and extended, and multigenerational friends. It’s a web of support and love, and we’ve been blessed to have our kids grow up in this environment.” 

Mark Shriver

Mark Shriver, who joined the board of Special Olympics in February of 2019, also attended the World Games in Abu Dhabi, but his full-time job at Save the Children and much of his career connect more directly with his father’s work. Sargent Shriver is probably best known for founding the U.S. Peace Corps, but he was also the architect of the War on Poverty during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. In Sargent Shriver’s words: “The simplest description of the War on Poverty is that it is a means of making life available for any and all pursuers. It does not try to make men good—because that is moralizing. It does not try to give men what they want—because that is catering. It does not try to give men false hopes—because that is deception. Instead, the War on Poverty tries only to create the conditions by which the good life can be lived—and that is humanism.” The War on Poverty gave rise to such programs as Head Start, Upward Bound, Job Corps, VISTA, Community Action, Legal Services for the Poor, and Foster Grandparents, all of which continue to serve the needs of people throughout the U.S. today. Mark Shriver, in his position as CEO of Save the Children Action Network, leads an effort to mobilize Americans to ensure that every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early childhood education and that children around the world survive and thrive. Mark also serves as senior vice president of U.S. Programs & Advocacy at Save the Children.

Mark Shriver

In 2012, Mark Shriver published the memoir “A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver.” Sargent Shriver’s guiding principles were faith, hope, and love, but of equal importance to him was joy—for himself, for his family, and for others. “I’m trying to live up to these values,” Mark says. “The Jewish teaching of Tikkun Olam (which means repair the world), or Jesus’ efforts to better the community—I’m trying to do this type of thing, but my father was at another level. There are all different approaches; you can do it through a nonprofit organization, but you can also do it by creating jobs, paying good wages. There are a number of good ways to make contributions to society.”  Though Mark’s career focus has been more on poverty and literally saving children around the globe, he has also remained connected with his mother’s work. In fact, in his memoir, Mark describes how his parents’ projects truly intertwined. “Mom was always happy when she was at a Peace Corps celebration,” he writes. “Likewise, I never saw Dad more joyous than when he attended a Special Olympics event. They relished each other’s work.” He recalls that years after the original Camp Shriver of 1962, his parents had rented a 200-acre farm in Maryland. “I remember busloads of people coming out for a day of activities,” he says. “Sports helped open up the doors for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.” His parents also regularly employed people with disabilities both in Maryland and in Hyannis Port. “This was normal in our house,” Mark says. “Back then, these people weren’t generally working; my mother was chipping away at misunderstanding and prejudice.” As is the case with Tim and their other siblings, Mark and his wife Jeanne have raised their three children within the world of Special Olympics and of Best Buddies, the organization that Mark’s brother Anthony started. “Our kids have all volunteered through elementary school, high school, and now college,” Mark says. “And they’ve played on Unified Teams for years.” 

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