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The Shriver brothers and their ties to the Cape

Anthony Shriver

The most visible of the Shriver family’s events on Cape Cod is probably the annual Best Buddies Challenge. In 2019, this event will take place on June 1st. Tom Brady headlines the group of celebrities involved with the fundraiser, for which more than 2,000 participants choose to ride distances of 100, 50 or 20 miles or run/walk 5k. The 100-mile route begins in Dorchester; all routes end at Craigville Beach, where a clambake and a concert take place. Although Best Buddies serves the same community of people as Special Olympics, its purpose is different. Anthony Shriver started the organization when he was a student at Georgetown University in 1986 as a mentorship program modeled after Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, for which he had previously volunteered. In 1989, he established Best Buddies as a legal entity and has remained its leader, chairman and CEO ever since. The organization “fosters one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)” and provides assistance with jobs and housing along with mentoring. Best Buddies also partners with Special Olympics for various causes, including campaigns to end the “r-word,” and collaborates with other nonprofits such as the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Autism Speaks. Anthony Shriver reflects with amazement on the fact that the organization has been going strong for over 30 years already. “At Georgetown, I thought Best Buddies would be a fun thing to do,” he says. “I had no real plan, but then it kept going. The Big Guy got involved.”

The brothers credit Eunice and Sarge for allowing them “infinite possibilities, creative work, and to be able to do anything all over the world.”

The Best Buddies Challenge used to finish in Hyannis Port, but just as the organization itself outgrew Georgetown University, and just as Special Olympics outgrew the Shrivers’ backyards, the reception for the ride needed to expand to a much larger space, in Craigville. Nevertheless, Anthony, along with his siblings, remains rooted in their family’s summer home in Hyannis Port, as does the spirit of their work. Their older brother Bobby, and their sister, Maria, have also continued to expand the visions and missions of Sargent and Eunice Shriver in their own careers. Anthony’s children have all been volunteers as well, and his oldest son, Teddy, earned the distinction of becoming the first Shriver to serve in the Peace Corps, in Peru. Anthony says: “Dad always thought of Peace Corps as his most significant accomplishment. To have his grandkid do it would make him super proud.” He also believes that his parents would have valued the fact that he’s stuck with his career for 30 years. “I’ve tried my best to keep at it, to keep hammering away,” he says. “We try to keep focusing on young people, on service, and on reaching people with what I call special abilities.” 

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