Great Neck Resident Sets New Fundraising Record At 2023 Polar Plunge


    Every year Special Olympics New York organizes polar plunges around the state to raise funds for local Special Olympics athletes. The polar plunge attracts thousands of Special Olympics supporters and thrill seekers across the country. Director of Development for Special Olympics New York, Rebecca Hoffman, said, “We have about 17 plunges across the state now, and they’re all done throughout November to April.”

    Erin Lipinsky at the 2023 Polar Plunge (Photo by Joe Oginski)

    The Feb. 4 Town of North Hempstead Polar Plunge was canceled due to extremely cold weather, causing many North Hempstead participants to travel to Tobay Beach in Massapequa for the Town of Oyster Bay’s Polar Plunge. The Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jen DeSena joined Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino at the Tobay Beach Polar Plunge.

    Great Neck resident Erin Lipinsky participated in Tobay Beach’s Polar Plunge and set a new fundraising record. This year mark’s his ninth year participating in the “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge. Lipinsky has been hosting different fundraising events throughout the year to raise money for the plunges.

    In March of 2022, Lipinksy raised $23,290 for Special Olympics New York at the Polar Plunge at Tobay Beach in Massapequa. This was the most amount of money Lipinksy has ever raised since he began participating in the polar plunges nine years ago.

    This past November, Lipinsky hosted his annual car wash fundraiser at the Great Neck Alert Fire Company. As of Dec. 14, Lipinsky had already raised $4,770 for North Hempstead’s 2023 Polar Plunge.

    “Erin Lipinsky rallies the community, and he always says all he is doing it for the kids,” said Hoffman. “Erin has been the top fundraiser statewide for about seven years now. And this year, he had a goal to raise $25,000 because he wants to hold his title as the top fundraiser.”

    At the Tobay Beach Polar Plunge in late March, Lipinsky raised more than he expected and beat his previous record by raising $28,000 for Special Olympics New York.

    According to a press release from Sara Rietbroek about Lipinksy’s plunge, “Erin was joined by many others from the community who support Special Olympics New York every year by raising funds from family and friends—and then splashing into frigid fall and winter waters.”

    Tobay Beach’s Polar Plunge drew a crowd of about 600 participants.

    “At some of our polar plunges, we have about 1,500 people jumping in the water, some we have 500, and some we have a hundred,” said Hoffman. “They definitely do vary by plunge.” Friends, families and co-workers can gather teams to make the plunge together, or individuals can join to jump in the frigid water.

    Each polar plunge for Special Olympics raises lots of money. Either as a team or individually, plungers and supporters donate to the Special Olympics to help fund local athletes.

    “The money goes directly to our local athletes,” said Hoffman. “We provide 22 Olympic-style sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. We give them the opportunity to train and compete, and we never charge them a dollar for anything. We provide opportunities that they’re not given in their school district or on the community soccer teams.”

    Donations are still being accepted at:
    For questions, please contact Rebecca Hoffmann at Special Olympics NY – Long Island office at: or call 631-458-1579.

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