Erin Lipinsky (right) with his father at the 2024 Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge. (Photo by Joe Oginski)

Great Neck Resident Sets New Fundraising Record At 2024 Polar Plunge

On Saturday, Feb. 3, the Town of North Hempstead hosted the Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge. The plunge took place at North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington. 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. This year, Special Olympics New York has planned about ten polar plunges across the state, beginning in November and finishing up in early April.

The 2024 Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge in the Town of North Hempstead. (Photo from the Port Washington Fire Department’s Facebook)

The Town of North Hempstead hosts the Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge to show support for the Special Olympics and raise funds for local athletes. The Polar Plunge supports year-round sports training and competition and health and inclusion programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Special Olympics NY community.

“The money goes directly to our local athletes,” Rebecca Hoffman, Director of Development for Special Olympics New York told the Great Neck Record. “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.”

Lipinsky at North Hempstead Beach Park for the 2024 “Freezin’ For A Reason” Polar Plunge. (Photo by Joe Oginski)

Great Neck resident Erin Lipinsky fundraises each year for the Polar Plunge. This year marks his tenth year participating in the “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge. He has been a longtime member of the Great Neck Spirits Basketball Team for Special Olympics NY.

Lipinksy has consistently been the top fundraiser in New York. In March of 2022, Lipinksy raised $23,290 for Special Olympics New York at the Polar Plunge. At the 2023 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.

This year, Lipinsky broke his own fundraising record, once again making him the top individual fundraiser of the event. Lipinsky raised $32,000 for Special Olympics New York at this year’s Polar Plunge.

Hoffman shared that there were 110 plungers at North Hempstead’s Polar Plunge, raising a total of $63,000.

According to a press release from Special Olympics New York, “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 winter waters.”

The Town of North Hempstead Board came out to show support for the Polar Plunge. Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena participated in the plunge, jumping in the cold water with the community.

Town of North Hempstead Board Members and Erin Lipinksy receive recognition from Special Olympics New York. (Photo by Joe Oginski)

“I joined friends, neighbors, and advocates at the Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge which we welcomed back to North Hempstead Beach Park this year,” Supervisor DeSena said on Facebook. “The water was definitely cold, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. Thank you to all who participated and sponsored this amazing event, and in a special way to Erin, who raised more than $30,000 for this charitable event.”

The Great Neck Alert Fire Company, Port Washington Fire Department, Plandome Fire Department and the Manhasset-Lakeville Volunteer Fire Department attended this year’s North Hempstead Polar Plunge event.

According to the Port Washington Fire Department, “The fire departments were in the water providing a safety area and were ready to provide assistance to any of the plungers in the event of any emergencies. EMS units were on the scene to assist with any injuries or cold water/weather-related incidents.”

“We certainly couldn’t have done this event without our police and firefighters who kept everyone safe in and out of the water, as well our Town Parks Department for organizing this event for us,” Councilmember Christine Liu said on Facebook. “It was a great event with great people for a great cause! Maybe next year I’ll have the nerve to take the plunge.”

Donations are still being accepted at

To learn more about Special Olympics New York and the Polar Plunge, visit

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