ST. LOUIS (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Build-A-Bear Workshop(R), the interactive entertainment retailer of customized stuffed animals, announced today that it will raise funds to support Autism Speaks in honor of Autism Awareness Month. This is the sixth consecutive year that the company and its foundation have supported the charity, which funds research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism and advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Guests can visit any Build-A-Bear Workshop retail location in the United States and donate $1 at checkout register to support Autism Speaks from March 31 though May 2.
Guests can also give back at buildabearville.com(R) - the company's virtual world. From April 1 through June 30, they can choose to donate a portion of the proceeds from the purchase of Bearville Outfitters(R) Virtual Stuff Game Cards to Autism Speaks when they activate their cards. This collective effort in stores and online will contribute to the more than $200,000 that has been raised by Build-A-Bear Workshop since 2004 to support Autism Speaks.
"We are grateful to Build-A-Bear Workshop and its Guests for their commitment to our cause and the generosity they have shown to our organization," said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. "Our continued partnership helps to educate families and communities across the country about autism and generate much-needed funds to support our research initiatives."
Build-A-Bear Workshop believes in the teddy bear philosophy of being good people and good bears. Throughout its 13 year history, the company has shared the hug of a teddy bear wherever needed in local communities and abroad. Build-A-Bear Workshop has given guests a voice in supporting the causes that are important to them and through its corporate donations and foundation grant programs, has given more than $25 million to children's health and wellness, animals, literacy and other important causes.
"Build-A-Bear Workshop is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and we are pleased to continue our partnership with Autism Speaks this year with the help of our Guests," said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder and chief executive bear. "By working together we will make a difference for families and individuals who are affected by this disorder and help solve the puzzle of autism."
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception only five short years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $142.5 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks also supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council which has received over $210 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a community grant program and much more. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is also Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards such as the CHILD Magazine Children's Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for their commitment to global autism advocacy.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. The company currently operates more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball(R) mascot in-stadium locations, and Build-A-Dino(R) stores. Build-A-Bear Workshop extends its in-store interactive experience online with its award winning virtual world Web site at buildabearville.com(R). The company was named to the 2009 and 2010 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For(R) lists. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $394.4 million in fiscal 2009.
We would like to thank you for your interest in covering our business. As you write your story, we wouldask that you use our full Name: Build-A-Bear Workshop(R)and that when referencing the processof making stuffed animals you use the word "make" not "build."
Build-A-Bear Workshop is our well-known trade name and our registered trademark of Build-A-Bear Retail Management, Inc.Build-A-Bear Workshop(R)should only be used in capital letters to refer to our products and services and should not be used as a verb.
SOURCE: Build-A-Bear Workshop