Build-A-Bear Workshop Supports Autism Speaks For Seventh Consecutive Year
Donations for Autism Speaks will be raised in Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and at buildabear.com More than $400,000 raised to date
ST. LOUIS, Mar 29, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Build-A-Bear Workshop®, the interactive entertainment retailer of customized stuffed animals, announced today that it will raise funds to support Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization, which funds research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism and advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Guests can support Autism Speaks by donating $1 (or more) when they check out at all Build-A-Bear Workshop retail locations in the United States, at buildabear.com®, or by purchasing purple satin hearts in Canada throughout the month of April. The fourth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2011.
Guests can also give back at Bearville.com(TM) - 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® Virtual Stuff Game Cards to Autism Speaks when they activate their cards. Since 2004, Build-A-Bear Workshop has raised more than $400,000 to support Autism Speaks.
"On behalf of Autism Speaks, I would like to express our appreciation to Build-A-Bear Workshop and all of the generous Guests that help to support our organization," said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. "Our long-standing partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop helps to educate more families and communities about autism while providing our organization with funds to support research and advocacy initiatives."
Build-A-Bear Workshop and its associates believe in the teddy bear philosophy of being good people and good bears. Throughout its 14 year history, the company with heart 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 like children's health and wellness, animals, literacy and has given more than $30 million through its corporate donations and foundation grant programs to these causes.
"Build-A-Bear Workshop is dedicated to focusing our charitable efforts on those causes that matter most to our Guests and their families, especially those causes that benefit children. With autism affecting one in 110 children in the United States, it is extremely important to put research into finding a cause and cure for this disorder," said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder and chief executive bear. "We are pleased to support Autism Speaks as the organization works towards the goal of changing the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders."
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.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families. 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 has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks' 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, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council has received over $258 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 and a community grant program. 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 in 24 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 14 states. 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.
About the Co-Founders
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 Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He served as Vice Chairman of General Electric; and as the 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 and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, 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 Divisionand The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John's University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.
About Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.
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 United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball® mascot in-stadium locations, and Build-A-Dino® stores. Build-A-Bear Workshop extends its in-store interactive experience online with its award winning virtual world website at Bearville.com. The company was named to the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for the third year in a row in 2011. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $401.5 million in fiscal 2010. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company's award-winning website at buildabear.com.
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SOURCE: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.