WAYNE, NJ (April 27, 2012) – Approximately 1,300 leaders and influencers from the toy and juvenile products industries joined together last night to celebrate the 2012 Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund Gala in New York City. The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund is a public charity affiliated with Toys"R"Us, Inc., and during this special evening of entertainment and fundraising, $5 million was raised to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The star-studded gathering was hosted by Emmy® and Tony Award®-winning comedian Martin Short and featured an unforgettable performance by legendary Eagles co-founder and accomplished solo artist Don Henley.
In a special tribute to celebrate and honor military families, the evening featured a unique opportunity for Gala guests to support Operation Shower, an organization that hosts joyful baby showers for military wives to ease the stress of their husbands’ deployment. Attendees rallied to contribute thousands of dollars that will be used to buy items for Operation Shower events, helping moms-to-be receive some of the basic essentials they need for their newborns.
“The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund Gala brings our industry together to celebrate how much we all love kids. Children inspire everything we do, and supporting them when they need it most is something of which we can all be proud,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. “The evening is a celebration of our efforts in charitable giving over the past year and our continued commitment to keep kids safe and help them in times of need in the years ahead.”
In its almost 30-year history, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund Gala has raised $100 million, providing a strong foundation of giving to kids and families when they need it most. TheToys"R"Us Children’s Fund has worked with countless children’s charities, providing millions of dollars annually in support of its core mission to keep kids safe and help them in times of need. Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund together build philanthropic partnerships and drive initiatives that positively impact the lives of children and support organizations aligned with its mission, including those that provide disaster relief to families who are victims of large-scale crises. Significant highlights of charitable endeavors during the past year include:
In 2011, Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), an organization dedicated to helping find a cure for childhood cancer. What started as a front yard lemonade stand hosted by 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who was diagnosed with cancer just before her first birthday, has turned into a national effort continued by children and families across the country. The company’s in-store and online fundraising campaign raised more than $1.5 million – more than any one partner has ever raised in a single year – and helped teach the importance of giving back by encouraging children to host their own official Alex’s Lemonade Stands. In addition, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund provided $225,000 in funding to ALSF.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. proudly serves as the biggest corporate partner of Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund and Toys"R"Us, Inc. together have provided the organization with more than $12 million since the partnership began in 2007, made possible by the company’s in-store and online fundraising campaigns, donations made by Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund, as well as employee participation in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks program. The 2011 North American campaign alone raised $3 million to help the organization’s efforts to solve the autism puzzle. To kick off the 2012 campaign, “Shine A Light For Autism,” the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund awarded Autism Speaks a $400,000 grant. In-store and online fundraising efforts are underway through April 30.
This past year, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund and Toys"R"Us, Inc. expanded their partnership with Make-A-Wish® America by providing $450,000 in grant funding and $50,000 in gift cards. A visit to Toys"R"Us is a top request for many “wish children” who are facing life-threatening medical conditions and, over the course of the year, Toys"R"Us stores across the country created numerous celebratory events during special shopping trips. Over the past 15 years, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund and Toys"R"Us, Inc. have provided Make-A-Wish with more than $1.8 million to help make children’s wishes come true.
For the third consecutive year, Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund teamed up with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal to help the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation bring toys and smiles to America’s neediest children. Through the 2011 “Shaq-A-Claus is Coming to Town!” in-store and online fundraising campaign, a record-breaking $4 million and more than 400,000 toys were collected for the organization. The Fund also provided a $250,000 grant to Toys for Tots to kick off the program. As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has raised more than $27.6 million and collected 3.4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004. In addition, grants totaling more than $1.2 million have been awarded to the organization from the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund.
The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund has for several years directed grants to Special Olympics to support the national expansion of the Young Athletes™ program, an inclusive, innovative play program for children that develops critical early cognitive, social and motor skills and introduces kids to the world of sports. This past year, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund pledged $1 million to become the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Toys"R"Us will be the Presenting Sponsor of the first Young Athletes Festival, a unique event that will debut at the Games in June 2014.
In addition, Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund work with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities, to create the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. Released annually, the Guide provides qualified toy recommendations to help aid in the skill development of children who have physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. Actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria graced the cover and lent her support to the 2011 Guide. Additionally, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund supports many leading special needs organizations, including the American Society for Deaf Children, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the National Down Syndrome Society, among others.
The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund awarded $1 million in grants to 54 nonprofit organizations supporting children in the state of New Jersey through the Fund’s statewide giving initiative in 2011. The grants helped to alleviate economic challenges and sustain organizations that favorably impact children across New Jersey, where both the Fund and Toys"R"Us, Inc. are headquartered. Ranging from $10,000 to $25,000, the grants supported a wide array of unique programs and services aligned with the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund mission of keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. As a result, kids in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties benefited from this grant initiative through community-based and statewide charities.
For more information about the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund, as well as the company’s philanthropic partnerships and initiatives, please visit Toysrusinc.com/charitable-giving.
The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund is a public charity affiliated with Toys"R"Us, Inc., a company that unabashedly declares “We love kids!” The core mission of the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. Since it was founded in 1992, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund has contributed millions of dollars to qualified organizations that support that mission, including those providing disaster relief to children and families who are victims of large-scale crises. The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund also provides grants to leading organizations that support children with special needs.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 876 Toys"R"Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in more than 625 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and FAO.com, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs approximately 70,000 associates annually worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Additional information about Toys"R"Us, Inc. can be found on Toysrusinc.com. Follow Toys"R"Us, Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus, Facebook.com/Babiesrus and Facebook.com/FAO and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.