Company’s Sponsorship of the Walk Now for Autism Speaks Program Continues Throughout 2011
WAYNE, NJ (May 17, 2011) – Today, Toys“R”Us, Inc. announced that its fifth annual nationwide in-store fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, raised more than $3 million in its stores across the U.S. and Canada. Coinciding with Autism Awareness Month in April, all of the company’s Toys“R”Us® and Babies“R”Us® stores in North America, along with Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks and Toysrus.ca, encouraged customers to donate by appealing to the hero within. The campaign raised $2.3 million in the United States and an additional $700,000 in Canada. Donations collected will help the organization fund global biomedical research for autism, raise public awareness about the disorder and provide support for families affected by autism.
“Our customers and employees are truly heroes for autism. Through their generous support, donations raised during our 2011 campaign were the largest in our five-year partnership with Autism Speaks,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “We are proud to continue to support Autism Speaks as it works to help the increasing number of children and families affected by this disorder.”
The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund launched this year’s program by providing a $400,000 grant to Autism Speaks. Since the partnership launched in 2007, Toys“R”Us, Inc., the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and customer contributions have combined to provide Autism Speaks with more than $12 million. Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the largest retail partner for Autism Speaks.
During this year’s campaign, the company provided support and information to help parents and caregivers of children with autism. In collaboration with Autism Speaks and the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children with disabilities, the company identified toys that can help little ones with autism develop crucial skills while playing alongside siblings and friends. The “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism,” a special subset of the annual Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, strengthens skills and aids in development of children with autism. Additionally, with guidance from leading safety organizations and Autism Speaks, Toys“R”Us developed Safe Play Tips that are relevant for children with autism. The “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism” and Safe Play Tips are available year-round at Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks.
To further support the company’s advocacy and awareness efforts in advance of World Autism Awareness Day, Toys“R”Us created “Light It Up Blue On Facebook,” coinciding with Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue initiative, in which prominent buildings and landmarks around the world turned their lights blue to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2. Toys“R”Us created a special section on its official Facebook fan pages in the United States, Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus, offering instructions to help fans give their profile picture a blue hue, as well as post a message designed inspire other fans to show their support for Autism Speaks.
“Over the past five years, the “R”Us family has shown an amazing level of support for Autism Speaks through its fundraising and awareness campaigns,” said Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks. “Since the partnership began, our organization has reached significant milestones with the help of contributions from Toys“R”Us, Inc., the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and customers. These milestones include creating the 100 Day Kit for newly diagnosed families, tripling the size of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and launching the Autism Video Glossary to help parents and professionals learn more about the early warning signs of autism.”
Continuing its commitment to Autism Speaks throughout the year, Toys“R”Us and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund serve as the North American sponsor of the Walk Now for Autism Speaks program, a series of more than 80 walk events in cities across the United States and Canada. Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us employees are forming teams in their local communities to participate in the Walk events and raise even more funds for Autism Speaks. The complete schedule of Walk Now for Autism Speaks events can be found at WalkNowforAutismSpeaks.org.
About Toys“R”Us, Inc.
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 872 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the United States, and in more than 520 international stores and over 200 licensed stores in 33 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, FAO.com and babyuniverse.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 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.
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