WAYNE, NJ (February 6, 2007) - Today, Toys “R” Us announced its support of Autism Speaks in its commitment to fund research that will help uncover the causes of, develop effective treatments for and ultimately find a cure for autism. In an effort to raise money and public awareness about the disorder, Toys “R” Us will serve as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of fundraising walk events in communities across the country. Additionally, in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month in April, Toys “R” Us will conduct a seven-week, in-store fundraising campaign in all of its 586 locations nationwide. To launch the partnership, the Toys “R” Us Children's Fund will provide a $250,000 grant to Autism Speaks.
“With one in 166 children in the United States diagnosed with autism each year, most people know someone who has been affected by this heartbreaking disorder,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys “R” Us, Inc. “As a company committed to all children and families, Toys “R” Us is proud to partner with Autism Speaks to help solve the puzzle and find the cause of, and cure for, autism.”
“We are thrilled to have Toys “R” Us join us as our National Walk Sponsor and valued fundraising partner,” said Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks. “By creating this partnership, there's a significantly greater opportunity to educate families and communities across the country about autism and generate much-needed funds to support our research initiatives.”
Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism Events
Beginning this month and continuing through November, Toys “R” Us will sponsor more than 60 fundraising walk events across the country as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program. From New York City to San Francisco, this series of signature fundraising events is expected to attract thousands of participants and provide families, friends and professional caregivers an opportunity to contribute to the fight against autism. Toys “R” Us employees will also join in the fight by forming regional walk teams in their local communities. The complete schedule of Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism events may be found at www.autismspeaks.org.
Fundraising Campaign in Toys “R” Us Stores
In conjunction with Autism Awareness Month in April, all Toys “R” Us locations nationwide will conduct an in-store fundraising campaign from Sunday, March 18 through Friday, May 4. For seven weeks, the company will carry out an aggressive marketing program to engage customers and employees in an effort to raise funds to benefit Autism Speaks' research endeavors. Additionally, online shoppers will be able to make cash contributions by visiting www.toysrus.com/autismspeaks.
Autism, a disorder that inhibits a child's ability to communicate and form relationships, currently affects almost 1.5 million people in the United States. Part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders, autism is more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. As a company with a long history of advocating for children, Toys “R” Us is united in its commitment with Autism Speaks to provide a voice for children and families affected by autism.
About Toys “R” Us, Inc.
Toys “R” Us is the world's leading specialty toy retailer. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,500 stores, including 586 stores in the U.S. and 678 international toy stores, which includes licensed and franchise stores, and through its Internet site at http://www.toysrus.com/. Babies “R” Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and a leader in the juvenile industry, and sells merchandise through 251 stores in the U.S. as well as on the Internet at http://www.babiesrus.com/.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. The organization was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) combined operations in February 2006, bringing together two of the leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of the nation's fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.