WAYNE, NJ (February 28, 2008) – This weekend, Toys“R”Us, in conjunction with the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund, will kick off its second annual fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, the nation's leading organization dedicated to facilitating research that will uncover the causes of, develop treatments for and discover a cure for autism. From March 2 through May 2, Toys“R”Us will collect cash donations in all 585 Toys“R”Us stores across the country and online at www.Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks. The program coincides with Autism Awareness Month in April.
In addition to collecting monetary donations, Toys“R”Us is committed to helping Autism Speaks increase public awareness about the disorder. Together with Autism Speaks and the National Lekotek Center, an independent organization dedicated to children with disabilities, Toys“R”Us has again developed a special edition of the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids that identifies “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism.” The items selected promote development of language, creativity and social skills. The “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism” and other information about the disorder are available in all Toys“R”Us stores and online at www.Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks.
“We are proud to continue our support of Autism Speaks in its efforts to advocate for the needs of children and families,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “At Toys“R”Us, we love kids and are especially pleased that we can offer the ‘Ten Toys That Speak To Autism' to help bring the joy of play and learning to kids impacted by this disorder.”
Last year, the Toys“R”Us in-store fundraising campaign raised more than $1.1 million to support Autism Speaks in its efforts to help solve the autism puzzle. This year, Toys“R”Us has extended the campaign from seven weeks to nine weeks to provide customers with a greater opportunity to impact the lives of families affected by autism. During the nine-week period, the company will implement an aggressive marketing program, inclusive of in-store signage and advertising, to inform customers about the disorder and its warning signs.
“Our partnership with Toys“R”Us provides us with a significantly greater opportunity to educate families and communities across the country about autism,” said Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks. “With one child diagnosed with autism every 20 minutes in the United States, it is crucial that parents are aware of the prevalence of this disorder, and are educated about the warning signs so they can talk to their doctor as soon as possible if they suspect a developmental delay.”
Toys“R”Us and the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund also proudly serve as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of more than 75 walk events in cities coast-to-coast. Toys“R”Us employees nationwide are again joining in the effort by forming regional walk teams in their local communities. The complete schedule of Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism events can be found at www.walknowforautism.org.
All money raised in Toys“R”Us stores, online through www.Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks and through the Walk Now for Autism program will go directly to Autism Speaks to fund research and advocacy efforts. Earlier this month, the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund launched the partnership by providing a $250,000 grant to Autism Speaks.
ABOUT TOYS"R"US, INC.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,550 stores, including 585 Toys“R”Us stores and 260 Babies“R”Us stores in the U.S., 716 international stores in 34 countries, which includes licensed and franchise stores, and through its Internet site at www.toysrus.com.
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chairman and chief executive officer of NBC Universal for more than twenty years. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.