WAYNE, NJ (May 6, 2013) – Today, Toys“R”Us, Inc. announced that it raised more than $2 million across the U.S. and Canada during its seventh consecutive in-store and online fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. In addition, individuals nationwide are still being invited to join a Walk Now For Autism Speaks event in their local community, or “Walk With Geoffrey” online and personally fundraise for Autism Speaks.
The 2013 “Shine A Light For Autism” campaign raised more than $1.3 million in the United States during Autism Awareness Month in April. One hundred percent of these funds will be dedicated to supporting the Autism Speaks Community Grants program, which assists community-based organizations expand existing programs and create new ones that demonstrate innovation in providing services to improve and enrich the lives of individuals with autism. An additional $765,000 was raised to support the work of Autism Speaks in Canada.
Beyond Autism Awareness Month, Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund together serve as national sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks, Autism Speaks’ signature fundraising and awareness events taking place in more than 95 cities and communities across North America. During these events, “R”Us employees walk alongside individuals with autism, their families and friends to raise money and awareness. The complete schedule of events can be found at WalkNowforAutismSpeaks.org. This year, for the first time, people across the country can sign up to “Walk With Geoffrey” online at WalkNowForAutismSpeaks.org/Geoffrey. Supporters who may not live near an official event can still walk virtually alongside the company’s iconic mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe to raise funds for Autism Speaks.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the largest retail partner of Autism Speaks. The company offers a dedicated microsite at www.Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks where visitors can find a downloadable PDF and online store featuring the “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism.” This list represents a collaboration between Toys“R”Us, Autism Speaks and the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children with disabilities, to identify toys that can help kids with autism develop language, creativity and social skills, among others, while playing alongside siblings and friends. The “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism” is a special subset of the annual Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids.
The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund launched the 2013 partnership with a $400,000 grant to Autism Speaks. Since the partnership began 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 $18 million.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated one in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 78 percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
Charitable Giving at Toys“R”Us
The philanthropic mission of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America’s military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations and has donated $1 million as the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It 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. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $195 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships and related activities in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.