WAYNE, NJ (February 5, 2008) – Today, Toys“R”Us and the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund, announced their continued support of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to facilitating research that will uncover the causes of autism, develop effective biomedical treatments and hasten the discovery of a cure. For the second consecutive year, Toys“R”Us will serve as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of more than 75 fundraising walk events held in communities across the country. In addition, Toys“R”Us, in connection with the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund, will conduct a nine-week, in-store fundraising campaign in its 585 U.S. locations to coincide with Autism Awareness Month in April. To kick off the 2008 partnership , the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund has awarded Autism Speaks a $250,000 grant.
Last year, Autism Speaks raised more than $26 million through its Walk Now for Autism events, and the fundraising campaign held in Toys“R”Us stores raised an additional $1.1 million to support crucial autism research and advocacy.
“We have received a tremendous outpouring of support from our customers, employees and communities for this important initiative,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “Autism impacts the lives of countless children and families, and we are committed to helping Autism Speaks in their mission to solve the puzzle of this heartbreaking disorder.”
“Our partnership with Toys“R”Us has helped fund important scientific research and has helped raise awareness for autism on a large national stage,” said Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks. “The Walk Now for Autism events, along with the donations we receive from the Toys“R”Us in-store campaign, are critical to improving our understanding of this disorder and to bettering the lives of individuals living with autism today.”
Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism Events
As the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, Toys“R”Us will sponsor more than 75 fundraising walk events in cities coast-to-coast. Beginning this month and continuing through November, this series of signature fundraising and awareness 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 nationwide will once again join in the fight 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.autismspeaks.org.
In-Store Fundraising Campaign
From Sunday, March 2 through Friday, May 2, in recognition of Autism Awareness Month in April, Toys“R”Us, along with the Toys“R”Us Children's Fund, will collect cash donations in all of its stores nationwide and through www.Toysrus.com/autismspeaks, in an effort to help solve the puzzle of autism. All money raised during the campaign will go directly to Autism Speaks to fund important autism research programs and help provide a voice for children affected by the disorder. For nine weeks, the company will implement an aggressive marketing program, inclusive of in-store signage and advertising, in an effort to engage more customers and employees to contribute to the cause.
Autism currently affects nearly 1.5 million people in the United States, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others, and is typically associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. As a company committed to all children and families, Toys“R”Us shares Autism Speaks' dedication to advocating for the needs of those affected by this disorder.
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.