WAYNE, N.J., Jan. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys"R"Us® today announced a significant expansion of its ongoing support of Special Olympics and pledged its continued leadership in advocating for children of all abilities around the world. With a $1.25 million commitment from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, the company will serve as a sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, which will welcome 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, to Los Angeles, CA from July 25 to August 2. Held every two years, the World Games is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement and will be the year's largest sports and humanitarian event. The 2015 World Games marks the first time in 16 years that the Summer World Games have been held in the U.S.
As part of the partnership expansion, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund has also awarded a $500,000 grant to Special Olympics to advance the organization's ambitious five-year plan to strengthen and expand the Young Athletes Program in the U.S. and across the globe, so kids everywhere can experience the thrill of sports while learning how to hit balls, run bases, take jump shots and more. This inclusive, innovative play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities helps kids ages 2½ to 7, develop critical early cognitive, social and motor skills and introduces them to the world of sports.
In conjunction with today's announcement, Toys"R"Us also introduced a new initiative designed to ensure children of all abilities can experience their #MyFirstSportsMoment. The company will kick off an in-store and online fundraising campaign beginning Saturday, January 31, during which monetary donations will be collected at all Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us® stores across the U.S. and online at Toysrus.com/SpecialOlympics through Tuesday, March 31. Additionally, the company will celebrate the littlest Special Olympics athletes on its official social media channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, encouraging consumers to share their #MyFirstSportsMoment memories and experiences. One hundred percent of customer donations received as part of the fundraising campaign will be directed to Special Olympics, and will be used to support the 2015 World Games as well as the expansion of the Young Athletes Program.
"As a company with stores in 37 countries, it is our honor to be part of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, as well as to provide our enthusiastic support in bringing the Young Athletes Program to more children across the globe," said Antonio Urcelay, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. "The Toys"R"Us family has long been a champion of children with special needs, and we have great respect for the work being done by Special Olympics to create an inclusive world for all."
"Special Olympics and Toys"R"Us have a tremendous legacy of working together and we're thrilled to expand our relationship on such a global scale," said Janet Froetscher, CEO, Special Olympics. "We're incredibly grateful for the support of Toys"R"Us and for its continued leadership in helping us advocate for children with and without intellectual abilities. The '#MyFirstSportsMoment' initiative will allow us to reach more children to give them the opportunity to experience the transformative power and joy of Special Olympics sports."
For many years, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company, has directed grants to Special Olympics to support the organization's Young Athletes Program. Most recently, it provided $1 million to become the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and with an additional $250,000 grant was also Presenting Sponsor of the Law Enforcement Torch Run held in conjunction with those Games.
For more information about #MyFirstSportsMoment, please visit Toysrus.com/SpecialOlympics.
For program videos and still photos visit, please click here.
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, furthering the company's commitment to children of all abilities. 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 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, OUE, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, Toys"R"Us, Google, UPS, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, Panda Express, and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program
Young Athletes is a unique sport and play program for children with intellectual disabilities. The focus is on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth. Children ages 2 to 7 enjoy games and activities that develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Young Athletes is an early introduction to sports and to the world of Special Olympics.
SOURCE Toys"R"Us, Inc.