WAYNE, N.J., April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys"R"Us® today announced that a recent campaign hosted in its stores across the U.S. and online at Toysrus.com to benefit Special Olympics raised more than $2 million. Throughout the duration of the eight-week awareness and fundraising program, Toys"R"Us customers pledged their support to help children with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience #MyFirstSportsMoment by learning how to hit balls, run bases, take jump shots and more through Special Olympics. One hundred percent of customer donations will be directed to Special Olympics and applied towards the upcoming 2015 World Games, as well as the expansion of the Young Athletes™ Program around the world. Additionally, the company celebrated the youngest Special Olympics athletes on its official social media channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, where fans and followers shared their #MyFirstSportsMoment memories and experiences.
In conjunction with this campaign, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund made a $1.25 million commitment to serve as a Games Sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, which in just 100 days, will welcome 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, to Los Angeles, CA from July 25 to August 2. As part of the expanded partnership between Toys"R"Us and Special Olympics, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund also awarded a $500,000 grant to the organization to advance its aggressive five-year plan to grow the Young Athletes Program in the U.S. and across the globe, so 2½ to 7 year olds everywhere can build critical physical, cognitive, and sports skills through the power of play.
"We could not be more pleased with the outpouring of support by our loyal customers for Special Olympics," said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman of the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund. "These customer donations, combined with grants from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, provided a significant contribution of nearly $4 million to Special Olympics to advance the organization's efforts to bring the benefit of sports to kids of all abilities. As the 100-day countdown to the 2015 World Games commences, we're eager to celebrate these children who will experience their very first sports moment on a grand stage."
"Special Olympics and Toys"R"Us have a tremendous legacy of working together and we're thrilled to be expanding our relationship on such a global scale," said Janet Froetscher, CEO, Special Olympics. "The Toys"R"Us 'My First' initiative will allow us to reach more young athletes and provide them the opportunity to experience the transformative power and joy of 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 held in New Jersey, and with an additional $250,000 grant, was also Presenting Sponsor of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for those Games.
For more information about the company's ongoing commitment to Special Olympics, including the upcoming World Games in Los Angeles, please visit Toysrus.com/SpecialOlympics.
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, Kaiser Permanente, OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, Toys"R"Us, Google, UPS, AMC Theaters, La Opinión, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, WWE, AEG, David Geffen, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, 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.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
SOURCE Toys"R"Us, Inc.