Supporting the Special Needs Community
Toys“R”Us, Inc. is committed to children of all abilities and one of the company’s philanthropic areas of focus is supporting kids with special needs, from strategic partnerships with national organizations to featuring children with differing abilities throughout the company’s marketing materials.
For more than 15 years, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund has directed grants to Special Olympics, primarily to support the Young Athletes™ Program, an inclusive, innovative play program for children that develops critical early cognitive, social and motor skills and introduces kids, 2 ½ to 7, to the world of sports.
In 2015, Toys“R”Us significantly expanded its ongoing partnership with Special Olympics with an initiative centered around #MyFirstSportsMoment. Through a $1.25 million commitment from the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, the company served as a Games Level sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, held in Los Angeles, CA. The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund also awarded a $500,000 grant to Special Olympics to aid in the organization’s five-year plan to strengthen and expand the Young Athletes Program in the U.S. and around the globe.
Toys“R”Us was a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games held in New Jersey through a $1 million grant from the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. Additionally the company served as the Presenting Sponsor of the first-ever Young Athletes Festival, which debuted at the 2014 Games.
Since the partnership began in 2000, funding from Toys“R”Us Inc., the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and customer donations have provided more than $5.3 million to Special Olympics.
TOYS“R”US TOY GUIDE FOR DIFFERENTLY-ABLED KIDS
For more than 20 years, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has published the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids®, a go-to resource for families featuring specially selected toys that aid in the development of children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. These toys are everyday playthings that kids can enjoy alongside their peers, siblings and friends while also building development skills.
Since 1994, Toys“R”Us has partnered with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world accessible to children of all abilities, to assess the play value of hundreds of toys for children with special needs. Through therapeutic play sessions with some of the toughest toy critics – kids! – the National Lekotek Center investigates skill-building traits inherent in each toy that appears in the Guide.
Toys“R”Us has worked with some of the most recognizable personalities in the country who have volunteered to serve as the “face” of the Guide. Among these many celebrities are Nick Lachey, Albert Pujols, Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas, Nancy O’Dell, Eva Longoria, Holly Robinson Peete, Meredith Vieira, Maria Shriver, John Ritter and Marlee Matlin. And because safety is also a cornerstone of our business, the Guide features a section on “Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs,” created with guidance from leading safety and special needs organizations to help avoid playtime injuries.
Click here to learn more about the Guide.
A LONG HISTORY OF SUPPORT FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS COMMUNITY
Toys“R”Us, Inc. has a long history of supporting the special needs community through the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company. Organizations which receive support include: American Society for Deaf Children, Autism Speaks, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Down Syndrome Society, National Lekotek Center, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, Spina Bifida Association and United Cerebral Palsy. Click here to see our valued special needs partners.