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Toys“R”Us: The 30th Anniversary of Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund Gala raised $4.6 million

Among the Largest Single-Night Fundraising Events in New York City, the Annual Benefit Draws Support from Toy and Baby Products Industry Leaders, Generating Nearly $115 Million Since its Inception; Special Evening Showcases the Work of the Fund’s Signature Partners, Including Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation™, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Operation Shower and Special Olympics, Among Others

WAYNE, NJ, 2015-5-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Last night, nearly 1,300 leaders from the toy and baby products industries came together at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City to celebrate the 2015 Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund Gala. During this celebratory evening of entertainment and fundraising, $4.6 million was raised for the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys“R”Us, Inc., to aid in its mission to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The event was hosted by Emmy® and Tony Award®-winning comedian Martin Short and featured an unforgettable performance by four-time GRAMMY® winner Lenny Kravitz.

“Over the last 30 years, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund Gala has allowed us to proudly showcase the Fund’s most significant efforts, while recognizing the charitable organizations we support,” said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman of the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund.“Toys“R”Us® founder Charles Lazarus had a simple goal of helping improve the well-being of children, which led to the Fund’s first Gala in 1985. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this very special evening, we are grateful for the continued support of the toy and baby products industries and delighted to have raised nearly $115 million to help kids in need.”

Below are highlights of some of the company’s key philanthropic initiatives from the past year:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation™
In 2014, Toys“R”Us partnered for the fourth consecutive year with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), an organization dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer. What started as a front yard lemonade stand hosted by 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who was diagnosed with cancer just before her first birthday, has turned into a national effort continued today by children and families who host lemonade stands across the country each year. The company’s in-store and online fundraising campaign raised more than $2.2 million for the organization and brought awareness to the importance of supporting ALSF and finding a cure for pediatric cancer through the #Stir4ACure social media initiative. Since the partnership began in 2011, donations from customers, Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund together have provided more than $8.3 million to the organization.

Disaster Response and Relief Through Save the Children
As part of an ongoing commitment to help children and families in times of crisis, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Inc. have provided Save the Children with nearly $5 million in monetary and product donations to aid in the organization’s efforts to help protect children, ensure their safety in shelters and support their emotional recovery during times of disaster. In 2014, to help the organization prepare for future events, Toys“R”Us stores began to offer a reusable bag showcasing Save the Children artwork, created by a young child, with one dollar from the purchase of each bag benefiting the organization’s Domestic Emergency Fund.

Make-A-Wish America®
For the past 17 years, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Inc. have partnered with Make-A-Wish America to help fulfill wishes for hundreds of “wish children” across the country. A visit to Toys“R”Us is a top request for many of these kids who are facing life-threatening medical conditions, and throughout the year, Toys“R”Us stores nationwide create celebratory shopping events. In addition to these very special outings, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Inc. have supported the mission of Make-A-Wish with more than $2.8 million in funding to help even more children experience the magic of a wish.

Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Inc. once again teamed up with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to bring joy and smiles to America’s neediest children during the 2014 holiday season. NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal – and his alter-ego Shaq-A-Claus – joined Toys“R”Us to #PlayItForward in communities across the country, helping the company’s in-store and online fundraising campaign raise a record-breaking $6.4 million. Toys“R”Us has raised nearly $42 million and collected 4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004. In addition, grants totaling more than $5.4 million have been awarded to Toys for Tots by the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund.

Operation Shower
Since 2012, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Babies“R”Us® have worked with Operation Shower to co-host joyful baby showers for military moms-to-be across the country. In addition to being separated from their spouses due to deployment, expectant military moms are often far away from friends and family. Together, Operation Shower and Babies“R”Us have showered nearly 500 moms during nine amazing events, ensuring military families receive some of the basic essentials they need for their newborns. To date, Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund have provided more than $500,000 to the organization through grant funding and in-kind donations.

Special Olympics International
For more than 15 years, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund has directed grants to Special Olympics, primarily to support the organization’s Young Athletes™ Program, an inclusive, innovative play program for children, ages 2½ to 7 that develops critical early cognitive, social and motor skills, while introducing kids to the world of sports.

Building upon its commitment to help children of all abilities, Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund recently announced a significant partnership expansion with Special Olympics centered around #MyFirstSportsMoment. With an overall grant of $1.75 million from the Fund, Toys“R”Us will serve as a sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, to be held in Los Angeles, CA from July 25 to August 2, and will support the organization’s ambitious five-year plan to strengthen and expand the Young Athletes Program in the U.S. and around the globe. As part of the partnership expansion, the company recently hosted a fundraising campaign, which raised more than $2 million so kids everywhere may experience the joy of sports while learning how to hit balls, run bases, take jump shots and more.

Since 1999, donations from Toys“R”Us, Inc., the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and customers have provided $5.3 million to Special Olympics.

Supporting the Special Needs Community
In addition to its support of Special Olympics, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund has provided annual grants totaling over $20 million to numerous other organizations that advocate for children of all abilities including Autism Speaks, Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Pujols Family Foundation, among others.

Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund have a long history of supporting the special needs community through the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a valuable resource released annually, providing qualified toy recommendations to help aid in the skill development of children who have physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. Now in its 20th edition, this year’s Guide cover features Albert Pujols, father of five, philanthropist and baseball World Champion along with Cameron Withers, age five.

About the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund
For 30 years, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund has provided financial support and partnership to countless children’s charities that share the Fund’s mission to keep kids safe and help them in times of need. Together with Toys“R”Us, Inc., the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund continues to work with organizations to bring awareness to causes and further programs that positively impact the lives of children and families nationwide.

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.

Media Contact:    
Toys“R”Us, Inc.
Samantha Xenis
(973) 617-5306/(646) 366-8826

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