Toys”R”Us, Inc. has announced launch of its two month in-store fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Now through Monday, April 30, monetary donations will be collected at all Toys”R”Us® and Babies”R”Us® stores and online at Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks.
The company is increasing its focus on autism awareness, unveiling a new theme, “Shine A Light For Autism.” The campaign incorporates aspects of the Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” initiative, in which prominent buildings and landmarks around the world are lighted blue to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The Toys”R”Us campaign offers some fun, simple ideas to help people “go blue” to demonstrate their concern for a disorder that impacts thousands children and families.
Shining A Light For Autism In-store
During the two-month campaign, customers can donate cash at all Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us locations and online at Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks. In-store signage displayed in “R”Us stores across the country features children with autism dressed as super-heroes, with the Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo as their powerful emblem. The puzzle pieces are bursting with light, as they “Shine A Light For Autism,” while inspiring everyone to donate to the cause by looking to the hero within.
Customers also have the opportunity to take home their very own artistic interpretations of the in-store signage. Those who donate $10 or more to Autism Speaks at any Toys”R”Us or Babies”R”Us store will receive a reusable shopping bag designed by James Hogarth, a talented artist with autism, while supplies last. Each bag features an Autism Speaks super-hero, surrounded by beams of light.
Lighting the Digital World Blue
In conjunction with the in-store fundraising campaign, the company has also created a dedicated microsite, Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks, which also features images of children dressed as super-heroes. Within the site, visitors will find information about the disorder, an interactive quiz about the warning signs for autism, and ways parents and children can “Light It Up Blue” on World Autism Awareness Day, such as “Dress It Up Blue” and “Bake It Up Blue.”
Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks serves as a resource for parents, caregivers, families and friends of children with autism. Visitors can find a list of “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism,” which provides toy suggestions to help guide anyone purchasing toys for a child with autism, as well as Safe Play Tips designed to help ensure the well-being of children on the autism spectrum, while encouraging the benefits of play.
“Light It Up Blue on Facebook”
To help Facebook members “Shine A Light For Autism” in the digital domain, beginning March 26 through the end of April, fans of Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus will find an app that transforms their profile picture into a virtual autism awareness message. Those who visit the Autism Speaks tab on either page will receive instructions about how to tint their profile picture blue while helping them share a message with their friends and family, explaining why their picture has changed. Fans can also choose to swap their profile picture for one of several blue icons created by Toys”R”Us. Additionally, from March 26 through April 2, Facebook.com/Toysrus will also shine its own light on autism with a true blue redesign that will turn the page into a beacon of autism awareness.
Additionally, to ensure the light shines on Facebook, throughout the entire campaign, Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus now feature information about the Toys”R”Us program, as well as the disorder, on a dedicated tab. Messages about the campaign will be posted on the company’s Wall throughout the campaign.
Walking To Benefit Autism Speaks
In conjunction with the campaign, the company is also kicking off its national sponsorship of Walk Now for Autism Speaks, a year-long series of more than 85 walk events taking place throughout North America. “R”Us employees will walk alongside the company’s iconic mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, as well as individuals with autism, their families and friends to raise money and awareness. All funds raised through the Walk Now for Autism Speaks events will go directly to Autism Speaks to support research and advocacy efforts.
Since the partnership began in 2007, Toys”R”Us, Inc., the Toys”R”Us Children’s Fund and customer contributions have combined to provide Autism Speaks with more than $12 million. Last year’s in-store and online fundraising campaign raised more than $2.3 million for Autism Speaks in the U.S.
Additionally, Toys”R”Us, Canada will once again lend its support to the cause by collecting donations in its more than 70 stores and online at Toysrus.ca. Last year, Toys”R”Us, Canada raised $700,000 to support Autism Speaks.
Over the course of the partnership, contributions from the Toys”R”Us campaign have helped Autism Speaks develop several programs, including:
The 100 Day Kit for newly diagnosed families, that helps guide parents through the often difficult first 100 days following their child’s diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.
The Autism Speaks online Resource Guide was created to provide families with almost 30,000 resources about everything from diagnosis and treatment centers to autism friendly barbers.
Toddler Treatment Network and the Baby Siblings Research Consortium, a collaboration of 23 scientists from 19 universities, developed guidelines for early recognition of infants at risk and early intervention approaches for young toddlers with autism.
The Toys”R”Us Children’s Fund also provided a $400,000 grant to Autism Speaks to launch the 2012 campaign!