Special Olympics USA Games names first founding partner with $1 Million pledge from the TOYS"R"US Children's Fund
PRINCETON, NJ - March 15, 2012 The Organizing Committee of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and Toys"R"Us® today announced a $1 million commitment from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, making Toys"R"Us the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. In addition to its Founding Partner status, Toys"R"Us will be the Presenting Sponsor of the Young Athletes™ Festival, a first-of-its-kind feature at a Special Olympics USA Games event.
The Toys"R"Us Young Athletes Festival will provide opportunities for children, ages 2-7, and their families to take part in the Special Olympics Young Athletes program, Healthy Athletes™ activities and family seminars geared toward the future stars of Special Olympics.
"Toys"R"Us signing as the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games continues their on-going support of our movement," said Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. "Their vision and leadership in the area of inclusive play will only add to the unity that these National Games will create throughout New Jersey and the nation."
"As a New Jersey-based organization with a long-standing commitment to children of all abilities, we are tremendously proud to partner with Special Olympics as they bring the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games to our home state for the first time," said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman, Toys"R"Us Children's Fund. "We look forward to deepening our enduring relationship with Special Olympics in welcoming athletes to New Jersey and enriching their overall experience at the first-ever Young Athletes Festival."
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will take place at sporting venues throughout New Jersey, June 14 through June 21. More than 3,500 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete in 17 sports. An estimated 10,000 volunteers as well as 50,000 additional spectators will be in attendance.
The Toys"R"Us-sponsored Young Athletes Festival will build on the Young Athletes program, an inclusive, innovative play program for children with and without special needs that develops critical early cognitive, social and motor skills and introduces kids to the world of sports. In addition to the Young Athletes Festival, youth-centered and educational events will be held in conjunction with the Games, rallying young leaders from across the country to raise awareness and call for action amongst their peers in support of the Special Olympics movement by promoting acceptance and respect for people with intellectual disabilities.
"We are thrilled to welcome Toys"R"Us as our first Founding Partner," added TJ Nelligan, Chairman & CEO of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Organizing Committee. "Toys"R"Us has embraced a dimension of these Games that will introduce children and their families to the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program, and through their unprecedented support, change the lives of these future athletes and their families for many years to come."
For 38 years, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has been based in New Jersey and today has more than 4,500 employees statewide across 45 stores, regional offices, the corporate headquarters and the company's largest retail distribution center in the country. Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund has a long history of giving back to the communities it serves by keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Since it was founded in 1992, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund has provided millions of dollars in grants to leading special needs organizations, including the American Society for Deaf Children, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Down Syndrome Society and Autism Speaks, among others. Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund also work with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities, to create the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. Released annually, the Guide provides qualified toy recommendations to help aid in the skill development of children who have physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will mark the third time a Special Olympics USA Summer Games has been held. More information about the Games can be found at 2014specialolympics.org. Follow the Games on Facebook (Facebook.com/USANationalGames) or Twitter (Twitter.com/2014USAGames).