by James Zahn, The Rock Father
The toy industry is a never-ending cycle that’s filled with a lot of movement and excitement. The yearly build-up comes to its peak with the all-important holiday season, mirroring the peak of another important season: the season of giving. There is no real “down time” in the toy industry, and with the holidays behind us, all sights are currently set on Toy Fair season as everyone focuses on the next big thing.
When your business is play, there’s nothing better than seeing the joy that toys and games can bring to the children of the world. Unfortunately, many families lack the resources that so many of us enjoy, and with that in mind, it’s prime time for a reminder that the spirit of giving needs no season. There are children and families out there who need assistance year-round, and because of that, it’s time to recognize some toy companies that give back.
Spin Master: The Toy Movement
When it comes to going big on a global scale, Spin Master has been doing some incredible things. The Toy Movement is a Spin Master-led global initiative that aims “to ensure that all children have the opportunity to be a child and to be inspired through play.” Since 2014, The Toy Movement has provided toys to children in parts of the world that are often forgotten— areas rocked by armed conflict. To pull of such an endeavor, the toy giant—known for successful brands like Hatchimals and Paw Patrol—assembled an incredible network of helpers, including governments, companies, and local volunteers.
And, Spin Master continues to do good in its home country of Canada, with events like the annual Caring & Sharing Holiday Banquet in support of the Children’s Breakfast Clubs of Toronto.
Mattel Children’s Foundation
Mattel has an entire arm devoted to philanthropy, and at the center lies the Mattel Children’s Foundation. The company’s multi-pronged approach to doing good on a global scale includes toy donations, charitable sales, and disaster relief. Mattel works with partners like Special Olympics, Save the Children, Boys & Girls Club of America, and KaBoom! to spread the power of play in many ways. Recently, Mattel has put emphasis on developing STEM-based programs, like Hot Wheels Speedometry, and last year they announced a $50 million expansion of the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.
Hasbro’s Global Day of Joy
Hasbro’s annual Global Day of Joy finds employees from Rhode Island to France to Hong Kong engaging in volunteer efforts with roughly 250 organizations in more than 40 countries—and that’s just a piece of their global philanthropy and social impact efforts.
Through the Hasbro Children’s Fund, Gift of Play, and Rhode Island’s Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the joy of play is shared with countless children every year. Partners include Toys For Tots, Be Fearless Be Kind, Give Kids the World Village, and more. For 2018, Hasbro is sponsoring some new additions to “The Great Kindness Challenge”.
Through its JAKKS Cares program, JAKKS Pacific aims to help children around the world “smile, play, and succeed.” Since its inception, the program has provided more than $50 million in toys, school supplies, and monetary support to organizations serving millions of children around the world.
Additionally, Jakks’ employees regularly volunteer for community service at hospitals, schools, and events throughout the year. Recent efforts have seen JAKKS Pacific teaming up with the likes of Ryan Seacrest and Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner for maximum giving impact.
The Toy Foundation
Any company exhibiting at the 115th annual North American International Toy Fair in New York City is invited to donate toys at the close of the show. The Toy Association will host its annual toy drive at the close of Toy Fair—its biggest of the year! Donations will be collected by the Toy Bank, which will distribute the toys to charities throughout the New York tri-state area. Full details and donation forms can be found on The Toy Foundation website.
The holidays will always be the biggest season for giving back (I even have my own initiative for that!), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a call to be answered during the other eleven months of the year.
Do you know of a toymaker that gives back that we should recognize? Feel free to give them a shout in the comments below.