TDmonthly Magazine!
January 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 1


Toy Companies Give Back!

TDmonthly Magazine loves hearing about how different companies within the Toy Industry are contributing to their communities. That's why we asked toy makers what charities they are involved in, and how they hope their products affect kids.

See what some of your toy industry peers are doing to make a difference, in their own words, below!

Peggy Vicioso – VP of Marketing and Product Development, Charisma Brands (Adora, Paradise Galleries)

"Adora is a leading manufacturer of award-winning dolls, plush toys, and play accessories for almost 20 years. Adora products make kids happy. Happy kids make the world a better place, a world with more love and joy. The goal at Adora is to spread love and joy throughout the world, one doll at a time. Adora is devoted to sharing smiles with everyone around the world, embracing all cultures as one big family.

Along the way Adora supports the inCourage Foundation®, a nonprofit organization that creates and delivers gift bags full of toys to kids admitted to children’s hospitals. The bedside gift bags are filled with toys, activates and games to children admitted to pediatric hospitals. The inCourage Foundation® makes gifts bags for four age groups: toddlers, preschool, elementary and teen. Each bag contains fun toys and gifts for the children of the specific ages. Adora provides the inCourage Foundation® with generous donations of dolls and support to help spread the word and build upon the great work that the inCourage Foundation® brings to deserving children."

"Paradise Galleries has been selling dolls to collectors, fans and lovers of everything dolls for almost 20 years. We have always been known as fine quality doll makers of the most collectible treasures and our name continues to grow in this ever changing world. Since the start of Paradise Galleries we have been proud to have shared the joy of dolls with millions of customers and today we are thrilled to have an active social media space where we get to interact with our customers on a daily basis. We try to keep it fun for our doll friends with prizes, giveaways and special offers to show our gratitude for each and everyone of them. It is our goal to exceed our customers expectation thereby delighting them with dolls to love.

We work with many charities to help give back everyday. We chose the charities we do as they relate to our products on another level. For the past 5 years we have been donating dolls to the Alzheimer’s Association to help aid in the cure of the disease that affects many lives each year. It is a proven fact that dolls help Alzheimer’s patients to gain their memory by helping them relive moments of their past and to give them interaction in their sometimes lonely days.+

Another charity we have contributed to in the past is the Children’s Miracle Network. Marie Osmond has a line of dolls and also is co-founder of this great organization. In which she has been able to help over 17 million kids every year. Last year Marie created a doll that ‘Baby Abby Panda Perfect’ that comes with a small plush panda. For each of these dolls sold one of the small plush dolls was donated to the children associated with the Children’s Miracle Network to help brighten their day.

We are continually pursing additional charitable organization to help our community and the world around us while always playing dolls!"

Leah Sugar, VP of Marketing at Out of the Box Games

Q. What charitable organizations has your company worked with in the past?

A. Toys for Tots, Cheerful Givers, the USO, Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity and many, many more!

Q. Why did you choose to work with these particular charities?

A. These are organizations that can get games into the hands of kids and families that need them most

Q. What experience do you have working with charities on a personal level?

A. I've always been the type to put myself 100% into anything I do, so I tend to get deeply involved with one charity at a time. I have been a Big Sister through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I have been a foster parent for kittens through the Humane Society, and most recently, I was a board member for my local chapter of Slow Food International.

Q. How do you hope your products affect children's lives?

A. Games are an incredible tool for families and kids to work on social interaction skills and to bond more with their family members. In an age where so much is done online and in front of a screen, face to face time is precious and we feel that we provide a fun and easy way to take the utmost advantage of that time. I hope that families are brought closer together though are games and that they bring a little fun and bonding to the family table.

David Schreiber, President of Uncle Skunkle Toys

Q. What charitable organizations has your company worked with in the past?

A. Friends of the Children, Kids Ark Thailand, Bo M. Karlsson Foundation, and the Toy Industry Foundation are the four charities we work with the most, although there are many other groups that we have also helped along the way.

Q. Why did you choose to work with these particular charities?

A. When we work with a charity, we ask one simple question: Is what we are putting into the charity going to continue to give back? For example, for every dollar we give to Friends of the Children, $7 comes back to the community. Now to us, that is a good investment.

Q. What experience do you have working with charities on a personal level?

A. My wife and I were standing on the edge of a cliff on Poda Island in Thailand after surviving the 2004 Asian Tsunami. All I could say to her was: "Our work here is obviously not done yet." It was at that point that I decided to take my charitable involvement a little more seriously. Charitable work was no longer something we just did around the holidays, it was as important to us as marketing or paying our bills. That first year we decided to help fund and build a medical clinic and it just grew from there.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in the toy industry? Why?

A. A friend of mine who was leading the Kids Ark foundation in Thailand had asked me if I could come up with a product that they could produce in the northern villages of Thailand. The Idea was to provide jobs to the parents of the children we were sponsoring, so that they would not have to work in illegal trades. It took several years and a lot of work, but eventually I came up with the Bambooga game (Bambooga is made with 100% second-generation material). The project was not perfect and we learned a few lessons along the way, but eventually we completed Bambooga, and brought it to market. Since that time, it has won several awards.

We are a small company and at the time of the Bambooga Project, we had only three employees. I have no illusions that we “changed the industry” but I do know our story and the quality of our products have been a subject of conversation in a few of the larger companies.

Q. How do you hope your products affect children’s' lives?

A. All of our games, especially the new products we are working on for other companies, are designed to either inspire creativity or cognitive thinking. Many years ago when I was just getting started, a mother contacted me during the holiday season. Her daughter had played my Rapid 4 game during her therapy sessions with her doctor. The daughter had asked for my game for Christmas and the mother was trying to find it so that she could purchase it for her doughter. That is when I knew I my products were having a positive impact on children.

Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author


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