CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mr. Broccoli, Clown Dog and a cast of adorable soft toy characters; what a surprise it will be when thousands of these IKEA soft toys will be given out today on streets across America to kick off the annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education global campaign. Whether one keeps the soft toy or donates it to a deserving child or charity, this IKEA Random Act of Life Improvement* is just another way to let everyone know this heart-felt campaign has purpose.
Running from November 4 - December 29, 2012, for every IKEA Soft Toy or children's book you buy, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro ($1.30) to education programs worldwide supported by UNICEF and Save the Children. Additionally, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, IKEA has donated 2,000 soft toys to the American Red Cross to be distributed to children in shelters impacted by the hurricane. IKEA has also provided the American Red Cross with nearly $450,000 worth of in-kind donations to be used in shelters in New Jersey and New York. There are also many thousands of dollars more of in-kind donations to Save the Children, local Red Hook, NY and New Haven, CT organizations, as well as IKEA co-workers in need.
This year´s Soft Toys for Education campaign aims to provide quality education to children living in need in developing countries. Since the campaign started in 2003, donations from the annual IKEA Soft Toy Campaign have totalled €47.5 million (over $61 million), helping 8 million children in more than 40 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.
"Last month world leaders rallied together in a final push to meet the global commitment to ensure access to primary education for all children. IKEA, the co-workers and customers who have supported the Soft Toys campaign are helping to make this important goal a reality. Since 2003 the campaign has raised an impressive 31 million Euros for education programmes supported by UNICEF. As a result, we have been able to work with partners to provide access to quality education to millions of children, and with your help this year we will reach many more," said John Winston, UNICEF Global Corporate Account Manager.
“Thanks to the funding from the global IKEA soft toy for education campaign, Save the Children can continue to work on changing the lives of children with disabilities and in minority groups in Eastern Europe and South East Asia and help them to gain a quality education. We are proud to be a part of this cause-marketing campaign,” said Elisabeth Dahlin, Chairman of the IKEA Foundation Collaboration Steering Committee and Secretary General, Save the Children Sweden.
IKEA Soft Toys range in price from $.49 - $19.99. New to the soft toys family this year are forest friends from the VANDRING series, like a hedgehog, a bear and an owl hand puppet that encourage caring about our environment. They appear on different VANDRING textiles, designed by Ann-Cathrine Sigrid Ståhlberg. Plus, they’re characters in the IKEA FAMILY children’s book, The Hedgehog Leaves Home written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Ann-Cathrine.
Funds donated to Save the Children will support projects to educate the most marginalized children, including ethnic minorities and those with disabilities and special needs in Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Lithuania and Romania. Funds donated to UNICEF will support UNICEF’s Schools for Africa initiative to provide a quality education to children in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, South Africa and Malawi.
“Soft Toys are a great way for IKEA customers and co-workers to share a little holiday-season cheer with our own children, while helping other children we may never meet or even see, but who desperately need our support,” noted IKEA Foundation CEO Per Heggenes.
*The Soft Toy giveaway is the first of two planned Random Acts of Life Improvement, unexpected out-of-store activities during which IKEA surprises consumers with tokens of appreciation to help improve their day. It’s part of the third annual IKEA Life Improvement Project, a program designed to offer consumers ideas and inspiration to help them make a positive impact on their homes and the lives within.
IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, was founded in 1943 in Sweden. Since then, IKEA, the Life Improvement Store has offered home furnishings and accessories of great design and quality with functional living solutions at everyday low prices. Currently there are more than 298 IKEA Group stores in 26 countries, including 50 in North America (11 in Canada; 38 in the US; 1 in the Dominican Republic). IKEA has six distribution centers in North America. The IKEA Group employs 131,000 coworkers and had 655 million visitors in FY 11. IKEA incorporates environmentally friendly efforts into day-to-day business and continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment including UNICEF, Save the Children and American Forests. To visit the IKEA Web site, please go to www.IKEA-usa.com and also learn more about IKEA environmental and social responsibility actions and programs. Also visit www.Facebook.com/IKEAUSA.
To view the People & Planet Positive film on YouTube, please visit: www.youtube.com/IKEA