Good360 Partners with ASTRA to Bring “Toys for Joy” for 2018 Holiday Season - Good360

Good360 Partners with ASTRA to Bring “Toys for Joy” for 2018 Holiday Season

This year, the American toy industry watched with a mixture of fear and fascination as Toys ‘R’ Us went out of business, closing all of its stores nationwide.

Toy makers big and small have been talking endlessly about how the demise of the retail behemoth will affect their business. Nearly lost in the hand wringing over distribution and sales was an acknowledgement of the corporation’s many philanthropic activities, which would also cease as a result of its bankruptcy.

Of course, at Good360, we are well aware of this loss. Toys ‘R’ Us was one of our key partners and donated toys, books, clothes, and baby items to a plethora of nonprofits through our product philanthropy programs. Toys from the company have delighted and soothed many children in need, filling in the gaps during holidays and birthdays, and addressing a wide variety needs from schools to foster care programs.

That’s why we are thrilled to partner with the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) to create a new donation program called Toys for Joy. The program will give toy manufacturers who are members of ASTRA, which represents independent toy makers, an easy way to ensure that their donations reach fully vetted nonprofit organizations. Toys for Joy comes just in time to prepare for the busy holiday season when toy donations are most needed.

“This is the kind of purposeful giving program that really highlights the strengths of Good360 and our ability to help create positive impact,” said Shari Rudolph, Chief Marketing Officer of Good360. “Our membership boasts thousands of nonprofit organizations that support children in need across the country, allowing us to assemble the different donations of ASTRA members and distribute them in a way where they will make the most difference.”  

The idea for the giving program came to life when Tami Murphy, national sales manager for toy manufacturer The Haywire Group and business development director for toy developer Grand Prix International, read about the nonprofits that would be hit by the closure of Toys ‘R’ Us. Along with Good360, Toys ‘R’ Us has been involved with a multitude of philanthropies, including the Special Olympics, Toys for Tots, and Make-A-Wish Foundation.Murphy reached out to her friend Brian Turtle, the national sales manager at Endless Games. Together, they hatched a plan to approach ASTRA, where Murphy serves as a member of the board. The trade organization then sought out Good360 as a key partner to handle the logistics and connect with a network of qualified nonprofits.

There are a lot of children and charities that are going to suffer from Toys ‘R’ Us going out of business,” Turtle said. “Beyond the business side of this, there’s a human side, too. We wanted to fill the gap that’s being left empty.”

As a father of two daughters and a toy inventor himself, Turtle knows firsthand about the power of games to entertain kids and bring families together. When Hurricane Irene slammed into his New Jersey neighborhood in 2011, wiping out electricity for hundreds of thousands of people, the family turned to board games to distract themselves. “It was the worst time and it was the best time,” Turtle recalled. “Everyone was unplugged. We made the best of a bad situation and the board games brought everyone together. Board games are really special product because they create human connection. When people fall on hard times, it’s nice to get that group support.”

In fact, Endless Games produces a board game called Best of the Worst that’s meant to create good times out of bad situations. It’s one of the classic games, including checkers and backgammon sets, that the company will send to ASTRA and Good360 as part of its own donation. “I know there are other companies like mine that have warehouses with products you don’t need or can afford to donate,” Turtle said. “Where we have a little extra, we want to share it and that’s the spirit of ASTRA.” The trade organization’s motto is “Mighty Together,” and that’s the approach it’s taking to fill the philanthropic void left by Toys ‘R’ Us.

“The toy industry is experiencing some change and disruption, but ASTRA believes this should not impact children’s access to the magic of play,” said Kimberly Mosley, President of ASTRA. “Toys for Joy is another way that ASTRA members can be mighty together and make this year’s holiday season one that kids all over the country will long remember.”

Shari Rudolph
Shari Rudolph
shari@good360.org

Shari Rudolph is Chief Marketing Officer of Good360 and is an accomplished retail, digital commerce and media executive with a strong track record of building audience, revenue and brands. Shari’s previous experience includes management consulting as well as various executive and leadership roles at both start-ups and large media and retail e-commerce companies in Southern California, New York and Silicon Valley. She is also an adjunct professor teaching classes in marketing, advertising and entrepreneurial studies and she earned her MBA from The Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.