By:Jan Mazotti Issue: Conscious Capitalism Section: Jewel Of Collaboration
Touching The Lives Of Children For Generations
"For a child, a toy is an enchanting thing; a vehicle that transports them, even for a moment to magical places inside their imagination. Our toys spark creativity and bring smiles to children everywhere. That is the gift that we strive to give to children in need around the world,” said Stephen Berman President and Chief Operating Officer of JAKKS Pacific.
California-based JAKKS Pacific, Inc. is a multi-line, multi-brand toy company that designs, produces and markets toys and related products, writing instruments, pet toys, treats and related products, as well as other consumer products. The company focuses its business on licensing trademarks and brand names with long product histories and sells its products through toy and retail chains in over 60 countries.
Everyday JAKKS™ Cares works to bring happiness and make a positive difference in the lives of the greatest number of kids and pets around the world. They are strongly committed to being philanthropic and socially responsible corporate citizens and try diligently to create changes that will improve the lives and well-being of children for generations to come. JAKKS™ Cares activities also implement ways to "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" to help preserve our planet.
JAKKS Pacific®, the parent company of JAKKS™ Cares, heartily embraces social responsibility through employee volunteerism and product donations to schools, hospitals and large non-profit organizations in our local communities and around the world. Genna Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations says, “Our greatest asset is our people and our products.”
Started in 1995, with just a few toy products in their cadre, Jack Freidman and Stephen Berman decided to build a toy company that created toys with innovation that were fun and supported traditional play patterns. It worked. Today, JAKKS™ is a top five toy company that has received myriad recognitions, including Wal-Mart’s Vendor of the Year in 2004 and 2005, the Toys “R” Us Vendor of the year for the sixth time in 2006 and Mr. Berman was named Corporate Humanitarian of the Year by Operation Smile in 2009. Now, with many notable brands in its line-up, including Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Neopets, JAKKS™ Cares has donated more than $40 million in toys, school supplies and monetary endowments to millions of underprivileged kids, both domestically and abroad. Global, National, and Local Reach
Driven by the mission to “bring a smile to every face” JAKKS maximizes its impact, “Through fantastic strategic partnerships,” says Rosenberg. Bill Grein, Major, U.S. Marine Corp (Retired) and Vice President of Marketing and Development for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation says this, “JAKKS is one of Toys for Tots’ top two national corporate sponsors and has been for the last six years. During that time, they have helped our Marines fulfill the Christmas holiday hopes and dreams of over two million of our nation’s neediest children.” Grein continued, “…were it not for the quality toys JAKKS provided, those deserving children would very likely have been overlooked at a very special time of year.They are not only a toy partner; they are a generous and caring friend, who has chosen to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate children.”
Moreover, JAKKS has changed the lives of hundreds of kids through the Operation Smile partnership. Rosenberg shared the story of Wang, a 12-year old boy living in China that needed surgery to correct a cleft lip. He was ostracized because of his deformity which made him withdraw from school and his community. With as many as one-third of their global employees “adopting” an Operation Smile child, Michelle, a Hong Kong based employee, chose to help. Michelle engaged with the JAKKS™ Cares team to arrange transport for Wang to Hong Kong for the surgery and rehabilitation. Today, this young boy is living a normal happy life and is back in school.
JAKKS™ Cares has donated more than $40 million in toys, school supplies and monetary endowments to millions of underprivileged kids, both domestically and abroad.
The May 12, 2008 earthquake in China and Myanmar hit close to home for JAKKS Pacific. They have hundreds of employees based in China in addition to thousands of factory employees affiliated with the company who were affected by the recent disaster. JAKKS Pacific’s U.S. and Hong Kong employees rallied together and generously raised $27,000 to help support children and families affected by the natural disaster. As part of the JAKKS™ Cares philanthropic giving program, JAKKS matched each dollar donated, resulting in a total contribution of $54,000 to support relief efforts of the Red Cross Society of China. The funds were used to assist China’s earthquake survivors through the purchase and distribution of relief supplies, coordination of logistics and transportation of disaster workers to the hardest hit areas, as well as reconstruction work in mainland China and Myanmar.
Nationally, JAKKS stepped up after Hurricane Katrina left thousands of kids without basic needs. Partnering with Feed the Children, JAKKS donated and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of toys and supplies to the hurricane-ravaged area. JAKKS™ Cares has also partnered with industry foundations and local school districts (i.e., Los Angeles Unified School District) to provide school supplies to needy families and as incentive prizes for reading programs.
Locally, the company has partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department to provide toys for children who suffer trauma during parent arrests, accidents and or abuse situations. Rosenberg says, “It deflects some of the trauma they are feeling.”
Other strategic partnerships include: Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, Kids Wish Network, Red Cross Disaster Relief Funds, Special Olympics, and the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund.
Don’t Forget The Animals
More and more pet owners treat their pets like children, so JAKKS Pets™ has partnered with the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers Association to brand pet products that support the work of these organizations. Animal Humane Societies and other animal-related charities are also part of the JAKKS™ Cares strategy. On the Green Scene
In addition to in-kind giving and employee volunteer programs, JAKKS™ Cares activities include conservation and recycling activities at their corporate offices and distribution centers, as well as implementing environmentally friendly and socially responsible global sourcing and manufacturing practices worldwide. The company has implemented new lighting throughout their facilities and have adopted other environmentally-friendly practices throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, they are committed to human rights practices for their workers abroad.
Community engagement and giving back are important to JAKKS. The company demonstrates its commitment to children, animals and communities around the world. They are an excellent example of using the core business and products to support their goals globally. They were also a key partner in the Afghanistan humanitarian shipment referenced by ICOSA publisher, Gayle Dendinger, in his Inspirations piece.
Thanks for all you do JAKKS!