The Toy Foundation Looks Back at 2021 Successes

January 11, 2021 | The Toy Foundation rose to the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic and supply chain crisis and broadened its programming to serve more children in need in 2021 through expanded programming and the generosity of the greater toy community. This all happened under the leadership of a new executive directive, Pamela Mastrota, who continued the positive work started by interim director Ellen Lambert.

“While 2021 surely presented its fair share of challenges (notably the shipping crisis’ impact on sizeable toy donations), The Toy Foundation’s work throughout 2021 highlights our steadfast commitment to ensuring children and families everywhere have equal access to the essential joy and comfort that play provides,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “And even with excess product availability hampered, we are pleased to share that nearly 150,000 children in need were served through the $3 million in toys donated—none of which would have been possible without the support of our industry partners!”

In addition to the continuing work of its signature Toy Bank program, the Foundation recognized the toll the pandemic has taken on the well-being of children everywhere and put an increased focus on the grant funding initiatives it began during the height of the pandemic. In 2021, the Foundation provided nearly $300,000 in grant funding to support non-profits assisting families directly impacted by COVID-19 including Playworks, Save the Children, Arts Ed Newark, The Strong Museum, First Book, and ThinkGive. The Foundation moved beyond this initial pandemic grant funding and developed a new partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association, “The Toy Foundation Play Grants Program,” which has provided $375,000 in play grants to 18 member hospitals to date.

In 2021, the Foundation also made huge strides in advancing the work of a newly established Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Charter/Committee created to serve all sectors of the toy industry and usher in a more equitable and inclusive culture throughout the industry. Recent funding was made toward the Black Inventors Hall of Fame and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media as part of this evolving initiative.

“As we look forward, we will continue to work to serve as a beacon of philanthropy for the great toy community and remain dedicated to delivering the healing powers of play to all those who need it,” added Mastrota.