Melissa & Doug Salute Hall of Fame Inductees with Tribute Scholarships

Scholarships Bring Next-Gen Leaders to TOTY® and Toy Fair®

August 21, 2023 | In celebration of their leadership and commitment to the future of the toy industry, The Toy Foundation™ (TTF) is pleased to announce that this year’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductees will be honored with tribute scholarships that will be awarded to outstanding college and university students, allowing them to attend the Toy of the Year® (TOTY®) Awards and Toy Fair®. Melissa & Doug is the sponsor of this year’s scholarships that support a dynamic group of college and university students’ participation in the TOTY Awards and educational programming, executive mentorship, and internship and first-hire recruitment opportunities at Toy Fair in New York City.

“We strive to inspire all to be who they are, from children to young and grown adults, with the power of play,” said David Henderson, chief commercial officer at Melissa & Doug. “We are delighted to honor this year’s Hall of Fame inductees by inviting the next generation to come play with us at the TOTY Awards and Toy Fair!”

In addition to honoring the accomplishments of this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame Tribute Scholarships also focus on the future of the industry. Scholarship recipients will be identified through TTF’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Pipeline Program that is designed to build a diverse pipeline of talent for the toy industry. During the past year, this program has connected students with industry experts at Jazwares, Crazy Aaron’s, Disney, Mattel, Target, Thames & Kosmos, and The Toy Association™’s Young Professionals Network to explore career opportunities in the toy industry.

“What better way to excite and support young, diverse talent than by connecting them with the most outstanding professionals in our industry,” said Pam Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation.

In June, The Toy Association announced the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees who have left an indelible mark on the toy industry: Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, and Ben Varadi, co-founders of Spin Master; Mary Couzin, founder & president of ChiTAG & People of Play; the late John McLoughlin, founder of McLoughlin Brothers, a board game company; the late Rose O'Neill, creator of Kewpie dolls; the late David Ring, founder of Larami Corporation; and the late John Lloyd Wright, inventor of Lincoln Logs. These inductees will be honored with a special ceremony during the TOTY Awards.

The TOTY Awards, taking place on September 29 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City, will be a high-energy and high-impact event featuring exclusive entertainment from Grammy Award-winning artist Wyclef Jean, prestigious awards, a one-of-a-kind auction, and networking opportunities, all for a great cause supporting children in need. Tickets for the event may be purchased online.

Click here for the students’ TOTY/Toy Fair agenda. If you are interested in learning more about TTF’s DEI Pipeline Program, please contact TTF staff.

Follow The Toy Foundation on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, and #TOTY for event news. Add the hashtag to your updates sharing how you’re participating in the DEI agenda.

To learn more about The Toy Foundation, visit