TOTY® Awards Embrace Play with Purpose, Raising Nearly $1 Million for Children in Need
October 3, 2023 | The power of play was on full display at the 2023 Toy of the Year® (TOTY®) Awards as the toy industry enjoyed an unforgettable night of entertainment, awards, and philanthropy. Hosted by The Toy Foundation™ (TTF), the industry collectively raised nearly $1 million through sponsorships, ticket sales, auction bids, and on-site donations to deliver play to children in need.
“What a momentous night — thank you to all who joined us and filled the room with laughter, cheers, and support,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We are proud to be YOUR Foundation bringing the joy of play to children around the world.”
As the doors opened, the TOTY Awards immediately wowed guests with media, photographers, and influencers along the purple carpet for everyone to have a celebrity moment, craft cocktails to cheers with, toy claw machines to win action figure and plush toys, and vintage photobooth to document the night.
Emmy Award-winning journalist Lynda Lopez kicked off ceremony, which announced the award winners and profiled TTF’s program areas – The Toy Bank℠, Play Grants, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Pipeline Program – alongside children, students, and representatives from TTF’s mission partners, Metro World Child, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, and University of Maryland. Each joined TTF onstage as guests heard firsthand the importance and impact play has on their own and on the lives of the children they serve.
Throughout the night, the industry was challenged to continue to show their support — and they responded. Nearly $30,000 was raised onsite through auction bids and programmatic pledges, including one from Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun!, who was the bid winner to meet and perform with Grammy Award-winner Wyclef Jean on stage later that night.
Wyclef closed out the celebration with a crowd-roaring performance of some of the most popular songs he is part of, including “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Foreman, along with his colleagues and friends, sang alongside Wyclef onstage before everyone moved into the crowd. Wyclef sang and danced atop of the chairs to make everyone part of the celebration, including team members from Amazon, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Disney, Jazwares, Paramount, and many others. Afterwards, Wyclef met with guests and snapped photos to make the TOTY Awards a lifetime memory.
TTF thanks its presenting sponsors, Amazon, Mattel, and Spin Master, and all other sponsors, including BBC Studios, Beacon Media Group, Build-A-Bear Workshop, ChizSix Marketing & Media, Circana, Coyne PR, Crayola, Cra-Z-Art, Duracell, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Hasbro, Jazwares, Kidoodle TV, KidsKnowBest, the LEGO Group, Melissa & Doug, Moose Toys, NightGlass Media Group, Paramount, The Pokemon Company International, Precise TV, Radio Flyer, T3 Expo, Target, Toy’n Around, Toysmith, VTech, and Zigazoo.