Partner Spotlight: The Toy Association

When did your organization launch and why?

Founded on June 9, 1916 as Toy Manufacturers of America, Inc., The Toy Association®, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing hundreds of companies including manufacturers, retailers, licensors and others who are involved in the youth entertainment industry.

Today, our mission is to be a unifying force for members’ creativity, responsibility, and global success, advocating for their needs and championing the benefits of play.

The Toy Association is headquartered in the heart of Manhattan with advocacy offices in Washington, DC.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

Our key pillars are Play, Safety, Services, Philanthropy, Global Leadership, and a Commitment to All People. See below for more information on each of these pillars.

We are the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play, promoting play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media through our Genius of Play initiative.

For more than 40 years we have been global leaders in toy safety. We helped develop the first toy safety standard and remain committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing safety programs and outreach, including

The Toy Association powerfully and effectively advocates on behalf of members’ businesses in North America and in markets spanning every continent. We produce the world-renowned Toy Fair® and provide members with programs, products, actionable research, and consumer events to help grow their businesses globally.

The Toy Association is committed to charitable support of child- and youth-serving nonprofit organizations, including its related foundation, The Toy Foundation®, as well as The Strong National Museum of Play, the Fashion Institute of Technology Toy Design Program and the Otis College of Art and Design Toy Design Program, among other worthy 501(c)3 organizations.

Global Leadership:
As a global leader, we sustain the Canadian Toy Association, act as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable, and chair the committee that reviews and revises America’s ASTM F963 toy safety standard – one of the most respected and strictest toy safety standards in the world.

A Commitment to All People:
As a team serving a creative industry, we believe diversity leads to better outcomes, improved strategy, and more creative thinking. The growth and success of our people drives a high-performing workplace culture dedicated to being a unifying force for members’ creativity, responsibility, and global success. We continually strive to provide an environment focused on equality, inclusion, empowerment, and respect. We seek to attract, develop, and advance the most talented individuals regardless of their race, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, ability status or any other dimension of diversity.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

The Toy Association is committed to empowering and serving the toy, play and youth entertainment community by providing advocacy, programs, events, services, and tools that help them deliver safe, fun and developmentally beneficial products to children and families around the world. Our work continually evolves and adapts to drive greater positive impact. In addition, The Association educates families and consumers worldwide on the cognitive, social, emotional, and creative benefits of play.

We have a dedicated team leading the industry’s safety initiatives; we also educate manufacturers on upholding safety and quality standards across their supply chains.

We generate content, major feature stories and broadcast segments on the latest toys and trends, and we act as the industry’s voice on vital issues in the news. We work to educate consumers on selecting age- and developmentally appropriate toys and games helps ensure safe and fun play 365 days a year. Like those across our diverse industry, philanthropy plays an integral role in our lives.

We educate designers, inventors and manufacturers on compliance with ethical manufacturing standards to protect worker health and well-being. We ensure upholding the standards of the Ethical Toy Program for supplier certification, social impact assessment and worker well being and to those of other recognized social compliance organizations or codes of an equivalent or greater standard to Ethical Toy Program.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

As part of our work to help ensure the safety of children at play, and our efforts to educate manufacturers, retailers, and all play-related businesses about building safety into each product, program, and experience they offer to children, media literacy has become an important part of our safety education efforts.

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

As a new member of NAMLE, The Toy Association’s goal is to advance media literacy education and assist our members in these efforts.

We are committed to helping families understand how to view media with a critical eye. Our efforts extend to educating toy companies on media literacy so that they can be a partner in children’s safety online.

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.