Marine Toys for Tots Founding
Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR founds Toys for Tots in Los Angeles, California. 5,000 toys were collected and distributed to less fortunate children during a campaign before Christmas 1947. The first toy was a handcrafted doll made by his wife, Diane.
Walt Disney Designed Logo
Walt Disney designs the first national Toys for Tots poster which included the now famous Toys for Tots Train Logo. These Christmas posters have become a recognized part of the annual program, and through the years have featured such notable characters as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Dennis the Menace, Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner.
Toys for Tots Became Nationwide Program
The United States Marine Corps adopts Toys for Tots and expands it into a nationwide community action program and formally became the U. S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Program. Marines at each Reserve Center throughout the nation conduct toy collection and distribution campaigns in the communities surrounding the center.
Celebrities Begin to Endorse Program
Major celebrities begin to endorse the program. Over the years Toys for Tots Spokespersons have included John Wayne, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, George Strait, Brooke Shields, Charlton Heston, Ann Margaret, Sammy Davis, Jr., Doris Day, Andy Griffith, Charlie Daniels, Clint Eastwood, Lorrie Morgan, Johnny Carson, Tim Allen, Kenny Rogers, Joe Foss, John Glenn, Heather French Henry (Miss America 2000), and Billy Ray Cyrus. First Ladies, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, served as National Toys for Tots Spokespersons.
Toys for Tots Song Composed
Oscar winning songwriters Sammy Fain and Paul Webster compose the Toys for Tots theme, which was later recorded by Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee and Vic Damone.
Program Supported International Efforts
The Marine Toys for Tots Program went international on three occasions. The first followed the catastrophic typhoon that devastated the city of Nagoya, Japan, in 1959. The other two occasions were to the Republic of Panama following the invasion in 1988 and to the Caribbean following Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
KABC-TV Receives Award from Commandant of Marine Corps
KABC-TV of Los Angeles receives the highest non-military award possible from the Commandant of the Marine Corps for sponsoring a spectacular Toys for Tots Circus.
First Major Sports Event Hosted to Benefit Toys for Tots
New York Yankees sponsor first major sports event to benefit Toys for Tots – a “bring a toy game” with the Washington Senators. Since then the world of professional sports, both teams and individual athletes from virtually every sport, have supported Toys for Tots.
Toys for Tots Continues to Grow
The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program continues to grow, as does public support. More Businesses become involved, and local civilian organizations and individuals assist Reserve Units with local programs.
Six Million Toys Collected and Distributed Annually
Program grows to the level of an average of 6 million toys collected and distributed annually.
Reservists Refurbished Used Toys on Drill Weekends
From 1947 through Christmas 1979, Marines collected and distributed both new and used toys. Reservists refurbished used toys on drill weekends during October, November and December.
Toys for Tots Native American Program Continued
The original Toys for Tots unit, Mobilization Training Unit (MTU) CA-16 (Los Angeles Public Affairs), took on the responsibility of collecting, transporting, and distributing toys to the Navajo Nation and later to other Native American Tribes.
Marine Toys for Tots Native American Program Established
The Toys for Tots Native American Program was established in 1980 as the Navajo Toys for Tots Program. The United States Marine Corps and the Navajo Nation have had a special relationship since the “Code Talkers” of World War II fame.
Marines Collect Only New Toys
From Christmas 1980 onward, Marines collect and distribute only new toys.
First Lady Nancy Reagan Served as Toys for Tots Spokesperson
First Lady Nancy Reagan was the National Spokesperson.
Requirement for a Charity to Support the Program Recognized
U.S. Marine Corps identifies the need for the creation of a charity to be the fundraising and support organization for the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
First National Television Network Promotion
First national television network promotion for Toys for Tots. King World Merv Griffin Productions’ evening television game show, “Wheel of Fortune”, and Pizza Hut conduct a three week promotion of Toys for Tots that raises nearly $3,000,000. It set several records that are recorded in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for participation and donations made to a call in promotion. Marine Corps Reserve units collected and distributed over 7.9 million toys. Marine Reserves are mobilized for Desert Shield/Storm, but Toys for Tots goes on.
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was Established
Secretary of Defense authorized the Marine Corps to recognize and work with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. In September, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation became an operational organization and supported Toys for Tots for the first time during the Christmas 1991 campaign. The Foundation headquarters was located in Buffalo, NY.
Memorandum of Agreement Signed
The Memorandum of Agreement between Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is signed.
First Lady Barbara Bush Served as the National Spokesperson
First Lady Barbara Bush was National Spokesperson for Toys for Tots.
The Program Provided over 7.6 Million Toys to Children in Need
Marine Toys for Tots Program collects and distributes over 7.4 million toys. Marine Toys for Tots Foundation provides over 250,000 toys for children of Florida and Louisiana who were victims of Hurricane Andrew.
New President and CEO Announced
LtGen Mathew T. Cooper, USMC (Retired) became the President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation on September 1, 1993.
The Program Collected and Distributed over Eight Million Toys
Marine Toys for Tots Program collects and distributes over 8,000,000 toys. Special toy deliveries were made to the victims of the Mississippi basin floods. LtGen Mathew T. Cooper, USMC (Ret) becomes the President and CEO of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation on September 1, 1993.
Headquarters Moved to Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation headquarters relocates from Buffalo, NY to Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA..
Program Distributed over 6.8 Million Toys to 3.4 Million Children in Need
Marine Toys for Tots Program distributed over 6,800,000 toys and brought the joy of Christmas to 3,400,000 underprivileged children.
Toys for Tots Became an Official Activity of the U.S. Marine Corps
Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and as an official mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Program Distributed over 8.1 Million Toys to 4.2 Million Children in Need
Marine Toys for Tots Program collects over 8,100,000 toys and distributed them to over 4,200,000 underprivileged children. TV star Tim Allen was the National Toys for Tots Spokesperson.
Toys for Tots Program Supported in All 50 States
Commander, Marine Forces Reserve expands Toys for Tots to cover all 50 states by authorizing selected Marine Corps League Detachments and selected Local Community Organizations (generally veteran Marines), located in communities without a Marine Reserve Center, to conduct toy collection and distribution campaigns in their communities as part of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
Country Singer, Garth Brooks, Supported the Program
Marine Toys for Tots Program distributes over 7,200,000 toys and brought the joy of Christmas to over 4,100,000 underprivileged children. Country Western singer Garth Brooks supported Toys for Tots by giving concerts dedicated to Toys for Tots and by providing public service announcements to aid local program efforts.
Program Celebrated its 50th Anniversary
Marines celebrate the 50th anniversary of Toys for Tots. On June 6th, the President and CEO, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation hosted a 50th anniversary reception at the John Phillips Sousa Band Hall at Marine Barracks, Washington, DC. The reception featured an inspiring speech by the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles C. Krulak. Following the reception, the Marine Corps dedicated their traditional Friday evening parade at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. to Marine Toys for Tots.
Kenny Rogers Served as the National Spokesperson
Entertainer, Kenny Rogers was the National Spokesperson during the 50th anniversary year.
Warner Brothers Hosted 50th Anniversary Event
On December 3rd, Warner Brothers Studio hosted a 50th anniversary Toys for Tots event at their Hollywood studio during which the late Bill Hendricks was posthumously presented the Department of the Navy Meritorious Public Service Award.
National Kick-off Luncheon Hosted
Beginning with the National Kick-off Luncheon in Arlington, Virginia, on November 17th, the 2000 campaign started fast and never looked back. John Glenn (veteran Marine, astronaut and U. S. Senator) and Heather French Henry (Miss America 2000) were the Guests of Honor—both gave inspiring remarks to the 500 attendees.
The Program Provided Support to Families of 9/11 Victims
During the first week of December, special events were held for the children who lost a parent in the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC. These events were coordinated by the local Toys for Tots Coordinator in each city and funded by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
The Foundation Celebrated its 10th Anniversary
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary. The highlights of the year were that the Foundation had its most successful campaign to date plus was ranked #289 in the 2001 “ Philanthropy 400”. This was the first time the Foundation earned a ranking in the “Philanthropy 400”.
Country Singer, Billy Ray Cyrus, Served as the National Spokesperson
Country-western singer and TV star, Billy Ray Cyrus was the 2003 National Spokesman for Toys for Tots. Billy Ray Cyrus joined General Michael W. Hagee, USMC, Commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps, as one the featured guests at the annual National Kick-off Luncheon in Alexandria, Virginia on November 21, 2003.
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Designated as an Accredited Charity
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance reported that Marine Toys for Tots Foundation had met all 20 of its standards and had been designated as an accredited charity.
Toys for Tots Celebrated 60 Years
The 60th anniversary of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program was greeted by another year of deployments to Southwest Asia by units of Marine Forces Reserve. As in the past four campaigns, Marines needed additional assistance from local citizens to ensure the success of the campaign. Citizens of local communities where Reserve Units conducted campaigns volunteered time as well as toys and dollars to ensure successful campaigns.
LtGen Osman, USMC (Retired) Selected as New CEO
Our 61st year began with changes. On January 31st, after nearly fifteen years, LtGen Matthew T. Cooper, USMC (Ret) stepped aside as President & CEO. The Board of Directors selected LtGen H. P. Osman, USMC (Ret) as his successor.
Marine Toys for Tots Literacy Program Established
After supporting Toys for Tots since 2005 and raising $1.3 million to help brighten the lives of thousands of children nationwide, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. network launched the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, a year-round initiative, in March 2008 to expand upon its existing partnership. While the Toys for Tots Literacy Program maintains the Toys for Tots mission of delivering hope, it extends the organization’s reach and impact by providing children in need with the gift of a book. This program not only brings the joy of reading to these children, but also serves as an important tool in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Headquarters Moved to New Location
In March, the Foundation staff moved into their newly constructed headquarters just outside the main gate of Marine Corps Base, Quantico. The new headquarters was dedicated by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, and was named the Cooper Center on March 28, 2009.
First Lady Michelle Obama Served as National Spokesperson
The President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, LtGen H.P. Osman, received a call from the White House with news that the First Lady had declared her support for the 2009 Toys for Tots Campaign. She invited LtGen Osman to join her at the White House for a media event to announce her support.
First Lady Michelle Obama Continued Her Support of the Program
First Lady Michelle Obama for the third straight year once again declares her support of Toys for Tots at a major media event at the Washington, DC Toys for Tots warehouse facility.
The Program Expanded its Exposure
The Foundation continued to focus on the exposure of the Toys for Tots brand to the public via the NYSE Closing Bell ceremony, Blue Angels support, and the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
First Lady Michelle Obama Served as Spokesperson for Fourth Year
Additionally, for the 4th consecutive year the First Lady served as Toys for Tots’ number one supporter by conducting a major media event and volunteering her time to sort toys in one of our local warehouses.
The Program Received Overwhelming Support
Corporate and individual support was superb; once again reinforcing the idea that the American public will not allow Toys for Tots to fail. The Foundation continued to focus on the exposure of the Toys for Tots brand to the public via the NYSE Closing Bell ceremony, Blue Angels support, and the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
Annual Supreme Court Christmas Party Dedicated to the Program
Chief Justice John Roberts also dedicated the Supreme Courts annual staff Christmas party to Toys for Tots.
Federated Auto Parts Continues its Support
Federated Auto Parts, a second year national corporate sponsor, kicked off their support of the 2013 Marine Toys for Tots Program by raising $65,000 at their April national conference. Additionally, they included Marines and Toys for Tots in the September NASCAR Sprint Cup Race held at the Richmond International Raceway. Federated, as the official corporate sponsor of the race, Federated requested the Richmond based Battery H, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines display an M-177 Howitzer and a 7-Ton Truck.
Toys for Tots Announced as Beneficiary of Supreme Court’s Holiday Party for 2nd Year
The First Lady threw her personal support behind the program and Chief Justice Roberts again made Toys for Tots the beneficiary of the Supreme Court’s Annual Holiday Gala
Power a Smile Program Supported by Ellen DeGeneres
On 22 November 2013, Kelley Hardison, Deputy Vice President of Marketing & Development, and television star, Ellen DeGeneres, joined Toys for Tots and 5 Star Corporate Sponsor, Duracell, at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles to help them launch their “Power a Smile” program.