Record sales in 2009 of IKEA Soft Toys will improve education for children

Eight million children benefit from the '$1 is a Fortune' campaign that started in 2003

BURLINGTON, ON, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - UNICEF and Save the Children today thanked IKEA customers and co-workers for their help in raising $10.3 million CAD through the sales of soft toys at IKEA stores around the world during the holidays. In Canada, over $185,000 was raised locally among the 11 Canadian stores. The funds will be used to continue to provide children with a quality education.

"Through the support of our customers, IKEA has been able to achieve record breaking goals each year," says Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada. "The '$1 is a Fortune' campaign allows IKEA to continue to improve the lives of millions of children by offering them a chance to a better education."

The "$1 is a Fortune" campaign is driven by the IKEA Social Initiative, responsible for IKEA's investment in communities and commitment to improving children's rights and opportunities. Since the campaign began in 2003, the IKEA Social Initiative has donated nearly $35 million CAD enabling approximately 8 million children in over 30 countries to access a quality education. This year sales reached a record high and donations exceeded all expectations.

IKEA supports UNICEF and Save the Children's position that all children have a right to access a quality education that prepares them for the widest range of opportunities in life. UNICEF will direct this year's funding to its "Schools for Africa" program that assists children in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Africa, Mali and Niger. Save the Children will use the 2009 donation to assist children's education in Russia, Albania, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

"Achieving the goal of universal education for every child including the most vulnerable, excluded and marginalized requires a universal commitment," says Nigel Fisher, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "We are grateful for the support of our long-standing partner IKEA, both here in Canada and around the world. Customers and staff can be very proud of the contribution they have made to help achieve this important goal for children."

"Even in the most difficult situations, children tell us time and time again that they want to go to school," said David Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Canada. "The IKEA soft toy promotion will allow us to provide even more children with the quality education that is their right, giving children the opportunity to build more peaceful and sustainable communities in the future."

    
    About IKEA
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IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 267 stores in 25 countries worldwide, which are visited by 590 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 11 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the ikea.com websites attracted 561 million visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.ikea.ca.

    
    About IKEA Social Initiative
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IKEA believes that children are the most important people in the world. That's why IKEA Social Initiative wants to make a difference for millions of children in need around the world by reducing malnutrition and infant disease, and by dramatically improving literacy. IKEA Social Initiative was formed in 2005 to manage global donations with the mission to improve the rights and life opportunities of the many children. Today, we support projects that benefit an estimated 100 million children. IKEA is the largest corporate donor to UNICEF and Save The Children globally. The annual '$1 is a Fortune' program is a global joint-raising venture with the IKEA Group. As a result, the transfer of funds from IKEA stores in Canada will be (euro)1 (approximately $1.50 CAD) for every soft toy sold. For more information, please visit www.IKEA.com.

    
    About UNICEF
    ------------
    

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information on UNICEF, please visit: www.unicef.ca.

    
    About Save the Children
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Save the Children is the world's largest independent organization for children, and works to secure and protect children's rights to food, shelter, health care, education and freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation. For more information on Save the Children, please visit: www.savethechildren.ca

SOURCE IKEA Canada

For further information: For further information: Stefanie Niewada, Account Manager, Optimum Public Relations, T: (416) 934-8020, Stefanie.Niewada@cossette.com


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