American Girl Reaches for Stars

Girls Earn Virtual Points to Raise $1 Million for Charities

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American Girl is rallying girls around the country to take part in its Shine On Now initiative. The goal: To help the company give up to $1 million in clothes, books, dolls and money to four charitable organizations.

Through Shine On Now, girls can contribute free virtual stars to partner charities. The goal is to reach 1 million stars by July 31. As of late last week, the effort had already reached more than 650,000 stars.

The project for the Middleton, Wisc.-based doll company is being handled by WPP agencies Cohn & Wolfe, Y&R and VML. It's also being supported by 38 parent bloggers.

"Shine on Now was conceived in partnership with American Girl and the integrated agency team," says Andrew Foote, senior VP, Cohn & Wolfe Digital. "Our goal was to build a digitally focused, collaborative program that teaches girls about giving back. It aligns with American Girl's commitment to celebrating the potential of girls and encouraging them to create and grow."

The campaign started June 28, when girls could sign up online to become official American Girl Ambassadors and then inspire other girls to join the Shine On Now effort. Ambassadors received a free, downloadable tool kit with tips and ideas for fundraising, volunteering or donating to the four charities participating in Shine On Now, or wherever they see an opportunity to make a difference. The charities are Kids in Distressed Situations, National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions, National Wildlife Federation and Save the Children.

On July 13, girls could go to to sign up, then donate up to 100 free stars a day toward the 1 million star goal. The site also features a new Innerstar University, which offers games, quizzes and other activities.

"Shine On Now is about mobilizing girls across America to collaborate in a digital setting to positively impact the real world," Foote says. "We've been amazed with the surge of participation among girls, parents, and our partner bloggers who have worked together to promote the program and quickly drive up the star count."

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