In celebration of National Park Week, the National Park Foundation – the official charity of America’s national parks – today received a $500,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to help connect kids and families to nature through America’s national parks. Disney’s investment will go specifically to the National Park Foundation’s “Ticket to Ride” and “America’s Best Idea” programs, which will help kids explore the outdoors by providing transportation to and supporting community projects at national parks around the country.
“We realize that funding for transportation is one of the greatest barriers preventing children from experiencing a national park field trip,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Disney’s support has helped make it possible for us to engage thousands of young people in life changing park experiences, and ultimately inspiring the next generation of park enthusiasts.”
The National Park Foundation launched “Ticket To Ride” earlier this year. Disney is the first corporate partner to join in the program’s mission, allowing tens of thousands of young people to experience America’s national parks this spring. The company’s grant also supports the National Park Foundation’s “America’s Best Idea” program, which connects diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the country with their national parks through innovative and meaningful experiences.
In addition to the grant, Disney’s Friends for Change – a program that inspires kids and families to make a positive impact on their world by helping people and the planet – developed a public service announcement (PSA) that will launch during National Parks Week and air on Disney Channel and Disney Online. The spot features Disney Channel star Caroline Sunshine (“Shake it Up”) and encourages kids and families to explore the outdoors, whether at a local, state, or national park. Disney Friends for Change also created an online action kit that helps families plan a park visit in four easy steps and provides ideas on park activities ranging from hikes to wildlife exploration.
“The more kids are exposed to the great outdoors, the more they appreciate and understand the beauty and value of our natural resources, from our national parks to our own backyards,” said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of Disney Corporate Citizenship. “Disney is proud to work in collaboration with National Park Foundation to make a park experience possible for tens of thousands of young people. We hope that these outdoor adventures inspire lifelong conservation values.”
For more information on “Ticket to Ride,” “America’s Best Idea” or any of the National Park Foundation’s programs, please visit www.nationalparks.org.