Disneyland Resort cast members made magic for their favorite Southern California nonprofit organizations by donating more than $385,000. This month, cast members selected nearly 80 organizations – from local schools to social services – to receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
The Anaheim Interfaith Shelter was one of the organizations that received a $5,000 grant. The shelter will use the funds to provide healthy food options at its on-site food pantry, helping to counter obesity among underprivileged children. The organization assists families in need of short-term support due to one-time events that cause homelessness.
“This grant will allow us to provide healthy food items to children in need, and we hope it will have a lasting impact by encouraging a healthy lifestyle,” said Colleen Smagala, executive director, Anaheim Interfaith Shelter. “We are thankful to Disneyland Resort cast members for their continued support and look forward to making a positive impact in partnership with them.”
Since its inception 13 years ago, cast members have contributed, managed and dispersed donations from the Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund to support innovative programs within nonprofit organizations. The fund has provided more than $3.7 million in grants to hundreds of organizations.
“This program is unique in that it is entirely funded by cast members who donate through regular payroll deductions or one-time donations,” said Jill Bolton, director, community relations, Disneyland Resort. “Each year, those who contribute have an opportunity to nominate their favorite nonprofit organizations to receive the grants.”
The program began when Resort cast members demonstrated a desire to contribute to their communities through nonprofit organizations with whom they were affiliated. The Disneyland Resort covers all administration costs associated with the fund so that 100 percent of cast member donations support the grants.