With a pop of confetti and the drop of a banner from atop the CHOC Children’s construction site, Disneyland Resort yesterday announced a $5 million donation to CHOC in support of the “Change CHOC, Change the World” comprehensive fund-raising campaign.
The gift includes sponsorship of the lobby in the seven-story tower, slated to open in spring 2013. The tower will house new pediatric services and will incorporate the most advanced design and safety principles of any children’s hospital in the country. Disney Imagineers are busy helping to create an inviting lobby space sprinkled with special Disney touches to complement the hospital’s serene healing environment for children and their families.
“Disney makes magical moments for millions of people every day, and it’s especially important for us to provide some Disney magic to support children during difficult times,” said George A. Kalogridis, Disneyland Resort president. “On behalf of our 22,000 cast members and their families, who live in this community, I am honored to show our support for CHOC as together we build a community where children have the best opportunity to be healthy and happy.”
“Thanks to this generous $5 million gift, our ‘Change CHOC, Change the World’ campaign has surpassed the $100 million milestone,” said Kim Cripe, president and CEO of CHOC Children’s. “We are extremely fortunate to enjoy such a strong partnership with the Disneyland Resort, who understands there’s no higher purpose to philanthropy than to change, to heal and to save the life of a child.”
During this morning’s celebration, Cripe and Kalogridis joined Mickey Mouse, Disney Ambassador Jolie Hales, and 14-year-old CHOC patient Tommy Conforti, CHOC’s Campaign Ambassador, to announce the gift.
Disneyland Resort and CHOC have been part of the fabric of Orange County since Walt Disney first formed a bond with the hospital in 1960, when he was appointed as one of the founding members of CHOC’s executive council. That support continues today with Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis serving on CHOC’s board of directors. For the past 21 years, the Resort has played host to the hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser — the CHOC Walk in the Park — where 15,000 participants stroll through Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks to raise funds. In 2011, walkers raised more than $1.5 million, which included $240,000 from the Disney VoluntEARS walk team and other Resort-sponsored initiatives. Many Disney cast members have a tradition of volunteering their time and talent at CHOC and our beloved characters often can be found visiting the hospital’s young patients.
The Walt Disney Company also has a long history of supporting children’s hospitals. Through Disney’s wishes and hospital programs, the company helps bring happiness, hope and laughter to those who need it most. This month, Disney is expanding its annual care-package program and sharing Disney products and experiences with more than 450 hospitals in the U.S., 110 children’s hospitals and hospices in Europe and 25 children’s hospitals in Latin America.
Photo courtesy Disneyland Resort