Walt Disney World VoluntEARS prepare and serve nearly 750 meals a month at Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, a tradition that spans at least a decade and one of many ways that Disney lends a helping hand at the Coalition, which provides food and shelter to approximately 650 people a night. Many of them are families with children.
The Walt Disney World Resort takes care of dinner service twice monthly at the Coalition. When a holiday falls on the schedule, Disney chefs find great delight in making the meals even more magical.
Chef Leonard Thomson, Chef de Cuisine with Epcot Catering, recently oversaw the Coalition’s Thanksgiving dinner preparations, which began two days prior to the holiday. Creating a feast for approximately 700 people, Chef Thomson and team made a culinary cornucopia that included roasted turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, braised beef tips, four-cheese baked pasta, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, salad greens, rolls and desserts such as pumpkin cheesecake.
“When Disney chefs are onsite for their regular meal service, the delicious aroma is unmistakable,” says Muffet Robinson, director of communications for Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. “Our staff and clients are so very grateful for the support of Walt Disney World.”
Coalition for the Homeless is more than a shelter; it is a comprehensive program designed to help homeless individuals and families get back on track to self-sufficiency. They offer numerous support services including job skills training, licensed day care, children’s programs and housing placement.
For the past few years, Coalition for the Homeless has been recognized as one of the top Disney’s Helping Kids Shine grant recipients. As part of this recognition, the Coalition continues to receive funding and ongoing comprehensive support from Disney, which includes board service, assistance in the maintenance and improvement of Coalition facilities, meals prepared by Disney chefs and donations of warm clothing in the winter.
“We sincerely value Disney’s generosity and commitment to making a difference in the lives of homeless individuals and families,” says Coalition for the Homeless President/CEO Brent Trotter. “Thanks to community partners, such as Walt Disney World Resort, we can extend our reach to help those who need it most.”
To learn more about how you can help, visit http://www.centralfloridahomeless.org.
The annual event, organized by the Metropolitan Business Association, which serves as Orlando’s Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, celebrates members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and its allies.
“It was wonderful to see so many positive and supportive people in our community come out and join us for such a memorable celebration,” said Andrea Hays, president of the PRIDE Diversity Resource Group at Walt Disney World Resort. “Each year we try to step up our involvement in the Come Out with Pride celebration and show our support. This year about 85 Cast Members and VoluntEARS represented Walt Disney World Resort in the parade and at events throughout the day, demonstrating just how much we value diversity and inclusion.”
Walt Disney World Ambassadors Clay Shoemaker and Vanessa Rosas joined in the celebration, riding in a horse-drawn wagon that led the way for Disney Cast Members marching in the parade. Additionally, Disney VoluntEARS helped oversee the Disney-sponsored KidZone at Lake Eola Park, which entertained more than 2,500 children of all ages with fun activities, games, family-friendly dance music and crafts. VoluntEARS taught kids how to make towel animals and the Disney Quest Animation Academy team demonstrated how to draw classic Disney characters.
PRIDE is one of seven Diversity Resource Groups that give Cast Members the chance to join others who have a common interest in advancing diversity and inclusion at Walt Disney World Resort.
Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort
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.
With blue and silver pixie dust in hand, Mickey Mouse today presented the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard with a “mouse warming” gift in celebration of the team’s new home and a multi-year agreement making Disney Parks a “Champions of the Community” sponsor for the franchise and Amway Center.
“We are honored to have the global brand of Disney, which has been such a fixture of this community for nearly 40 years, join us as a ‘Champions of the Community’ sponsor,” said Orlando Magic President Alex Martins. “As a long-standing member of the Central Florida community, Disney has established a great legacy that we hope to build upon at the Amway Center. We look forward to working together to make continued impact on our Central Florida community for one common purpose… becoming champions both on and off the court.”
Through the new agreement, the Orlando Magic and Disney Parks will seek opportunities to work together on outreach initiatives that benefit the community. The agreement also makes Disney Parks the presenting sponsor of the Amway Center atrium, gives Disney and the Orlando Magic the opportunity to develop and sell co-branded merchandise and provides the foundation for a variety of other marketing and community opportunities.
“As you would expect, Disney believes in Magic,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “This agreement is a natural extension of Disney’s ongoing support for the downtown venues and serves as another example of our company’s efforts to further enhance the quality of life and make dreams come true across our region.”
Disney Parks joins GEICO, PepsiCo, AirTran Airways and Harris Corporation as “Champions of the Community”. Opening October 1, the Amway Center, which will be operated by the City of Orlando and owned by the Central Florida community, will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows and serve as the new home of the Orlando Magic.
As part of a consolidated corporate responsibility report for The Walt Disney Company, Disney Cruise Line today released its 2009 Community Report, highlighting the many ways the company is involved in the ports it frequents throughout the world.
The report shares details on the line’s commitment in the areas of community outreach, environmental stewardship, and further outlines how the company provides a safe and comfortable workplace for cast and crew members.
“At Disney Cruise Line, we are proud to be involved with many communities around the world and strive to make a positive impact in all of the places we call home,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “Through our relationships with local leaders, we are able to extend our special brand of Disney magic beyond our ships and into the local communities where we live, work and play.”
In 2009, Disney Cruise Line and its cast and crew members contributed more than $252,000 in charitable, cash and in-kind merchandise and equipment donations to local organizations focused on developing children and supporting the environment across 13 unique ports of call.
The community report reflects a company-wide effort to build an integrated, transparent strategy that focuses on serving the needs of guests, cast and crew members, shareholders, business partners and local communities.
Record numbers of children donated virtual coins they earned playing games in the popular virtual world of Club Penguin this holiday to support charities working to improve the lives of kids and families around the globe.
The third annual Coins for Change campaign, conducted from December 11 to 21, 2009, allowed children who visited Club Penguin to help change the world by contributing to help kids who are sick, kids who are poor or the environment. The players’ donations served as votes to determine how a $1 million cash contribution would be divided amongst charitable projects in the real world.
Thanks to more than 2.9 million players who donated in excess of four billion virtual coins, Club Penguin will donate:
- $165,000 to a nutrition program to feed thousands of malnourished and at-risk children in Haiti (conducted by Partners In Health);
- $165,000 to a peace centre to educate 20,000 young children displaced by war and conflict in Sri Lanka (conducted by War Child);
- $157,500 to critical health care and treatment programs for impoverished children in Haiti (conducted by Partners In Health);
- $157,500 to build a health clinic in Kenya (conducted by Free The Children);
- $177,500 for programs to inspire kids to protect coral reefs in Indonesia, wetlands in China, and forests in South America; critical habitats for sea turtles, orangutans and other endangered species (conducted by Rare); and
- $177,500 to support scholarships and educational programs focused on protecting the African wild dog, the elephant and the snow leopard (conducted by Wildlife Conservation Network).
“We value social involvement and encourage our global community of players to do their part to make the world a better place,” says Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “Kids need to know they have the power to make a difference, whether it’s by participating in Coins for Change, raising money for a great cause or just doing something nice for their neighbor down the street.”
In an effort to extend the spirit of giving beyond Coins for Change and the holiday season, Club Penguin is challenging its players to do even more to help change the world. Club Penguin has announced it will support kids or schools that want to help a village in one of the world’s poorest regions by matching the money they raise up to $5,000. Club Penguin is also sponsoring a free speaking tour and leadership program for elementary school students.
Club Penguin is one of the largest and fastest-growing virtual worlds for kids. Word filters and live moderators monitor chat and activity on the site and work to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information. Club Penguin is free to play, however paying members receive special benefits. A portion of the proceeds from each membership supports organizations working to improve the lives of children and families around the world.
Recently on its official blog, Disney Parks gave an inside look at one of five custom-painted basses that will be auctioned off to benefit school music programs in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Magic Music Days in which students from schools all over are invited to perform at the resort.
Today, Disney has launched the DisneyArtForMusic.com website which indicates that there will be a special event taking place at Walt Disney World on January 19, 2010 with more details to come.
We will update as we learn more.
Alaska Airlines this morning introduced its “Spirit of Disneyland II” aircraft at Portland International Airport. The plane is adorned with the faces of Disney’s most recognized characters – Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and, for the first time, Pluto. The new design replaces a previous Disney-themed aircraft retired two weeks ago. Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737-900 aircraft made its inaugural flight from Portland to Los Angeles International Airport carrying three Make-A-Wish® children on their way to the Disneyland Resort to have their wishes granted.
“We’re honored to have our Disney and Make-A-Wish partners join us to debut Alaska’s fourth Disney-themed aircraft,” said Alaska Airlines’ President Brad Tilden. “For the next seven years these five characters will serve as an iconic vehicle to bring customers across our network to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ and other Alaska Airlines destinations.”
The “Spirit of Disneyland II” aircraft was welcomed at the gate by the three children and their families, as well as Mickey Mouse, Pluto and leaders from Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Oregon, Disneyland Resorts and Alaska Airlines, as travelers looked on from the terminal.
“When a child with a life-threatening medical condition wishes to meet a Disney character or visit a Disney park, we know that Alaska Airlines and Disneyland Resort are there to make it a dream-come-true,” said Andrew Asato, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oregon executive director. “With donated tickets and passes, as well as extra-special treatment for wish families, these partners have each provided an unduplicated resource to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for more than 20 years.”
Applications Now Being Accepted For Disney’s 2010 ‘Helping Kids Shine’ Grants for Central Florida Non-Profits
The application period for the 2010 Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants is now underway through February 4, 2010. Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants recognize those who commit their time and talent to making a difference in the lives of Central Florida’s children. Non-profit organizations in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Polk and Lake Counties are eligible to apply and must offer programs that focus on children in one or more of Disney’s focus areas: connecting with adults, constructive use of free time, character development and compassion.
This past May, Walt Disney World Resort gave a total of $700,000 in grants to 34 non-profit organizations to support their work. Since 1972, Disney has honored Central Florida non-profit organizations with cash awards totaling more than $10 million.
Applications and more information on the program is available here.
ORLANDO, Fla., July 29, 2009 – Making music for charity’s sake, the Encore! Cast Choir and Orchestra, a volunteer ensemble of nearly 300 Disney Cast Members, struck a high note by raising a record $35,000 for United Arts of Central Florida.
“On behalf of Encore!, we are grateful to everyone who came out to support our concerts and help us raise a record level of funds for United Arts,” said Encore! producer and co-founder Ray Fournier. “We are thrilled to be giving them a $35,000 donation and know it will go to good use in support of many arts organizations in Central Florida who are struggling in these economic times.”