The Walt Disney Company announced today that it will donate $2.5 million to the American Red Cross to support humanitarian aid efforts related to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In addition, the Company will match Disney cast member and employee donations to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund and Save the Children, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million total.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Japan,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We send our continued thoughts of support and encouragement as this great nation begins the long road to recovery.”
“We are truly grateful for Disney’s generosity to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan,” said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. “Disney’s support is enabling the Red Cross to provide critical assistance and essential relief items in this time of urgent need.”
The Walt Disney Company is committed to working with humanitarian organizations to help rebuild stricken communities and assist families as Japan recovers from these devastating natural disasters.
At sunrise on October 17, more than 12,000 walkers gathered on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland park to make a lasting impact on the lives of local families by taking part in CHOC Walk in the Park presented by Disneyland Resort. In honor of the event’s 20th anniversary, Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis surprised CHOC Children’s Hospital with a special $200,000 donation, bringing total funds to a record $2 million raised in a single year. The Disney VoluntEARS team – composed of Disney cast members, friends and family – was the largest in terms of funds raised. The walk is the organization’s largest fund-raising event and has raised more than $16 million since its inception.
Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort
Walt Disney World Cast Members are lending a helping hand to Central Florida students in need this week by giving them the right supplies to start the upcoming school year with confidence. Stocking up on boxes of crayons, rulers, folders and packs of notebook paper, Disney Cast Members hit an all-time high by donating more than 2 million school supplies through Walt Disney World Resort’s annual back-to-school supply drive.
“I’m so proud of our Cast Members who gave a record number of school supplies to benefit our community, which is encountering a record level of need,” says Nancy Gidusko, director of Community Relations for Walt Disney World Resort. “By contributing these back-to-school basics, Disney Cast Members are making a difference in the lives of many local students and reaching more students, teachers and classrooms than ever before.”
This week, hundreds of Disney VoluntEARS sorted school supplies and distributed them to local students and teachers through partnerships with A Gift For Teaching and S.T.A.R.S. (Supplies to Assist Our Students). The annual campaign expanded beyond Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties this year to include Lake and Polk counties.
On Tuesday, Disney VoluntEARS gave nearly 1 million school supplies – ranging from pencils to scissors – to A Gift For Teaching. Walt Disney World Resort’s donation is annually the largest contribution received by the organization. Local teachers can pick up the supplies year-around through A Gift For Teaching’s free store, which benefits students in need in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
“With their substantial donations, Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members are at the forefront of helping us collect as many school supplies as we can for students in struggling families and the teachers that are compelled to help them,” said Jane Thompson, president of A Gift For Teaching.
Later this week, Disney VoluntEARS will distribute 6,460 backpacks, filled with 1.3 million school supplies, through S.T.A.R.S. The backpacks will be given to students at 13 Orange County public elementary schools in areas of high need.
“Disney is making a difference in the lives of thousands of young local students by donating the necessities for school,” says Chesta Hembrooke, president and founder of S.T.A.R.S. “For many, the backpacks are the only new item they receive to start the school year.”
Disney to Donate $627,050 to Central Florida Community in August in Recognition of Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS Work in 2009
Throughout August, The Walt Disney Company is donating $627,050 to the Central Florida community in recognition of the 251,000 hours given by Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS in 2009. From schools to shelters, Cast Members selected approximately 250 local non-profit agencies and community service groups to receive Disney’s EARS to You grants. Top recipients include Orange County Public Schools, A Better Life Pet Rescue and local chapters of the American Cancer Society.
“Disney VoluntEARS enjoy sharing their time and talents and have a vested interest in making Central Florida an even better place for all who live in our community,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations, Walt Disney World Resort. “The collective contributions of these Cast Members are impressive and impactful; they are truly making a difference during a time when it’s needed most.”
The Walt Disney Company, through the Disney VoluntEARS program, provides opportunities for Cast Members to give their time and expertise toward positively impacting their communities. Each year, the Company recognizes VoluntEARS who donate at least 10 hours of service with EARS to You grants, which are financial contributions of up to $1,000 to the non-profit organization of their choice.
This year, Walt Disney World Resort awarded more than 800 EARS to You grants. Disney dollars will go toward a wide array of worthy causes including local youth development groups, health and social services programs, environmental causes, community theatres and pet rescue organizations.
Disney VoluntEAR Maria Kirkland received an EARS to You grant of $500 for her active support of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “I feel very fortunate to be able to provide not only my time but a financial contribution to such a worthy organization,” said Kirkland. “It makes me feel so wonderful to know that I was able to help a family or individual to have one less stress in their life.”
Animal care experts from Disney’s Animal Programs returned Thursday from the Florida Panhandle with six Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles – among the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world – and two Green Sea Turtles injured by the spill. The Disney animal care team stands ready to help in the Panhandle as needed and rehabilitation facilities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and at Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends are available for treating turtles and birds impacted by the spill.
“Oil can have a devastating effect on the health of sea turtles, marine mammals and birds,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president for Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives at Disney Parks. “Over the next several months, many of these animals will require intense medical treatment over a prolonged period. We want to be sure that we provide top-notch medical care wherever we can – whether it’s on a beach or in a state-of-the-art veterinary facility. Ultimately, our goal is to re-release these animals so they can once again thrive in the wild of our oceans and coastline.”
In addition, as part of the coordinated response to the spill, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), supported by Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, has donated $100,000 to help with environmental and animal rescue efforts, including $50,000 to The National Audubon Society for their response in the Gulf. Another $50,000 in grants from the DWCF Rapid Response Fund is being awarded to various grassroots organizations assisting with the cleanup.
As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Disney Animal Programs supports the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 injured and orphaned wild animals each year. For this current effort, engineers and water science experts have already converted a backstage area into a temporary rehabilitation facility – setting up salt-water pools capable of housing up to 35 sea turtles.
Since 1986, Disney animal care teams have nursed more than 250 endangered sea turtles back to health. Earlier this summer Disney animal experts began care for seven Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles diagnosed with pneumonia. The turtles were moved to Walt Disney World Resort from facilities in Mississippi to make room for animals injured by the oil spill.
Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund provides annual awards to nonprofit conservation organizations working alongside their peers here and in other countries. A special emergency fund also helps animals and people in times of environmental crisis.
Disney Cruise Line will roll out the blue carpet to premiere Disneynature’s newest film, “Oceans,” aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder today. In honor of Earth Day, Disney Cruise Line will make a $3,000 donation on behalf of all guests, cast and crew members to The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt a Coral Reef program, protecting coral reefs in The Bahamas.
“Oceans” follows last year’s record-breaking film “Earth,” and features spectacular, never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies. Disney Cruise Line crew members will also raise additional funds through a “Walk for Oceans,” a late-night fundraiser that has become an annual tradition onboard the ships.
“The Bahamas have been home to Disney ships, and our private island, Castaway Cay, for more than a decade,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “We have built significant long-standing relationships throughout the islands and care deeply about maintaining and preserving these precious ecosystems for all of us to enjoy today and in the future. We are proud to be involved with The Nature Conservancy’s program to give back in such a meaningful way.”
The Walt Disney Company announced today it will contribute $150,000 to the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) to help rebuild schools devastated by a powerful earthquake in the western Chinese province of Qinghai.
“On behalf of The Walt Disney Company, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of China and hope our contribution can help the children and families affected by this terrible earthquake,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, who announced the donation while visiting Shanghai.
Disney worked with the non-governmental CYDF after the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan and Gansu provinces to build both temporary schools and to help in the long-term reconstruction of damaged facilities. The temporary schools have served as an important refuge for children and youth, providing them a nurturing environment where they could regain a sense of normality and continue their education.
“We believe CYDF is well positioned to provide immediate and effective aid to the communities in Qinghai during their time of need,” said Stanley Cheung, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China.
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced today it will contribute $100,000 in humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The donation will be provided to the Red Cross International Fund to support Haiti’s relief efforts.
“We at the Walt Disney Company are deeply saddened by this tragedy and send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Haiti and their loved ones, which include our Cast Members and employees,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
“We hope this donation will help the Red Cross to provide immediate aid and relief to the thousands of people affected by this terrible tragedy,” Mr. Iger added.