LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 28, 2006 - Disney’s Helping Kids Shine Grants, awarded today during a ceremony in front of Cinderella Castle. From developing mentoring programs that teach leadership and responsibility, to creating arts activities that children and adults can experience together, each of these groups will use the collective gift of more than $700,000 from Walt Disney World Co. to positively impact children. This is a record amount awarded by Disney.
The grants were awarded to organizations that serve Lake, Polk, Orange, Osceola and/or Seminole Counties and whose efforts are grounded in one or more of the four platforms identified by Walt Disney World Co.’s community initiative, Disney Helping Kids Shine, to build better futures for children: connecting with adults, constructive use of free time, character development and compassion.
“It is a privilege for Walt Disney World to support our community organizations that demonstrate such a deep dedication to improving the lives of children in Central Florida,” said Diane Ledder, director of Community Relations for Walt Disney World Co.
Two organizations received awards named for former Disney executives who have made significant contributions to the community. The Bob Allen Outstanding Community Service Award honors the late Bob Allen, who started his career at Disneyland in 1955 and ended his tenure with a decade-long stint as vice president of Walt Disney World Resort. After his death in 1987, Allen’s family formed an endowment fund that assists local social service, environmental and humanitarian organizations. This year, a $60,000 grant was awarded to the Florida Senior Programs Inc. (Foster Grandparent Program of Central Florida) to help then recruit and train foster grandparents to work with pre-school age children.
The Dianna Morgan Children’s Champion Award is in honor of Dianna Morgan, a children’s advocate who forged relationships among Disney, community members and leaders throughout Florida during her 30-year career with the company. This $48,800 award was presented to The Orlando Science Center to fund their apprenticeship program.
Each year, Walt Disney World Co. mails grant applications to non-profit organizations throughout Central Florida. This year, the company received more than 160 applications. The grant recipients were chosen by a panel of judges made of up Central Florida community leaders and Walt Disney World Cast Members.
Formerly known as the Community Service Awards, the program was renamed in 2002 to reflect the company’s community focus on building better futures for children. Since 1972, Walt Disney World Co. has awarded more than $8.0 million to benefit local non-profit organizations through the program.
In 2005 alone, Walt Disney World Resort donated $23.2 million in cash and in-kind support to the community. Walt Disney World Cast Members also volunteered more than 203,198 hours to benefit local non-profit organizations.