NEW ORLEANS, La., March 8, 2007 – As part of The Walt Disney Company’s ongoing commitment to supporting the revitalization of New Orleans and the Gulf region, the Company held its 2007 Annual Meeting of Shareholders at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
“No city in the United States has endured hardships like New Orleans and we felt it was right for us to come here as a means of providing support to the brave people of this great city,” said Bob Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
At the meeting, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts announced that George Bodenheimer, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and President, ESPN and ABC Sports, will be bringing 50 members of his executive team to New Orleans next month to the Slidell Boys & Girls Club to build a playground, refurbish a basketball court, and donate sports equipment. Disney’s support for the city’s recovery continues when Live with Regis & Kelly broadcasts from New Orleans later this spring.
The announcement is another signal of Disney’s continued support of hurricane relief that began within days after Hurricane Katrina with an initial $2.5 million donation to relief efforts. Of that amount, $1 million was given to the American Red Cross for immediate disaster relief efforts, $500,000 to the Points of Light Foundation – Volunteer Center National Network to assist with mobilizing volunteers to the Gulf Coast and $1 million set aside for rebuild efforts for children’s charities which now has been donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs to help rebuild the 16 Clubs in the Gulf that were destroyed. An additional $500,000 (in partnership with Good Morning America) was given to the Pass Christian, Mississippi Boys & Girls Club in April of last year bringing Disney’s financial support of the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf to more than $3 million.
In September of last year, ESPN’s Monday Night Football game between The New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons marked the re-opening of the Louisiana Superdome. In support of the community, Team ESPN made a donation to the NFL Youth Education Town (YET) in New Orleans, which serves as an educational and recreational center aimed at positively impacting youth in at-risk neighborhoods, and the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD). ESPN and ABC joined the National Football League in staging a Hurricane Relief Telethon which generated pledges of $5 million in just 6-1/2 hours as part of the NFL’s Hurricane Relief Weekend.
Disney has sent characters, VoluntEARS and care packages to multiple shelters throughout the region to help entertain the children and families displaced by the hurricane and donated 100,000 books to First Book to help replenish the supplies of books in schools and literacy organizations, and thousands of educational DVDs to schools and Head Start programs. Additionally, Disney VoluntEARS built a house through the Habitat for Humanity Operation Home Delivery program that was shipped to the Gulf and given to a family whose home had been destroyed. ABC participated with other networks in the primetime special “Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast,” to help raise $30,000,000 toward hurricane relief efforts.
Last year, Disney’s Touchstone Pictures released two films (The Guardian and Deja vu) that were both shot on location in New Orleans and the surrounding area and production recently wrapped on Disney Channel short-form programming starring the New Orleans-based music group Imagination Movers.