ORLANDO, Fla., May 14, 2007 – Walt Disney World Resort today unveiled plans for three significant financial donations to the Central Florida community led by a $12.5 million commitment to the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center (DPAC), it was announced by Meg Crofton, president, Walt Disney World Resort.
“Disney Cast Members take great pride in supporting our community and making Central Florida a better place to live, work and play,” said Crofton. “It’s exciting to be a part of the renaissance taking place in downtown Orlando and helping to make our community’s dreams come true.”
Through its contribution, Walt Disney World Resort will sponsor one of two halls at the performing arts center.
“Disney’s contribution toward the construction of DPAC demonstrates its commitment to making Central Florida a cultural hub for the residents of our community as well as a premier tourist destination,” said Dr. Rita Bornstein, a member of the executive committee of the DPAC board of directors.
During the event, hundreds of community leaders also helped to celebrate the $1 million renovation of the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. Additionally, the company awarded $700,000 in grants to 38 Central Florida non-profit organizations. Collectively, today’s contributions totaled $14.2 million.
In 1989, Walt Disney World Resort contributed $425,000 in cash and services to design and build the amphitheater, which has served as a site for musical and artistic community events. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the City of Orlando to renovate the facility and contributed more than $1 million to the project.
The Disney’s Helping Kids Shine Grant Awards were presented to organizations whose efforts are grounded in one or more of the four platforms identified by Walt Disney World Resort’s commitment to building better futures for children: connecting with adults, constructive use of free time, character development and compassion.
“It is a privilege for Walt Disney World Resort to support community organizations that demonstrate such a deep dedication to improving the lives of children in Central Florida,” said Eugene Campbell, the company’s director of Community Relations.
Two organizations received special awards named in honor of 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, Disney awarded a $60,000 grant in Allen’s name to the Kids House of Seminole, Inc. to provide additional therapy services to help young people develop self-worth, and to set and achieve their goals.
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 $52,500 award was presented to The BETA Center to enhance their therapeutic counseling services to help students plan for their future success.
Each year, Walt Disney World Resort mails grant applications to non-profit organizations throughout Central Florida. This year, the company received more than 130 applications. The grant recipients were chosen by a panel of judges made up of Central Florida community leaders and Walt Disney World Cast Members.
Walt Disney World Resort Community Relations
Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center. Disney Cast Members are committed to building a better community through sharing their time, talent and resources. In 2006, Walt Disney World Resort contributed more than $22 million to Central Florida non-profit organizations. In addition, Disney VoluntEARS gave more than 197,000 hours of their time in 2006 to community causes – the equivalent of $3 million in labor – and more than $3 million of their own money to the United Way. More than 150 Disney executives show their leadership in the community by serving on boards of non-profit agencies and trade associations.
Disney Worldwide Outreach
Disney brightens the lives of children in need around the world through global outreach programs, local community initiatives and the Disney VoluntEARS program. Last year, Disney donated more than $170 million in cash and in-kind support to various charities around the world. Disney VoluntEARS contributed more than 485,000 hours of service and the company drew upon its unique magic to make wishes come true for children and families. The Disney VoluntEARS program provides opportunities for Disney employees to contribute their time and expertise toward making a positive impact in the communities they serve while furthering the traditions and ideals of The Walt Disney Company. For more information on Disney’s outreach efforts, please visit www.disneyhand.com.