Walt Disney World Resort seeks to strengthen the Central Florida community, with a focus on children, through our special brand of magic. To do this, we make financial and in-kind investments and build relationships around four major areas.
Supporting Our Focus on Children: Youth-Based Initiatives
There are several ways in which we assist groups that support children:
· Currently our company is most focused on Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, A Gift For Teaching, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida, and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. These four nonprofit organizations emerged based upon the specific issues our community has, such as crime, hunger and transience. They provide constructive uses of free time, connect young people with adults and help them develop their character, or provide services to children who have the most basic needs like food and shelter.
· We support children through literacy programs and early learning across the five-county region, with funding presented to their school foundations which is dispersed in small grants to various schools. The early learning coalitions in the five-county region, which focus on pre-school literacy, receive financial contributions as well.
· We also support children in their time of need, with such issues as safety, hunger or medical conditions.
For any other groups in our five-county area who are strengthening and building children, we have an annual, competitive application-based grant opportunity with a total $500,000 available (learn more about these grant recipients by clicking on the “Shine On” Charity Prize Patrol links!).
Social Services and Compassion
We support others during their time of need or most vulnerable moments, including assistance following natural disasters or during economic hardship. Some examples are:
• Serving the homeless – Walt Disney World Resort assists children and their families through significant contributions to the Coalition for the Homeless. Additionally, Disney chefs prepare meals at the shelter twice every month
• Disaster relief – support for American Red Cross and Salvation Army during hurricane recovery
• Social services – our Cast Members’ generosity plays a major role in making Walt Disney World Resort the largest contributor to the Heart of Florida United Way.
A Commitment to the Arts
The public naturally associates our company with Walt Disney’s earliest days of supporting art and storytelling.
As an entertainment organization we carry on that tradition by supporting the local arts community. We believe “the arts are for everyone” and especially want to find a way to engage children. Our involvement includes:
• Contributing to opportunities where young people can develop their character and build relationships with adults; for example, Orlando Repertory Theatre’s summer camps which culminate in a summer stock production, and educational exhibits at Polk County’s Explorations V Children’s Museum and the Orlando Museum of Art.
• Supporting Central Florida’s cornerstone organizations such as Orlando Ballet and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, while nurturing grassroots and diverse visual or performing arts groups.
• Contributing to United Arts of Central Florida, a collaborative organization that works to enhance the quality and variety of cultural experiences available in our region, including support of children’s opportunities to view orchestral and dance performances multiple times during their elementary and middle school years.
Investing in Local Infrastructure
Walt Disney World is invested in making Central Florida a world class region in which to live, work and play. Examples of these community relationships are:
• Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – demonstrating a commitment to making downtown Orlando a cultural hub, in 2007 Disney announced a $12.5 million contribution to the performing arts center. The donation will sponsor one of two major performance halls within the center, which is scheduled to open in phases beginning in 2013.
• Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children – our company pledged $10 million of cash and in-kind donations towards construction and renovation of the current children’s hospital, which now features a new Disney-themed lobby to provide a soothing atmosphere for young patients.
• Colleges and universities – from scholarships to programs in culinary science and hospitality, Walt Disney World Resort supports local institutions of higher learning including The University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Florida A&M University and Valencia Community College.