Central Florida’s Children “Shine On” with $1.2 Million from Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 13, 2011 – In honor of its 40th anniversary, Walt Disney World Resort today kicked off a 40-day “Shine On” celebration across Central Florida to surprise, recognize and reward nonprofit groups, school districts and organizations that improve the lives of local children.

Between now and May 22, Disney will give more than $1.2 million in Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. Additionally, prize patrols will recognize 15 students in the five-county area as Disney Dreamers and Doers Shining Stars for their outstanding character. 
 
“Walt Disney World Resort supports programs that make a long-term positive impact on children in our community,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We are excited to begin this 40-day season of giving, during which we will distribute $1.2 million to local organizations that share our commitment to Central Florida’s children.”

Disney launched the effort this morning by awarding gifts totaling $290,000 to school districts and early learning coalitions in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties during a community networking breakfast at the Orlando Museum of Art.

“From the earliest steps toward kindergarten to high school graduation, our schools and our teachers have a profound effect on the leaders of tomorrow,” said Crofton, as she addressed an audience of community leaders and recognized Central Florida educators. “Great schools provide children the spark they need to go on to do great things. Disney applauds our local public schools for all the work they do to prepare our community’s children for the future.”

Disney Helping Kids Shine grant recipients demonstrate alignment with Disney’s goal of improving children’s lives by focusing on one or more of the following areas: connecting with adults, character development, constructive use of free time and compassion.

New Community Report Details Ongoing Contributions to Central Florida

Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants is just one of many ways that Walt Disney World Resort shares its magic within and beyond its borders. The newly released 2010 Community Report showcases Disney’s ongoing and active involvement in Central Florida.

As the largest single private employment site in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort and its more than 62,000 cast members play a vital role in Central Florida. The 2010 Community Report outlines Disney’s approach to corporate citizenship with a focus on accomplishments related to the environment, workplace and community, with a special emphasis on the well-being of children.

In 2010, Walt Disney World Resort focused on improving the lives of children through $28 million in cash and in-kind support, 228,000 hours from Disney VoluntEARS and collaboration with community leaders.

Examples of Disney’s charitable giving in Central Florida include:

  • Investing in children’s basic needs, such as quality healthcare and food and shelter for families in need. Walt Disney World works closely with local children’s hospitals, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank to provide necessities for a quality childhood. Disney cast members gave $3.35 million during the Heart of Florida United Way campaign to assist social service agencies in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
  • Providing support for organizations that help children develop and strengthen character so they can make positive contributions to society.  The 2010 Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants improved the lives of more than 10,000 local children by awarding $1.2 million to fund programs through 57 charities. Top Disney grant recipients include Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida and A Gift For Music, of which Disney is proud to be a founding sponsor.
  • Building strong foundations from preschool through high school through support of education. Cast members donated more than 2 million school supplies through an annual back-to-school supply drive, ensuring thousands of local students were able to start the school year with the essentials. Additionally, more than 400 students were selected as Disney Dreamers and Doers, which recognizes exceptional youth who make a difference in Central Florida. Cast members donated more than 2 million school supplies through an annual back-to-school supply drive, ensuring thousands of local students were able to start the school year with the essentials. Additionally, more than 400 students were selected as Disney Dreamers and Doers, which recognizes exceptional youth who make a difference in Central Florida.