Disney VoluntEARS Earn More Than $1 Million for Hundreds of Local Nonprofits

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug 1, 2014 – Disney VoluntEARS spend countless hours on community initiatives such as mentoring students, organizing donations at local food banks and advancing adult literacy. In recognition of their service, Walt Disney World Resort is giving more than $1 million to Central Florida nonprofits through the company’s EARS to You grants.

The grants are now being distributed to more than 500 local nonprofits and community groups chosen by Disney VoluntEARS. Top EARS to You grant recipients include Give Kids the World, the Pet Alliance of Central Florida (formerly known as SPCA of Central Florida), A Gift for Teaching and Central Florida Community Arts.

“By opening their hearts and devoting their time to local community groups, Disney VoluntEARS make Central Florida an even better place to call home,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney World Resort. “We’re proud of our Cast Members’ service and humbled by their dedication to our community.”

This year, The Walt Disney Company awarded more than 1,500 EARS to You grants to local nonprofits in honor of the 308,000 hours of community service donated by Cast Members in 2013. VoluntEARs who provide at least 10 hours of service are eligible to apply for EARS to You grants, which are financial contributions of up to $1,000 to the nonprofit organization of their choice.

In addition to these financial contributions, Disney celebrated more than 800 Cast Members who earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which salutes Americans who donate more than 100 hours of annual community service. VoluntEARS who have earned this designation were recognized by the White House with a commemorative pin and congratulatory letter from the president.

Through the Disney VoluntEARS program, The Walt Disney Company provides opportunities for Cast Members to give their time and expertise toward positively impacting their communities. Their volunteer work ranges from donating millions of school supplies to local students to serving more than 9,000 meals to the homeless in 2013.

As a company with nearly 70,000 Disney Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to investing in its local community. In 2013, the company donated $36.5 million in cash and in-kind support to local nonprofit organizations. Disney is focused on improving the quality of life in Central Florida, with a special interest in helping children and families.