BILOXI, Miss. (April 05, 2006) – As part of an ongoing commitment to the rebuilding efforts in areas of the Gulf Coast hit hard by hurricanes last year, The Walt Disney Company Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs presented on behalf of Disney Worldwide Outreach a donation of $1.5 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America President Roxanne Spillett today on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” The funds donated by Disney will go towards rebuilding 16 Clubs in the Gulf Coast that were severely damaged.
Disney is a Centennial Sponsor of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a nationwide network of approximately 3,700 Clubs that help to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens by providing safe places to learn and grow.
To help celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week and the 100th Anniversary of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Staggs was joined by Mickey Mouse in presenting the donation and a celebratory birthday cake to Spillett and a group of local Boys & Girls Club members during a segment with “Good Morning America” Co-Anchor Robin Roberts in Biloxi, Miss.
“The tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to be an extraordinary challenge long after the daily front page headlines have subsided,” said Staggs. “On behalf of 133,000 cast members worldwide, Disney is proud to lend a hand with today’s donation to the Boys & Girls Club of America and recognizes the important community contributions the Clubs make when their doors are open.”
“This generous gift from Disney to rebuild Boys & Girls Clubs in the Gulf Coast destroyed by the hurricanes personifies the true spirit of this great company,” said Spillett. “For so many of these youngsters, the Boys & Girls Club is a safe haven and rebuilding the Clubs is integral to giving them a sense of hope and opportunity for the future.”
Of the $1.5 million, $500,000 will go to rebuilding the Pass Christian, Miss., Club that Roberts’ parents, Lucimarian and Larry Roberts, helped to found in 1999. Pass Christian, a town of approximately 6,500 residents, is located 13 miles west of Gulfport, Miss. “Good Morning America” has been documenting the recovery effort in Pass Christian, 80 percent of which was destroyed in the storm.
“In support of the re-launch of ABC’s A Better Community public affairs campaign encouraging volunteerism in local communities, $500,000 will go toward rebuilding the Pass Christian Boys & Girls Club. There is no better example of how to make a difference in the lives of others than the example set by ‘Good Morning America’ and Robin Roberts and the work that they have done alongside volunteers to rebuild Pass Christian,” said Staggs.
Said Roberts: “It’s a privilege to work for a company that is so community oriented. This generous donation will make a difference in the lives of many on my beloved Mississippi Gulf Coast. We join the tireless efforts of many in bringing joy and happiness back to the coast.”
While rebuilding is the focus of Boys & Girls Clubs in the Gulf Coast, the process is still in its infancy due to the overwhelming need for financial support.
The Disney donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs brings the company’s support of the organization to $4.5 million over the past year, and its financial support of the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf to $3 million. However, Disney businesses have raised millions more dollars for relief efforts through telethons, fundraisers and other initiatives.
To learn more about the Boys & Girls Club in Pass Christian or other Clubs in the Gulf Coast, please visit http://www.bgcgulfcoast.org/. For more information on Boys & Girls Clubs of America, please visit http://www.bgca.org.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America comprises a national network of some 3,700 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving more than 4.4 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” Clubs provide guidance-oriented programs on a daily basis for children 6 – 18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key programs emphasize character and leadership development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life skills, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About 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 $190 million in cash and in-kind support to worthy charities around the world. Disney VoluntEARS contributed more than 442,000 hours of service and the company drew upon its unique magic to make wishes come true for children and families. For more information on Disney’s outreach efforts, please visit www.disneyhand.com.