Disney Friends For Change Takes The Initiative Worldwide

BURBANK, Calif., January 24, 2011 — Disney today announced the latest results of voting by kids on the Disney Friends for Change website. Disney Friends for Change is a multiplatform environmental initiative that helps kids help the planet. This round of voting is the first to include kids from around the world since Disney Friends for Change expanded into Latin America and Europe. 

The voting is part of an overall call to action for kids to make a difference in their local communities. Registered participants make personal promises to reduce their impact on the environment by changing their every day actions. They can also help allocate Disney’s $1 million commitment to fund environmental programs worldwide. Voting is continuous throughout the year. Kids have the opportunity to vote on five different projects per quarter. Each project is managed by leading environmental nonprofit organizations. The projects are centered on Disney Friends for Change‘s four focus areas — climate, habitat, waste and water. With nearly 2.5 million votes, Disney Friends for Change kids have helped direct almost $2 million dollars to 41 projects in 21 countries since the program was launched in May 2009. 

The award amount is contingent upon how many votes each project receives. This is the third round of award voting, and the first to include international votes. The results are as follows:

First Place, $100,000 award:

BirdLife InternationalSaving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands: The project contributes to the conservation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a unique and highly threatened migratory shorebird. The project raises awareness among local governments and communities about the importance of the species and of the inter-tidal wetlands that are vital for its survival. This is the third project funded by Disney Friends for Change program in China, totaling $175,000 of support from the program in the country. Other funded projects in China include work supported by The Nature Conservancy as well as Roots and Shoots, a program supervised by the Jane Goodall Institute.

Second Place, $50,000 award:

The Nature ConservancyProtecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest: The project trains local students to monitor local wildlife in an effort to protect the rainforest, home to such animals as grizzly bears and wolves. This is the first Disney Friends for Change program funded in Canada.

Third Place, $50,000:

Fauna and Flora InternationalIberian Lynx Habitat Conservation: Once considered common, the Iberian lynx is now the rarest of all the cat species. Less than 100 of the Iberian Lynx now live in the wild. The population crash is due to habitat loss in Spain and Portugal and declining numbers of rabbits, the Iberian Lynx’s main food source. Flora and Fauna has purchased land in an effort to increase the rabbit population. The project will also work with local communities and school children to raise awareness about the Iberian lynx. Fauna and Flora International has received $150,000 from Disney Friends for Change since its launch.

Fourth Place, $25,000:

ECOLIFE FoundationAquaponic Economics: Going Ape in Cameroon: The ECOLIFE Foundation, in collaboration with Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, will build a community-based aquaponics system, an eco-friendly tool for raising fish and vegetables. The aim is to educate local residents about critical overhunting issues that are threatening wild gorillas and apes. The aquaponics system yields fish for high-quality protein and enough vegetables to be a source of income for local residents. This is the second Disney Friends for Change grant awarded to ECOLIFE.

Fifth Place, $25,000:

Conservation InternationalRestoring Wetlands in Namaqualand: The project will work with local South African and Namibian communities to help conserve water by repairing damaged pumps and restoring natural ecosystems. Local volunteers will be trained to remove invasive species like poplar trees—which use up large amounts of ground water—and replace them with native vegetation. This award brings the total amount of support received by Conservation International from Disney Friends for Change to more than $50,000.

Since its launch in May 2009, Disney Friends for Change has already inspired more than 2.5 million kids to take more than 3 million actions to improve their environment in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe. Altogether, kids have pledged to save more than 1.5 billion gallons of water, recycle eight million pounds of trash and cut 52 million pounds of carbon emissions. 
For more about the programs Disney Friends for Change supports, visit www.disney.com/projectgreen.

About Disney Friends for Change: Project Green 
To date, Disney Friends for Change has distributed more than $2 million to environmental charities worldwide, via theDisney Friends for Change grants programs and Youth Service Awards. Through Disney Friends for Change, kids learn practical ways to help the environment, get their friends involved, track their collective impact on the environment and have the opportunity to help Disney decide how $1 million in contributions to various environmental causes will be made over the course of a year. Kids can join for free online at www.disney.com/projectgreen, where they’ll pledge to take simple everyday actions, such as turning off the lights and switching to reusable water bottles, and learn why these actions matter.