This year DisneyHand, the company’s corporate public service function, oversaw several major volunteer and aid initiatives throughout the world, ranging in scope from disaster relief to learning, compassion programs and environmental awareness. In total, The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries, including ABC, Inc., ESPN, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Consumer Products, The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Internet Group, provided more than $109 million in monetary contributions, in-kind support and public service airtime to a variety of causes and initiatives.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
A major focus in 2001 was contributing time, money and resources to help the nation heal after the tragic events of September 11. The Walt Disney Company made a $5 million corporate contribution to the DisneyHand: Survivor Relief Fund, while individual employee donations totaled more than $700,000. All of the donations were earmarked for assistance to the victims’ families and organizations to aid in the nation’s relief and rebuilding efforts. Also in September, Disney businesses and cast members based in the Los Angeles area teamed up with the Red Cross for events at Dodger Stadium and Edison International Field, home of the Anaheim Angels, which raised nearly $1.1 million. Assisting were on-air personalities and others from KABC-TV, KABC Radio, KLOS Radio, Disneyland Resort, ESPN Radio and Radio Disney.
Local radio and television stations affiliated with Disney collectively raised more than $3.5 million through promotions and on-air fund-raising drives, and Disney Auctions raised $60,000 for The September 11th Fund, which was established by United Way and The New York Community Trust.
An important part of that effort was Disney’s initiative with First Lady Laura Bush to reach children and families. Disney worked with Mrs. Bush to create public service announcements to help kids cope with their feelings and emotions about the September 11 attacks. The spots featuring Mrs. Bush aired frequently on ABC and its affiliated stations, as well as Radio Disney. They also launched Disney Channel’s “Express Yourself” campaign, which featured celebrities talking about communication, diversity and optimism.
Contributions also included non-cash donations and time. ESPN Zone, ABC, Inc., Disney Stores and Disney Publishing collectively donated tens of thousands of T-shirts to rescue workers in New York, and ESPN Zone restaurants in New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore provided nearly 3,000 meals to emergency workers.
In the aftermath of September 11, The Walt Disney Company committed its support to the U.S. troops at home and abroad. It has become a USO World Sponsor, supporting outreach and marketing efforts on behalf of the USO and its programs. Disney is providing more than $1 million in financial aid and in-kind support for the USO.
In December, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., and the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., announced a program that offers active U.S. military personnel complimentary admission to Disney theme parks, as well as ticket discounts for their family members and friends. Disney’s Armed Forces Salute, honoring American men and women fighting for freedom, is being offered Jan. 1 – April 30, 2002. Active U.S. military personnel, with proper U.S. military identification, are eligible, including active members of the United States Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists.
Aid this year from The Walt Disney Company extended beyond the September 11 tragedies. In June, the company marshaled its resources to help those affected by torrential floods in Houston. Radio Disney Houston coordinated all of the company’s efforts. Walt Disney World sent linens, sheets, blankets, towels and pillows to Houston. In addition, KTRK-TV, the ABC station in Houston, aired a two-hour town hall meeting and round-the-clock coverage to keep viewers informed. The station also produced public service announcements for the Houston Food Bank.
The Disney VoluntEARS are an integral part of the company’s efforts to help communities around the world. In operation since 1983, Disney VoluntEARS builds upon Walt Disney’s philosophy of applying the same enthusiasm in the area of community involvement as he did to motion picture, television and theme park development. In 2001, Disney VoluntEARS around the world participated in more than 1,000 projects and programs and contributed in excess of 350,000 community service hours, filling nearly 85,000 volunteer opportunities.
A primary focus this year for VoluntEARS was the Global Celebration of Children, during which Disney cast members committed to helping 100,000 children in need. During two weeks in October, Disney employees participated in more than 100 volunteer projects in dozens of countries, including Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela. Efforts included rehabilitation of children centers, charity walks, clothing drives, gardening and beautification projects at schools and care centers, building homes, silent auctions, reading sessions, and children’s parties and movie screenings.
The Walt Disney Company works with all major wish-giving organizations, including Make-A-Wish, Dreams Come True, A Special Wish, Starlight Foundation and Give Kids the World. The number-one wish of children with life-threatening illnesses is a trip to a Disney theme park, and Disney always fulfills every wish requested. This year, the company donated more than 7,000 trips to Disney theme parks, nearly 300 Disney Cruise packages and nearly 85,000 complimentary park tickets, which amounts to more than $4 million in tickets and in-kind support for compassion programs. In addition, the company provided shopping sprees at Disney Stores and movie screenings around the country.
Also this year, Disney’s Imagineers donated their time and creativity to help a cause close to home – Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Imagineers designed the lobby at the hospital, which celebrates the spirit of children, adolescents and families.
Disney’s commitment to learning includes philanthropic support, resources and professional development to educators nationwide to foster creative classrooms and enable teachers to develop and implement innovative, engaging approaches to learning. Disney’s programs are highlighted by a commitment to teachers. The marquee event is Disney’s American Teacher Awards, which honors creativity in teach-ing and annually salutes 35 gifted teachers who work their magic in their classrooms. Launched in 1992, Disney’s American Teacher Awards has honored more than 400 teachers to date and touched more than 5,000 teachers with professional development assistance. This year, students, parents, educators and community members from across the U.S. nominated 111,000 teachers, representing all regions of the country. In 2001, Disney provided nearly $3 million to teachers and schools around the country.
Each year, The Walt Disney Company Foundation College Scholarship program awards scholarships to children of Disney employees. The goal of this program is to help many children achieve their educational and career goals, and to set their sights high in both school and career. This year, The Walt Disney Company Foundation awarded 26 scholar-ships, including eight full scholarships.
The Walt Disney Company continues to spearhead Jiminy Cricket’s Environmentality Challenge, a joint effort among Disney, state environmental agencies and the Departments of Education in California and Florida. The program encourages fifth-grade students to think and act “environmentally.” They identify a problem in their community and create and implement a solution to improve the environment. Outstanding projects are recognized statewide and the grand-prize winning class from each state is rewarded with a trip to a Disney theme park. This year, the Park View Center School in Simi Valley, Calif., and the Horizon Elementary School in Sunrise, Fla., won grand prizes. Next year, DisneyHand will launch several learning initiatives, including extensive outreach in February for Black History Month. Hyperion for Children has published Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The children’s book combines vivid illustrations with a compelling narrative to tell the story of Dr.King’s life.
An annual event especially for children is the DisneyHand Holiday Toy Drive. To make the season a little brighter for those in need, DisneyHand gives thousands of toys to non-profit organizations around the world to be distributed at their holiday parties. All Disney companies participate, and viewers, listeners and guests are encouraged to make toy donations.
For more information about these and other initiatives, please log onto the DisneyHand Web site at www.disney.com/disneyhand.