Burbank, Calif., (July 8, 2002) – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has donated one million books to the First Book National Book Bank, which gives children from low-income families the chance to read and own their first new books.
The First Book donation, which is being provided by Disney Publishing Worldwide, is part of a company-wide effort to encourage families to read together. “We are committed to getting books into the hands of children and helping families share the joy of reading together,” said Deborah Dugan, President, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Reading and learning are not just our business, they are causes we truly believe in. As the largest children’s publisher in the world, we are thrilled to be working with First Book and hope that our million-book donation will help them reach children around the country.”
“Through The Walt Disney Company’s generosity, children from low-income families across the country will have the opportunity to own their first new books,” said Academy Award-Nominee Joan Allen (“The Contender,” “The Crucible,” “Nixon”), spokesperson for the First Book National Book Bank. “The feeling of having a book that’s yours to keep is an important part of learning to love reading, and Disney will make that feeling possible for so many more kids this summer.”
Joining the campaign is Julie Andrews, singer, actress and best-selling author of the “Little Bo” series as well as the “Dumpy The Dump Truck” series, co-written with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. As part of “Reading Together,” Andrews will appear in a series of public service announcements offering suggestions to parents on how to make reading a fun and engaging activity for the whole family. The messages will air beginning in July on ABC and Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel’s learning-based preschool programming block. “Reading Together” is a component of ABC Cable Network Group’s “Learning Together” campaign, designed to encourage family involvement in a child’s learning process.
First Book is a national non-profit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. The First Book National Book Bank is a subsidiary program of First Book. In neighborhoods across the country, First Book unites leaders from all sectors to provided books to children in literacy programs, housing project initiatives, after-school programs and other community-based efforts reaching children living below the poverty line. In 2001, First Book distributed approximately seven million books to children in more than 700 communities across the country. For more information about First Book, or to donate a book to a needy child online, please visit http://www.firstbook.org.
DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach program for The Walt Disney Company, is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through focused public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in areas such as learning, compassion, the arts and the environment. The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified, international family entertainment and media enterprise which includes Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Studios, ABC, Inc., ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Stores, television and radio stations and Internet web sites. For more information on Disney’s corporate public service efforts, please visit our Web site at www.disneyhand.com.