Los Angeles, October 12, 2008—The Walt Disney Company announced a grant of $1.5 million to TreePeople, a non-profit organization, to help reforest fire-ravaged areas in the mountains surrounding greater Los Angeles. Under TreePeople’s California Wildfire Restoration Initiative, of which Disney is the biggest financial supporter, thousands of volunteers will plant an estimated 60,000 new trees over the next three years.
“It’s a great way for Disney to give back to the community that we have called home for the last 85 years,” said Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger, who added the gift “is right in line with Disney’s own environmental policies, which seek to maintain sustainable strategies for minimizing our impact and encouraging and activating others to be environmentally responsible.”
“Because of the foresight and generosity of Disney, we are going to be able to send thousands of people, including students, up to the mountains to restore the burned areas,” said Andy Lipkis, TreePeople founder and president. “Just as these forests have been sending rivers of clean water to the city for all these years, the city can now be sending a river of human hands and caring back to them.”
Disney announced its gift at TreePeople’s 21st annual “An Evening under the Harvest Moon” last Saturday. The event honored Disney’s previous work to plant and care for trees and to educate kids about the urban environment and stewardship of natural resources. Earlier this year, Disney, with a $250,000 grant and the support of its VoluntEARS launched with TreePeople an initiative to green Los Angeles school campuses parks and other spaces where children gather in support of the city’s Million Trees LA initiative.
One of the world’s main media and entertainment companies, Disney has been involved in environmental causes for over 60 years when Walt Disney himself began making award-winning nature documentaries. For the last twenty years, Disney’s Environmental Affairs team has worked to establish and sustain a positive environmental legacy for Disney and for future generations through a wide variety of programs and policies.
Started by teenagers in the 1970s, TreePeople has planted more than two million trees in the LA area with the help of hardworking volunteers. As acknowledged leaders in the U.S. Citizen Forestry movement, TreePeople supports residents, students, government agencies, business and neighborhoods by providing the tools to take environmental action in their communities. TreePeople’s recent project to help restore the fire-damaged mountains of Southern California is its most ambitious yet.