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Disney VoluntEARS Raise $950,000 for Central Florida Non-Profits

As the areas largest employer Walt Disney World should be expected to contribute back to the community. In many ways the company and its employees go beyond the call of duty and 2008 was no exception. From serving meals to the homeless to coaching Little League, Disney VoluntEARS dedicated a record 204,000 hours in 2008 toward improving the lives of Central Floridians.

This month, Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating and recognizing these efforts by donating nearly $950,000 to local non-profit organizations supported by Disney VoluntEARS.

“The dedication of our Disney VoluntEARS is absolutely inspiring and is truly making a difference,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “I’m extremely proud that our Cast Members make Central Florida a better place for everyone. Their contributions are helping our community during a time when it’s needed most.”

The Walt Disney Company, through the Disney VoluntEARS program, provides opportunities for Cast Members to contribute their time and expertise toward positively impacting their communities. Last year, Disney Cast Members around the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the program.

EARS to You Grants Provide Funding for Local Non-Profits
By the end of June, The Walt Disney Company and its EARS to You program will recognize Disney VoluntEARS with $929,150 in grants to local non-profit organizations. The program provides financial contributions of up to $2,500 per Cast Member for the non-profit organization of their choice based on the number of volunteer hours they contributed in 2008. Top beneficiaries this year include hundreds of local youth enrichment programs (such as sports leagues, literacy organizations and Boys & Girls Clubs), pet rescue organizations and community theatre and arts groups. This year, The Walt Disney Company will donate more than $2 million worldwide through the EARS to You program.

Walt Disney World Resort also recently made a $10,000 charitable donation in honor of Disney VoluntEARS to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to the hungry through non-profit agencies in six counties.

Exceptional Disney VoluntEARS Receive Honors
Walt Disney World Resort annually recognizes its top VoluntEARS through its VoluntEAR of the Year and VoluntEARS Team of the Year awards, which include grants of up to $2,500 for the non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice. Receiving the highest honors for 2008:

VoluntEAR of the Year: Alais Salvador
Salvador, an administrative assistant in shared services, helped provide more than 2,500 meals for the hungry through the Coalition for the Homeless, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Bread for Life programs. She also created a new Relay for Life team, which raised more than $56,000 for the American Cancer Society. Her $2,500 grant will benefit the American Cancer Society.

VoluntEARS Team of the Year: Finance VoluntEAR Action Team
Posting more than 9,000 VoluntEAR hours in 2008, the dynamic Finance VoluntEAR Action Team participated in a wide range of activities, from donating cell phones to survivors of domestic violence to walking to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. They also spent time with children at the Walt Disney World- sponsored Boys and Girls Club in Pine Hills, which will receive the team’s $2,500 grant.

Judges Choice VoluntEAR of the Year: Robin Perez
Financial Analyst Robin Perez is an active Girl Scout troop leader who led her troop through a myriad of activities, including sending care packages to soldiers, collecting food and filling shoeboxes with needed items for the homeless. Her $1,000 grant will benefit Girl Scouts of Citrus Council.

Judges Choice VoluntEARS Team of the Year: Disney Worldwide Shared Services Working with 14 United Way agencies, the Disney Worldwide Shared Services Team raised more than $13,400 for Central Florida. Their $1,000 grant will benefit The American Cancer Society.

Additionally, 414 Disney VoluntEARS who contributed more than 100 hours of service during 2008 also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House. The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a presidential recognition program for Americans of all ages who volunteered a minimum of 100 hours during the year. Award recipients receive a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama, a lapel pin and a personalized certificate in the mail.

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