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Monday was a big day in Central Florida when representatives of 102 local community focused groups took center stage at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Walt Disney World awarded more than $4.5 million in Disney Grants. These gifts will enable the organizations to play an even stronger supporting role for more than 250,000 Central Florida children and their families.

Through the support provided by Disney’s signature giving program, the grants will help local organizations build children’s character, encourage creativity and promote economic development throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. This year’s grant recipients offer an array of programs, including learning and reading camps, arts enrichment and furniture and clothes for families in need.

“Disney Grant recipients work tirelessly to build a better future for Central Florida and share Disney’s values of investing in children and families,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World. “For more than 43 years, we’ve joined with other local organizations to strengthen our community because we believe we’re better together.”

For over 16 years the Disneyland Resort has been helping local teachers offer improved arts education through a series of grants. A new version of that grand program debuted this year and the Disneyland Resort is now accepting applications from kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in all Orange County school districts for enhanced Disneyland CREATE (Creative Resources Enabling Arts through Education) Grants.

Formerly known as Disneyland Resort Enabling Grants, the CREATE program provides classroom teachers with needed funds for projects, programs and materials that directly support student involvement in the visual and performing arts.