Disney VoluntEARS Donate Nearly $370,000 to Local Charities

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From serving meals to the homeless to coaching Little League, Disney Cast Members dedicated 81,900 volunteer hours in the community during 2008. Disneyland Resort is celebrating and recognizing these efforts by donating $369,700 to local nonprofit organizations supported by Disney VoluntEARS.

“The Disneyland Resort has always been passionate about philanthropy, service, and engaging in causes that are important to the community,” said Ed Grier, president, Disneyland Resort. “This program is an outstanding reflection of that passion, and shows how the great work of individuals leads to incredible change.”

Ears to You Grants Provide Funding for Local Nonprofits
Through The Walt Disney Company’s Ears to You program, Disney VoluntEARS can earn financial contributions of up to $2,500 per Cast Member for the nonprofit organizations of their choice based on the number of volunteer hours they contribute. At the Disneyland Resort, more than 170 local organizations benefited from the 2008 grants.

“The EARS to You Program recognizes me for the volunteer work that I do in my community and enables me to provide a cash donation to a charity that is personally important to me,” said Dave Smith, a project manager at the Disneyland Resort. Smith designated his $1,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim and over the past five years has contributed more than $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs thanks to the Ears to You program.

The Walt Disney Company, through the Disney VoluntEARS program, provides opportunities worldwide 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 Disney VoluntEARS program by participating in a total of 500 charitable events aimed at assisting children, strengthening communities and preserving the environment. Top VoluntEAR standouts are being recognized in their workplace and from the White House as recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Exceptional Disney VoluntEARS Receive Honors
Disneyland Resort also recently announced the recipients of its VoluntEAR of the Year and VoluntEAR Team of the Year awards. Top individuals and teams of VoluntEARS are nominated annually by their peers. A prize patrol notifies the selected award recipients, who each receive a $2,500 cash donation for the nonprofit of their choice.

Receiving the highest honors for 2008:
VoluntEAR of the Year: Oscar Sanchez
Sanchez, a document control specialist in worldwide safety and accessibility, was nominated by his peers for his dedication to helping others. His efforts range from working with the Special Olympics and the Cub Scouts to helping coordinate care packages for the troops overseas. Sanchez’s $2,500 grant will benefit Cub Scout Pack 660 in Cypress.

VoluntEAR Team of the Year: Crafty Critters
For more than three years, the Crafty Critters have created items for those in need. The 68-member team from the Resort’s entertainment division knits, sews and crochets items including hats, scarves and blankets to donate to various organizations, including those that support the sick and homeless in Orange County.  With more than 18,473 community service hours and 10,000 items donated in 2008 alone, the Crafty Critters have turned a beloved hobby into an opportunity to give back. “Many members can be seen on their breaks and during lunchtime creating an article with joy and eagerness to help someone they will likely never meet,” said Cast Member Ginger Lundquist.  The Crafty Critters donated their $2,500 grant to MOMS Orange County, an organization dedicated to helping women and families have healthy babies.

Additionally, 160 Disney VoluntEARS at the Disneyland Resort who collectively contributed more than 54,000 hours of service during 2008 received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House. The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a recognition program for Americans of all ages who contribute a minimum of 100 hours annually to volunteer service. Award recipients received a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama, a lapel pin and a personalized certificate.