LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., – Helping share the joy of the holiday season with Central Florida’s families in need, Walt Disney World Resort presented a surprise gift of $500,000 to the Homeless Impact Fund at the Central Florida Foundation. The Fund, which represents the largest commitment to housing for the homeless in Central Florida’s history, is designed to end chronic and family homelessness.
“We are touched and inspired by this incredible contribution from Walt Disney World Resort to help bring housing, comprehensive services and hope to those without a home this holiday season,” said Mark Brewer, president and CEO of the Central Florida Foundation. “With the support of community partners like Disney, we are moving ever closer to a viable, lasting solution to homelessness in Central Florida.”
The Fund tackles the daunting challenge of chronic and family homelessness through the collaboration of local governments, private foundations, corporations and individuals. Aimed specifically at family homelessness, Disney’s donation supports the Fund’s holistic approach to addressing the variety of factors homeless families face, including lack of stable housing, health concerns, food and clothing shortage and unemployment.
The donation is part of Disney’s ongoing commitment to supporting organizations that are actively helping to address homelessness in Central Florida and its underlying causes. This is another example of those efforts, which range from financial contributions and in-kind support to volunteer service. For example:
- Disney Grants annually support nonprofits that demonstrate the strongest alignment with Disney’s goal of improving children’s lives. Last year, more than $4.5 million was given to 102 local charities, including several which help homeless youth and families:
- Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida
- Clean the World
- Community Hope Center
- Covenant House
- Harbor House
- Helping Others Make the Effort
- Hope Helps
- New Beginnings of Central Florida
- Osceola County on Aging
- Rescue Outreach Mission of Sanford, Inc.
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
- The Salvation Army of Orlando
- Zebra Coalition
Additionally, Disney Grants provides funds to local school districts’ Families-In-Transition programs, which provide support to homeless students.
- Each year, Disney chefs and VoluntEARs assist the Coalition for the Homeless in serving more than 9,000 meals.
- Through Disney Harvest, a program that has helped serve the hungry for more than 20 years, more than 820,000 pounds of prepared, unserved food is donated annually from locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort to local feeding programs.
- Last year, Disney donated 132,000 items – valued at $358,000 – from its Lost and Found to thrift stores as part of a fundraising effort for 10 homeless programs across Central Florida.
- Several Disney executives serve on various boards focused on homelessness.
- Walt Disney World supports IDignity, an organization that helps the homeless overcome the difficulty of obtaining personal identification cards.
- Walt Disney World Resort is the largest corporate contributor to the Heart of Florida United Way, annually donating more than $3.6 million to help nonprofit agencies in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
The contribution was announced Sunday by George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, as part of a special performance of the Candlelight Processional at Epcot attended by community leaders.
“Every child needs a safe and stable environment in which to learn and grow,” said Kalogridis. “By coming together as a community in support of the Fund, we connect Central Florida families with resources that help their children thrive.”
As a company with 74,000 Disney Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to investing in its local community. In the past year, Walt Disney World Resort has donated $44 million in cash and in-kind support to local nonprofit organizations.