LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 9, 2012 – Walt Disney World, through a corporate matching gift from The Walt Disney Company Foundation and a hefty donation from Cast Members, announced a $5.7 million contribution to Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) to the surprise of an audience of community leaders, volunteers and nonprofit organizations at a special ”All-Star” celebration on April 4 at the Amway Center.
The event, hosted by HFUW, recognized top donors to the 2011-2012 LIVE UNITED campaign and included participation from hundreds of employees representing 85 companies. Disney’s donation led the million dollar champions and helped HFUW exceed its fundraising goal as it netted an impressive $19,365,723 to help struggling Central Floridians.
“For more than 40 years, Walt Disney World’s presence has been a driving catalyst behind the vitality of the Central Florida region,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, President and CEO of HFUW. “From the outside, one might think that was more than enough. But to also step forward with an incredible contribution of $5.7 million representing individual giving and a corporate match, truly makes a powerful statement about Disney’s values and its commitment to the communities where its Cast Members live and work.”
Randy Garfield, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales & Travel Operations for Disney Destinations and president of Walt Disney Travel Company and Heart of Florida United Way board member, took center court to share the great news about Disney’s gift. It was the first time United Way staffers, volunteers and community leaders heard the final campaign totals.
“As the largest employer in Central Florida, we are proud to lead the way in supporting the Heart of Florida United Way,” said Garfield. “Disney shares United Way’s commitment to providing help and hope to our Central Florida friends and neighbors in need and we know these contributions will make a difference in the lives of many.”
Walt Disney World’s contribution helped the United Way surpass its campaign goal of $17.75 million by 9.1 percent. It also topped the 2010-2011 campaign sum of $17.4 million. By virtue of its tremendous outpouring of support from Cast Members, Walt Disney World also earned the United Way’s Chairman’s Award distinction, which celebrates the campaign’s top-performing donor organization.
To celebrate Cast Member’s charitable giving this year, The Walt Disney Company Foundation matched all eligible Cast Member contributions.
The Heart of Florida United Way is the largest supporter of health and human service agencies in Central Florida. The agencies serve residents of Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. Nearly 100 local health and human service programs are operated, administered and promoted through United Way.
Last year, Cast Members donated more than $3.3 million to HFUW, making the Walt Disney World Resort its top giving organization in Central Florida. United Way strives to improve lives by improving education, helping people achieve financial stability and promoting healthy living.