The Walt Disney Company has always made efforts to get involved with their local communities, from helping make dreams come true with Make-A-Wish to improving children’s hospital stays, to everything in between. Disney also continues to make concerted efforts to be better stewards through corporate social responsibility (CSR) methods.
As part of Disney’s CSR efforts, Disneyland Resort in particular is very involved in their local community, starting a funding initiative five years ago called the community workforce development initiative, which helps local nonprofits and schools to develop programs helping those entering the workforce.
A new Disney Parks Blog introduced the newest round of annual grant funding for this project, which is $1.5 million. This is the fifth year that Disney has supported their community in this specific way. Throughout this initiative over the last five years, Disneyland Resort has given $5.5 million in grants, helping more than 10,000 people.
These grants will fund programs like Avanza through Anaheim Family YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County & The Inland Empire, which help high school students prepare for the workforce after they graduate, practicing resume building and interview skills, as well as partnering with Disneyland Resort Cast Members who will be their mentors.
These grants also allowed for more collaboration with community partners, such as Orange County United Way, Chrysalis, Orangewood Foundation, and the Community College District of North Orange County.
One example of the several programs that have resulted from this funding is Anaheim’s Innovative Mentoring Experience (AIME). Since 2019, this program, supported by the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD), helps students to build relationships with community leaders, including some from the Disneyland Resort.
Through this initiative, students are not only able to gain technical and soft skills they can use after graduation, but they can also work with and look up to local industry leaders as they grow in their desired field. Disneyland Resort Cast Member volunteers, otherwise known as Disney voluntEARS, have been extremely supportive throughout this initiative, helping with projects like mentoring and leading workshops to assist people in successfully entering the workforce.
The Disney Parks Blog also highlighted the stories of two inspiring community leaders who took part in this initiative. One is Princeton Parker, who volunteered as part of the Speakers Bureau and was able to tell different groups about his journey in the workforce. Another example is Kim Sims, who has worked with Chrysalis clients to help them learn valuable skills, such as building a resume and preparing for interviews, as they look for jobs.
What do you think of Disneyland’s community funding initiative? What other community projects would you like to see Disney get involved in? Let us know in the comments!