Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Kathryn Harrington
For Immediate Release: Sept. 21, 2004
Secretarty Norton Announces the Walt Disney Co is Recipient of 2004 National Take Pride in America® Outstanding Charter Partner Award

WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today announced The Walt Disney Co. is the recipient of the 2004 National Take Pride in America Outstanding Charter Partner award at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C. Kym Murphy, senior vice president of Environmental Policy, and Karen Kawanami, manager of Disney Worldwide Outreach, accepted the award from Secretary Norton.

Presented annually, Take Pride in America's national awards recognize outstanding volunteer projects and efforts in a variety of categories. The outstanding charter partner award is presented each year to the organization whose support of Take Pride in America far exceeds expectations. Disney is receiving the award for the participation of Disney VoluntEARS who worked on projects important to Take Pride in America's mission, as well as for programming support and other contributions.

"Take Pride in America is a thriving reality because of the dedication and enthusiasm of supporters, like Disney," Norton said. "For cooperative conservation to really work, successful collaboration between public, private, federal, state and local groups is essential."

Disney has been a leader in volunteerism more than two decades. In 2003 alone, Disney VoluntEARS participated in more than 1,050 projects and programs and contributed in excess of 400,000 community service hours at sites around the world.

"It is a distinct honor to receive this distinguished award from Take Pride in America," Kawanami said. "DisneyHand believes in Take Pride in America's mission and supports them wholeheartedly - it means a great deal to have them recognize Disney as a company that goes above and beyond in helping to support awareness and public space for everyone to enjoy."

Disney also has a long and distinguished commitment to environmental stewardship dating back to Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures, a series of 13 nature films between 1948 and 1960 that won eight Academy Awards.

"Walt Disney would have been one of the first to embrace a program such as Take Pride in America. That fact alone makes this award extremely satisfying and appreciated throughout our company," Murphy said.

Over the past year, DisneyHand has supported Take Pride in America through:

  • Collaborating with Take Pride in America, the Points of Light Foundation, AmeriCorps and USA WEEKEND on Make a Difference Day, Oct. 18, 2003. The resulting volunteer cleanup included a visit from Mickey Mouse and a screening of Disney's Brother Bear for all volunteers;
  • Including Take Pride in America's outreach messages in 6,000,000 DVD/videos of Disney's Brother Bear;
  • Designing the "Show Your Character, How-to Guide for Young Volunteers" on the Take Pride Web site;
  • Arranging for a special holiday message from Secretary Norton to be broadcast on ABC Radio; and
  • Securing ABC talent to record public service announcements for Take Pride in America on two separate occasions.

Over the past year, Disney Environmental Policy has supported Take Pride in America through:

  • Securing the Jiminy Cricket Environmentality Challenge grand prize winners - a class of fifth-grade environmental heroes - to volunteer in painting picnic tables and clearing a nature trail at an April 2004 press event where Clint Eastwood was named the Take Pride in America spokesman;
  • Hosting a brainstorming session involving Department of Interior personnel and Walt Disney Imagineers; and
  • Inviting Secretary Norton and Executive Director Marti Allbright to join a special group of Wonderful Outdoor World kids on horseback in the Tournament of Roses Parade. A separate press event highlighted Take Pride in America and resulted in increased attention for the New Year's Pledge Drive, netting more than 400,000 volunteer hours for forest-fire restoration efforts in southern California.

"Since Take Pride in America's inception, Disney's support has been unwavering," said Marti Allbright, executive director of Take Pride in America. "When the Take Pride team calls our friends at Disney, they always get the job done while going the extra mile."

About DisneyHand
DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Co., is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in the areas of compassion, learning, the arts and the environment.

About Disney Environmental Policy
Disney's Environmentality is the attitude and commitment to support responsible environmental initiatives and the commitment begins with individual action. Corporate Environmental Policy is a division of The Walt Disney Company that promotes environmentality among internal and external audiences to balance environmental stewardship with our corporate goals and operations around the world.

About Take Pride in America
Take Pride in America is a national partnership that encourages, supports and recognizes volunteers who work to improve our public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds, and other recreation areas. With 100 Charter Partners, Take Pride involves federal, state and local governments; conservation, youth and recreation groups; and top national corporations and organizations. Together, we protect and enhance the special legacy all Americans share - our public lands that cover more than one in every three acres across the nation. For more information visit:





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