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Kids Vote to Decide How Disney Donates $1 Million

Finally, somebody somewhere truly believes that young people can make a difference in the world. I’ve believed that for years. Sure, there are stories of young people inspiring change in their communities. But how often do you hear about companies that spend valuable time and money to create and maintain philanthropic programs that spotlight children? Not too often.

Well, with the May launch of its new program “Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green,” Disney is saying that they too believe kids can make a difference. With television and radio public service announcements filmed by Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers and dozens of other Disney stars, the company is spending the next year inviting kids everywhere to pledge to make a difference to save the planet.

Saving the planet is something that Disney seems to really want to do. With its recent Earth Day release of its nature movie, “Earth,” Disney kicked off its effort to be stewards for the planet. During the movie’s opening week Disney pledged to plant a tree for every ticket sold to the movie. Once all tallies were in, and Disney enjoyed $16.1 million in ticket sales, it announced that translated to 2.7 million new trees being planted in Brazil’s endangered Atlantic rainforest. I like that.

Now, with “Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green,” Disney is encouraging its fans to also be stewards of the Earth. When kids go online to pledge to be a “friend for change,” they receive tips for how to preserve the planet across four main issues: climate, water, waste, and habitats. Each topic will be active for three months, during which time kids are asked to take a variety of pledges. The first topic, climate, is in process now, and includes: pledges for kids to make sure washing machines and dish washers are not run unless they are full; to carpool more often or take public transportation; and to unplug cell phone and game chargers when not needed.

At the end of each three-month project, Disney will invite all “friends” who have pledged to vote on how the company’s $1 million donation will be spent ($250,000 for each issue.)

This is obviously a brilliant marketing tactic for Disney since the entire company and all its products cater to young people. But, as I’ve discussed before, cause-related marketing is a very good thing. All that matters is that important programs are getting the donations and the awareness they need. And I happen to love the fact that kids have the chance to get involved and to feel like people out there truly believe that they can make a difference.

If the Earth gets a little plug, I don’t mind that Disney gets one too. Do you?

Disney's Friend for Change: Project Green
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