This regular feature focuses on philanthropic activities by Valley-area companies and businesspeople. The Walt Disney Company has donated $5 million to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, making it the largest donation ever made to the hospital by a corporate foundation. Burbank-based Disney has supported the hospital for many years and this latest gift is earmarked to fund the construction of a new hospital building. Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger recently presented the donation to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles President and CEO Richard D. Cordova. “All of us at Disney hope that this donation for the new inpatient building will help Childrens Hospital Los Angeles further enhance its already outstanding reputation for providing the best possible care to those in need,” said Iger. The new addition, scheduled for completion in 2009, will be a state-of-the art 460,000 square-foot medical and surgical facility. In addition to the care of the patients, the new wing will also create an environment where the children and their families can heal together. “With this generous contribution, Disney sets an excellent example for other corporations to give generously to their communities,” said Villaraigosa. Philanthropy Day The Association of Fundraising Professionals/Greater San Fernando Valley Chapter (AFP/GSFVC) recently held a celebration and awards luncheon to observe the 21st annual National Philanthropy Day. The purpose of the event is to recognize individuals, businesses and organizations that are active in the philanthropic community. Among the honorees at the luncheon were Sylvia and Holroyd Haywood for their dedication and support of Haven Hills in Canoga Park; Debbie Dullabaun for her volunteer work to Valley charities; Westlake Village-based Dole Food Company was recognized as outstanding corporate foundation; the Canoga Park Women’s Club was awarded for its service to the community; Aliana Greenberg, a student at New Community Jewish High School was honored as outstanding youth volunteer of the year; and outstanding fundraising professional of the year went to Barbara Barrett. “Simply they all worked together to improve the quality of life within the communities they serve,” said AFP/GSFVC Chapter President John Kelleher. The event was held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, with entertainer Bill Hayes serving as master of ceremonies and presenter. More than 100 community and business leaders attended the celebration. Children’s Benefit The Valley Wine Festival in Van Nuys was the recent site of a charitable event to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Blazers Youth Organization. Valley-based sponsors included event founder Barcelona Marketing & Design of Sherman Oaks; event host City Art of Van Nuys; Valley Beverage Company of Sherman Oaks; American Beauty Masters of West Hills; ABM Medical of West Hills; Namak Magazine of Encino; L.A. Public Notary of Sherman Oaks and Airtel Plaza Hotel of Van Nuys. Attendees were served beverage samplings from 30 wineries and five breweries in addition to food tastes from area restaurants and catering companies. Also included in the festivities were casino games and an art auction. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been granting wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses since 1980, giving children and their families joy and hope in the midst of crisis. The Blazers Youth Organization is a youth center giving inner-city children an alternative to the streets. It provides a safe environment and the tools they need when they may have no other place to turn. Universal Volunteers Five non-profit organizations were the recipients of the time, effort and energy of hundreds of Universal Studios employees who participated in its second annual “Day of Giving” earlier this month. The volunteers were split up into groups, left Universal City and ventured out to various non-profits throughout the community selected for the project. Students were fitted with uniforms at Saticoy Elementary School; working with Habitat for Humanity, low income families in South Central L.A. received help remodeling their homes; volunteers personally connected with individuals at Burbank Center for the Retarded through arts and crafts; food pantries were stocked at AIDS Project L.A. and another group worked on the grounds and planted flowers at a lower-income North Hollywood LAUSD campus. “There’s no better way to celebrate our core value of doing the right thing than by gathering our employees and demonstrating our commitment to improving the community,” said Larry Kurzweil, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood. “I’m proud of the level of passion our employees display in taking on philanthropic and community-based projects.” -Barbara Sheppard Countrywide Grant Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corporation has donated a $1 million grant to the charity Rebuilding Together and its Serving Those Who Serve program. The program’s purpose is to provide repairs and modifications to homes owned by severely-injured soldiers and veterans returning from their tours of duty. The grant is expected to fund at least 50 modifications to veterans’ homes. Among them will be the home of James Miner, a veteran of Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, who was severely injured in Iraq. Miner’s war-related injuries have significantly limited his mobility and the modifications will assist him and his family in improving accessibility and their standard of living. “Veterans and soldiers like Mr. Miner have sacrificed so much for our country and with our generous grant from Countrywide, we will be able to make this house and many more homes safer and more accessible for those injured during service abroad,” said Gary Officer, chief executive officer of Rebuilding Together. “Countrywide is proud to be the founding sponsor of Serving Those Who Serve as the newest facet of our 10 years of commitment to Rebuilding Together,” said Mary Jane Seebach, Countrywide’s managing director of public affairs.