Throughout the year, Walt Disney World Resort works with charities throughout Central Florida to build better futures for local children. One way we provide support is through our Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants, and now that the application due date has passed, submitted projects are being reviewed and assessed in preparation for grant announcements in May 2012. “Disney is always looking for ways to invest in community organizations that inspire and improve children’s lives,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort. ”We believe that through many strong organizations, children build a strong foundation so they may thrive as capable citizens with the confidence to reach their highest potential. The return on that investment is immeasurable.” The Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants application period typically opens each December with a deadline at the end of January, and grant distributions take place in May. Eligible nonprofit organizations in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Polk counties may apply. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$75,000. New this year, the program has revised guidelines to reflect a focus on children and families in three major areas: creativity and innovation; caring for ourselves, our community, our world; and caring neighbor. In May 2011, Walt Disney World Resort gave a total of $1.2 million in Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants to 62 nonprofits and school districts. Since 1972, Disney has honored local organizations that benefit children with cash awards totaling more than $12 million.