Donate to Give Kids the World!
Over the years, some readers who have found the blog helpful have asked if we have any ways they can donate or give back to the site. Up until now, we have not. Given this blog’s emphasis on money-saving tips for Disney vacations, it seems sort of ‘off-message’ to ask for your money in return.
However, one thing that is ‘on-message’ no matter who you are is giving back to worthy charitable organizations. That is why we’re proud to share a way that you can help us to give back: by donating to Give Kids the World Village, a nonprofit that provides families of children with life-threatening illnesses cost-free accommodations during their visit Walt Disney World and Central Florida.
Being fans, I think we all can agree that Walt Disney World vacations are happy, memorable experiences that leave us with lasting memories and make a huge impact on us. The impact and meaning of that experience is definitely greater for some people than others, though…
For families of children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, who have had to rise to the challenge of a grueling schedule of doctor appointments, painful treatments, and escalating medical expenses, having a chance to visit “the Most Magical Place on Earth” is an opportunity for a temporary reprieve from that immense stress and worrying.
A big part of this special experience is certainly Give Kids the World Village. This is a place where magic happens, in every sense of the term. When a family arrives at Give Kids the World Village for their once-in-a-lifetime trip, the team there moves mountains to ensure that each family has an amazing experience. It’s a place where “no” is not in the vocabulary.
You can read the full story of what Give Kids the World is, its history, and what it offers on the GKTW website. In a nutshell, Give Kids the World Village is the place where families stay when they have been given a trip to Central Florida by wish-granting organizations (e.g., Make-A-Wish).
Calling Give Kids the World a “place to stay” is actually a colossal understatement. Give Kids the World Village provides families a 79-acre resort with 168 villa accommodations, unique entertainment attractions, venues, and fun activities for children of all abilities. It’s not “just” a resort or play to stay while these families visit Walt Disney World, Universal, etc., it’s more like an extension of the magic of the theme parks, a place where the families can continue to have a memorable trip when they are not in the parks.
Give Kids the World is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (meaning your donation is tax-deductible) with a perfect 100 score on Charity Navigator. Less than 1.8% of their revenue is spent on administrative expenses, which is an exceptionally low amount. (It should also go without saying, but we are not receiving anything for this ‘endorsement’ of Give Kids the World, and your donation is made directly to GKTW.)
I had first heard of Give Kids the World Village a few years ago when doing a 12-hour live show for Be Our Guest Podcast to benefit GKTW. We had heard about it more over the years, talking to friends who volunteer there, and all of them gushing about just how special of a place it is. So, this week Sarah and I decided to check it out for ourselves, spending some time at Give Kids the World, meeting with the team there to discuss how we could help, and touring the village.
To call Give Kids the World Village a magical place would honestly be an understatement. We were both incredibly moved by the visit. From the enthusiasm of the families staying at Give Kids the World to the passion of the volunteers and staff, there was a palpable energy to the place–like I said, magic.
Moreover, when I say they’ve eliminated “no” from their lexicon, I really mean it. The team shared a few stories with us while we were there, and it was incredible. Their philosophy is that these families face enough trials and tribulations during the grueling treatment periods, and are constantly reminded of limitations–so removing all of those for these families while at Give Kids the World is a top priority.
One of the things on our tour that resonated with me the most was Ice Cream Palace, which opens at 7:30 a.m. each morning (before any other spot at GKTW!) so kids can have ice cream for breakfast. If you know me, I think you know I’m a big advocate of ice cream, and hearing about the enthusiasm kids have for being able to enjoy ice cream for breakfast was awesome.
I was even more excited when the Give Kids the World team shared that one of their big fundraising initiatives right now is for a makeover to Ice Cream Palace, which will transform it into “Henri’s Starlite Scoops” featuring a retro space theme, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering as a tribute to the founder of Give Kids the World, Henri Landwirth. Here’s the concept art they shared with me for the new ice cream spot:
Speaking of Imagineering, they and numerous other departments at Disney offer support to Give Kids the World, in the form of volunteer teams, financial assistance, resources to help improve facilities, and even weekly Disney character appearances. Executives from Disney even sit on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board of Give Kids the World. Suffice to say, Walt Disney World and Give Kids the World work very closely with one another.
Also along the Disney lines is the founder of Give Kids the World, Henri Landwirth, a holocaust survivor with a surreal story of perseverance. What Henri has done since is nothing short of amazing, and in reading his story, I think you might find he reminds you of someone else who has made an impact on the lives of countless children the world over…
I could go on and on about Give Kids the World. From their touching Star Tower to the “Alternative Spring Break” volunteer program, there’s a ton that could be said.
Any amount can help make a difference to a child who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and we really hope you’ll consider making a contribution to Give Kids the World.
If you’ve gotten even a “churro’s worth” of enjoyment or information out of this blog, please make at least a $5 donation to Give Kids the World. It’ll make you happier than that churro would, and will make an infinitely more significant difference.
Alternatively, donating your time to Give Kids the World Village by volunteering is an excellent idea. By volunteering, you can help families create special memories that will last forever; the experience will also leave you with a feeling of being a part of something magical.
We intended this to be a concise ‘donation pitch’ but it’s already become long-winded, and I feel like I still haven’t covered all of the good that Give Kids the World is doing. Please read the Give Kids the World website if you have any additional questions. It’s a truly remarkable organization, and one that is deserving of your help.
So, if you like this blog and have found it has helped improve your vacations, please consider donating. If it hasn’t been particularly helpful, but has provided some amusement or been a nice time killer at work, please consider donating. Even if you’ve found the blog neither helpful nor amusing and you only “hate-read” it, but you want to help make a difference, please consider donating. Basically, please consider donating. 🙂
This is going to be an ongoing fundraiser effort, but to really get things started Sarah and I will match reader donations over Memorial Day Weekend (up to $500). That makes a $1,000 goal through Monday, and we are confident you all will help us come through and hit that target. Thank you for reading, and for your continued support of the blog!
Click here to make your donation to Give Kids the World directly on their secure site.
UPDATE: Within an hour of posting this, we’ve already exceeded our goal for the weekend. Wow…we are speechless. Thank you all so, so much–we’ve made our matching donation and are excited to see how much we can raise for Give Kids the World over the course of the rest of the weekend.
UPDATE 2: We reached out to our sponsors, and Be Our Guest Vacations has indicated that they will match the next $500. DVC Rental Store has pledged to match the $500 after that. DVC Resale Market will match the following $500. So, keep those donations coming! 🙂
~Sarah & Tom Bricker
So glad to read this post. Our granddaughter and her mom and dad stayed here for a Make a Wish trip to Disneyworld. This the best place! We will be there again in Oct. when her mom and dad renew their vows at the chapel in the village. Our granddaughter is thriving, by the way.
Thank you for this post and for shining a light on a great organization. I wanted to point out one other way Disney fans can help the Village. runDisney folks can participate as a member of the Run GKTW team during the WDW 10k or Half Marathon. Here’s the link with more details – http://support.gktw.org/site/TR?fr_id=1632&pg=entry. For some this could be the justification needed to take part in the event. Also, if anyone was shut out in registering for the 10k, this is a great way to still be able to run it.
Thank you both for bringing this organization to our attention. It feels good being able to help bring the joy of Disney to the guests of Give Kids The World Village!
Thanks so much for doing this! I work with special education students and one of my families went on a Make A Wish trip last year and when the kids came back what they talked about most was GKTW. It truly is a wonderful place doing magical things for kids and their families!
Donated! And filling out the volunteer application for my summer Disney trip! Thanks for all you guys do!
Just donated – thanks for all you do, Tom and Sarah!
I just made a small donation (was fun thinking I just bought someone an ice cream breakfast)!, and then went on their website. Nothing could have prepared me for the scope of that organization! I can not even begin to imagine the cost of building and then subsequently maintaining that facility as a nonprofit organization.
I have a question, do you know if they accept or need medical volunteers? I spent a great deal of time on their volunteer site and could not tell. I am an internist approaching retirement and am getting a little nervous about completely hanging up my shingle. I have been looking for something to do besides sitting on the couch all day, and when I saw this I thought wouldn’t it be magic to combine the thing I know medicine, with the thing I love, Disney?! But, honestly in a place like that I could see myself scooping ice cream or running the train too!
Thanks for brining this wonderful nonprofit to our attention.
I volunteer there frequently (800 hours last year!), for over six years now. They do not have any medical staff on property. But volunteering there is great – they need all sorts of roles filled – 1700 shifts per WEEK! There are many retirees who volunteer here, some just come during the winter months (snow bird). It is a great social network, and I love meeting the families and other volunteers from all around the world.
Done! I love that you are using the voice you have with your many fans to support this amazing organization, and I love that your readers are responding. I was already a big fan of yours, but now even more….I was really moved by your post.
On days I want to cry because I can’t be in WDW (first world problems) I read your blog to get a little immersion and enjoy the views with your great photos.
So first Thank You (!!!) for the great blog content that you put out tirelessly without asking for anything in return, and second for the reminder that some people need some serious magic in their lives and that there is something we can do to help.
Thank you for doing this post!! How did I not know about this? I will donate today.
I have a challenge to all of the readers of this blog:
– First, if you have a healthy child please donate.
– If you have ever saved any money by reading this blog please pay it forward and donate. (Most recently how many signed up for the Caribbean Beach Resort when Tom & Sarah posted Disney’s $75 gift card per night offer.)
– If you enjoy looking at the excellent photos on this blog please donate. (I don’t take a lot of pictures because I know I can always view them on this blog plus they are waaayyy better.)
– If you utilized one of the tips in this blog (and/or saved $$$) please donate.
– If none of the above apply, then please fill in the ____________ [a reason to donate] and please donate.
Donated as toms character stalker…good stuff
Thank you for sharing this great place with your readers. Happy to donate. Least I can do after all the great posts, photos and photography tips! Also, thanks for the trip reports. I doubt I’ll visit the Asia parks anytime soon, but I feel like I’ve been there in pictures.
So thankful to be in a position to donate to such a worthwhile cause. Thank you for sharing an insight into such a wonderful place for children and their families.
Thank you so much for this post! Our family was blessed to stay at Give Kids the World Village during our daughters Make A Wish trip. Your comment about that feeling of magic is absolutely on point! Quite honestly it would be very easy to spend the entire trip there and have an amazing time. And we totally had ice cream for breakfast (plus there’s the whole getting pizza or fresh baked cookies delivered to your cottage whenever you want)!
Such a great idea! Love this!
Done! Just wanted to add that I have many friends with kids who have been guests at GKTW (my son has a bunch of health issues). Every single one of them describes the experience as being absolutely incredible – thank you so much for highlighting this organization (and for everything you do on the WDW front!).
I had not heard of this organization before – thanks for bringing their work to the attention of Disney fans!
Thank you so much for doing this! GKTW Village is an amazing place and I’m so happy that you got the chance to visit their grounds! My husband is in the 501st Legion and troops there once a week. Its his favorite place to volunteer.
This is so great – I love your blog & think you guys are amazing – and the fact that you decied to do this really shows that.
I think the response to this also shows that. This is a wonderful cause that I was not aware of so I am glad to donate, but it is your post and request that got me there!
The total right now is so much more that you were looking for – on the first day that you posted this – that is a reflextion on you in additon to this wonderful place. Hope you know how much we all appriciate what you do!