We are giving one percent of our gross sales to a charity that is near and dear to our hearts. Our founder, Matthew Safranek, first experienced Walt Disney World in 1987, when his Grandmother took him, his brothers, and cousins there. Unbeknownst to any them, his grandmother was slowly losing the battle to leukemia and they would lose her later that year. Matthew remembers those times fondly as it would be one of the last times that he would see his grandmother smiling.
Matthew continues to visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland to this day. It is a major connection with his grandmother, and amazingly as it might seem to some, it allows him to turn off his cynicism and world weariness for a moment.
Over the years he has run many half-marathons, a full marathon, and biked the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic for many charities, including the Massachusetts General Cancer Center, Wounded Warrior Project, and Kellsie's Hope Foundation; and with the creation of his business he wanted to make sure that he was giving back in a meaningful way.
Give Kids The World Village was started in 1986 by Henri Landwirth who had been hosting children with life-threatening illnesses at his hotel in Orlando. The impetus of creating the charity was the loss of one of the children, Amy, to leukemia before all arrangements could be made to fly her down to visit Walt Disney World. He wanted to make sure that no child would be failed again.
The cost-free 84-acre resort is home to 168 villa accommodations, restaurants, and enough distractions to keep a child and their family smiling even without Disney, Universal, and Seaworld in their backyard. They have the ability to host a family with 24 hours notice after confirmation from a licensed doctor, and work closely with Wish Granting Organizations around the world. To date, they have hosted over 158,000 families from all 50 states and 76 countries.
Give Kids The World Village has consistenly earned Charity Navigator's four star rating and maintains an administrative rate of 8.1%. Founder Henri Landwirth spent five years in concentration camps during the holocaust and wanted to make sure that children suffering today could find some peace.
The thing that probably clenched Matthew's love for the charity is that the ice cream parlor opens at 7:30 AM, so that if the child wants ice cream for breakfast, they should get it.
They have around 1,600 volunteer shifts a week, many of which are filled by adults and teenagers on vacation in Orlando, and if you find yourself in the area, you can volunteer, as well.