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Media giants pledge millions for relief

Disney, Vivendi, AOL TW and others open their pockets

As media execs express faith in U.S. markets and hope investors agree, corporate charity also is much in evidence.

The Walt Disney Co., Vivendi Universal, AOL Time Warner and other entertainment/media congloms have issued a host of multimillion-dollar pledges to disaster relief funds.

Disney said Tuesday it’s making a $5 million corporate donation to a DisneyHAND relief fund. Employees will make additional contributions, and conglom’s Edison Field baseball stadium in Anaheim, Calif., held events recently that raised another $780,710 in disaster relief contributions.

Color him grateful

“It is wonderful to see Americans showing the colors by raising flags in neighborhoods across the country,” Disney chairman-CEO Michael Eisner wrote in a letter to “fellow cast members.” “But it is equally wonderful to see how our countrymen are also showing the colors through their continuing generosity to the victims of last week’s disaster.”

Vivendi Universal will contribute $5 million to the September 11th Fund of the City of New York, which supports emergency assistance organizations including the American Red Cross, the firefighters and police emergency funds and the Salvation Army. Company, through its Vivendi Universal Foundation, also will match every employee contribution worldwide on a two-to-one basis.

AOL Time Warner is making a $5 million donation to be divided among six relief organizations: American Red Cross, September 11th Fund, Intl. Assn. of Fire Fighters, New York Fraternal Order of Police WTC Fund, the National Organization for Victim Assistance and the Twin Towers Fund. Conglom also is establishing a companywide fund that will match employee contributions to the same six orgs up to $1,000 per employee.

“In this time of pain and grief, our first obligation — as both individuals and together as a company — is to use our material, medical and spiritual resources to comfort and support those most hurt by last Tuesday’s horrific attacks,” AOL TW chief Jerry Levin told employees. “When it comes to assisting people beyond our own family, many, many of our AOL Time Warner colleagues have been doing a tremendous job helping alleviate suffering and rebuild hope.”

NBC parent General Electric has pledged $10 million to relief efforts, and software giant Microsoft will donate the same amount. Sony will give $4 million to disaster relief, while film giant Eastman Kodak and German media group Bertelsmann each earmarked $2 million in donations.

Viacom and its Blockbuster homevid unit each have made $1 million pledges, and Viacom plans to match employee contributions. News Corp. also has targeted a $1 million donation.

MGM will match employee donations to relief efforts by the American Red Cross. Artisan Entertainment also has agreed to match employee contributions to relief efforts.

Charitable efforts also have been announced by various smaller entertainment groups. Those include last week’s word of a $50,000 donation to disaster relief by the Screen Actors Guild and its SAG Foundation.

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