Disney Empowers the Next Generation of Diverse Storytellers and Innovators With $1 Million in Grants in Honor of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Diversity & Inclusion
November 10, 2022
In honor of the theatrical debut of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Disney hosted community screenings of the film across the country and announced $1 million in grants to nonprofits providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and arts education to young people from historically underrepresented communities. Recipient organizations include Girls Who Code, Ghetto Film School, The Hidden Genius Project, and DonorsChoose in the United States; Chicas en Tecnología in Argentina; and Destination Imagination in Asia Pacific. Through this support, Disney aims to empower youth to pursue careers in the arts, media, and technology.
“From its historic casting to advanced technology to culturally relevant storytelling, 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' is one of the greatest and most anticipated movies ever. When young people watch this film, we want them to walk away believing that their futures are boundless and being inspired to pursue their passions, grow their skills, and share their unique talents with the world."
Jennifer Cohen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company
Driving Access Through Community Screenings
In celebration of the transformational work of these organizations and as part of the Company’s efforts to inspire young people through increased access to impactful storytelling, Disney hosted advanced community screenings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in several cities around the United States for nonprofit collaborators serving the next generation of storytellers, innovators, and leaders.
Teens and young adults supported by these organizations attended exclusive screening events in Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, and Atlanta (with an additional screening in Orlando) that included a red carpet, photo opportunities, and a special video message from the cast. The Dora Milaje, the all-female special forces of Wakanda, even made a surprise appearance at the Los Angeles event.
Additionally, as part of its collaboration with Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Target hosted over 130 community screenings of the film for local nonprofits in 10 markets (along with screenings in Orlando and Miami) in collaboration with AMC Theatres.
In total, nearly 25,000 young people got to experience the film before its wide release.
Creating Opportunities for Future Storytellers
These efforts are part of Disney Future Storytellers, an initiative that empowers the next generation of diverse creators and innovators. Through educational programs, scholarships, mentoring, and technical skill-building, Disney is increasing access to careers in the media, entertainment, technology, and hospitality industries for teens and young adults from historically underrepresented communities, examples of which include:
- Serving as one of the lead sponsors of Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind education hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through this collaboration, Disney is working with HBCU faculty and industry leaders to create curricula that prepare students for careers in technology and entertainment.
- Launching the Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard University, which provides stipends over a five-year period for student projects focused on storytelling across a variety of media.
- Supporting ChickTech’s 2022-2023 High School Program, a year-long series of technology workshops, mentoring, and internship connections for 8th-12th grade students.