The Walt Disney Company has announced that it is creating the Disney Storytellers Fund at the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University to support creative student projects.
The Disney Storytellers Fund, to be launched in 2022-2023, will provide stipends from $25,000 up to $60,000 to individual students or groups of students, for projects focused on “storytelling” through a variety of media, including animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design, virtual reality and more. The intent of these experiences is to increase students’ marketability for future careers.
The experiences the Disney Storytellers Fund Scholars will have while working on their projects will enhance their artistic and digital skills and increase their marketability for their future careers.
“The mission of journalism has not changed nor has the creativity of filmmakers, but the platforms to tell stories have changed significantly. The Disney Storytellers Fund lets today’s journalists and filmmakers use contemporary tools to do what pioneers like Ida B. Wells and Oscar Micheaux have always done – tell the stories that inform the public,” said Gracie Lawson-Borders, dean of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications.
“Our students at the College of Fine Arts find their creative expression in many ways – in the performing arts, in animation, in the design of the products that we use in life. The Disney Storytellers Fund is a great support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines,” said Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
In its inaugural year, the program will be available to all student classes; after 2023, it will be targeted to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Each student or group of students will be assigned a Disney mentor and have 10 months to complete a project.
Disney will also work with Howard to identify opportunities for employees or creators to participate in class discussions or launch talks open to all Howard students on relevant topics. In further support of the Disney Storytellers Fund students, plans are in the works to create an advisory council to give them general career guidance.
“Across Disney’s brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories. The Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard will help us support students and the innovation and creativity that the university has cultivated for more than 150 years. We are excited to help the next generation of Black storytellers bring their ideas to life,” said Jennifer Cohen, executive vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company.
Through social investments and collaborations like these, Disney is increasing access to careers in storytelling and innovation for those who have been historically underrepresented. From arts and STEM programs for school-age children to scholarships, storytelling and technical skills-building programs for teens and young adults, Disney is helping today’s youth to pursue their dreams, build their talents and skills, and become who they imagine they can be.