By continuing its strong ties to the entertainment industry, Howard University will host the new “Disney Storytellers Fund,” which will “create opportunities for historically underrepresented students to have future careers as storytellers and innovators in media and entertainment,” according to a joint release.
The new fund was announced Saturday at the Essence Festival of Culture in Burbank, California, where the Walt Disney Co† has headquarters.
Howard has existing ties to Netflix and Amazon, among others. Earlier this year, it appointed actress Phylicia Rashad as dean of the newly re-established College of Fine Arts. The university also renamed that college after Chadwick Boseman, who Howard attended before becoming an A-list actor who played iconic roles including Black Panther, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and James Brown.
The Disney Storytellers Fund on Howard University will provide stipends over five years for student projects focused on storytelling in animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design and virtual reality. Disney will also provide access to speakers, mentors and internships to students in the program to spark interest in these areas.
“Across all Disney brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” said Jennifer Cohen, EVP Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company. “The Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard will help us support students and the innovation and creativity the university has cultivated for over 150 years. We are excited to help the next generation of black storytellers bring their ideas to life.”
“Our students at the School of Fine Arts find their creative expression in many ways – in the performing arts, in animation, in the design of the products we use in life. The Disney Storytellers Fund is a tremendous support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines,” said rashadwho started her position on 1 July.
In addition to the Disney Storytellers Fund, Disney will fund the development of a creative collaborative space to be housed in the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and the Cathy Hughes School of Communication in Howard University†