Today, at ESSENCE Festival of Culture™, The Walt Disney Company announced the creation of the Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard University, which will create opportunities for historically underrepresented students to have future careers as storytellers and innovators in media and entertainment.

The Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard University will provide stipends over a five-year period for student projects focused on storytelling across a variety of media, including: animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design, virtual reality, and more. Disney will also provide access to speakers, mentors, and internships to students in the program to spark interest in these fields and to help them build the skills necessary for a future career in entertainment.

“Across Disney’s brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” said Jennifer Cohen, executive vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company. “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.”

“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,” said Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. “The Disney Storytellers Fund is a great support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines.”

In addition to the Disney Storytellers Fund, Disney will fund the development of a creative collaborative space that will be housed inside the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University.

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.