shuri in black panther

In Honor of Black Panther, Disney Donates $1 Million to Open STEM Centers for Young People

Just like Shuri would want.

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The Walt Disney Company announced that they will donate a one-time grant of $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), in order to help with their STEM programs for young people. BGCA will use the money to help establish 12 new STEM Centers of Innovation in Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; Oakland, California; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles, California.

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, released a statement to commemorate the donation: “Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is a masterpiece of movie making and has become an instant cultural phenomenon, sparking discussion, inspiring people young and old, and breaking down age-old industry myths. It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film, so it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in under-served areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”

“From hands-on interactive programs to critical thinking, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to providing thousands of young people with the tools they need to prepare for a great future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Thanks to Disney’s support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers.”

The STEM Centers provide young people with access to cutting-edge technologies like robotics, high-definition video production, and 3-D printers, and STEM experts on staff help children to develop their critical thinking and STEM skills with practice and real-world applications.

Obviously, $1 million is a drop in the bucket for a massive company like the Walt Disney Corporation. (Black Panther alone has brought in $700 million at the box office so far.) However, given the film’s final (non-credits) scene, this is still a really lovely gesture that helps to continue the film’s mission and message. As Letitia Wright, who plays Wakanda’s tech genius Princess Shuri, said, “It can spark the brain of another kid that loves technology and loves science … and encourage them to create the next gadget that’s going to help cure a disease.”

Or as T’Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman, tweeted about the donation: “You can never go wrong when you invest in kid’s futures.”

(via and LA Biz; image: Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios)

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