**FILE** Howard University, a historically Black institution, is located in northwest D.C. (Courtesy of Howard University)
**FILE** Howard University, a historically Black institution, is located in northwest D.C. (Courtesy of Howard University)

The Walt Disney Company says it will start a Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard University with the aim of creating opportunities for students to have potential careers as storytellers and innovators in media and entertainment.

The company announced Saturday at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans that the fund will give stipends over a five-year period for student projects that deal with storytelling in various media including animation, gaming, journalism, performing arts, and digital design.

The company will provide speakers, mentors and internships to students to facilitate their interest in storytelling.

“Across Disney brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” said Jennifer Cohen, the Walt Disney Company’s executive vice president of corporate social responsibility. “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.”

Renowned actress Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard, expressed excitement about the fund.

“Out students at the College of Fine Arts find their creative expression in many ways — in the performing arts, in animation, in the design of products that we use in life,” she said. “The Disney Storytellers Fund is a great support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines.”  

Additionally, Disney will finance the development of a creative collaborative space that will be co-located inside the Boseman College and the Cathy Hughes School of Communication.

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