The Walt Disney Company is donating $1 million to a dozen Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including in Baltimore, amid the box office success of “Black Panther.”
Disney announced Monday it is making the donation in honor of the record-breaking film. The money will expand the Boys & Girls Club’s science, technology, engineering and math — commonly called STEM — programs.
The one-time grant will be used to further the organization’s existing STEM curriculum and establish new STEM-focused centers in 12 cities across the country. Philadelphia, Chicago and New Orleans join Baltimore on the list.
Some local teachers and activists — including NFL linebacker-turned-art teacher Aaron Maybin — have launched campaigns to help Baltimore students see the movie, which has a predominantly black cast.
Among the people who donated: Orioles player Adam Jones.
“Continue to strive for excellence,” Jones said in a video posted to Twitter, addressing city students. “You kings and queens are very powerful.”
Disney said high-tech skills were a major theme in the “Black Panther” plot, which features a black superhero from a comic series first released in 1966.
“Thanks to Disney’s support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers,” Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, said in a news release.
“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 underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want,” Robert A. Iger, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.