The Walt Disney Co. has revealed plans to offer a $1 million multi-year grant to the career training academy Exceptional Minds following the nonprofit’s 10th anniversary celebration at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California.
Exceptional Minds aims to prepare students with autism for a future in entertainment careers. Graduates from the academy have earned themselves full-time positions with Disney, and a number of active students have done work on Disney projects, including Marvel movies, a recent example being the end credits for the Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures film, Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Marvel Studios specifically was honored at the anniversary event with the first “Exceptional Impact” award for inclusive hiring and work with Exceptional Minds. Victoria Alonso, president of physical, post production, visual effects, and animation at Marvel Studios, accepted the award.
Disney’s grant commitment was also announced to the crowd during the Exceptional Minds anniversary event. “At Disney, we recognize the importance of investing in skill-building opportunities when it comes to preparing youth for careers in storytelling,” says Jennifer Cohen, executive vice president, corporate social responsibility, “As part of our Disney Future Storytellers initiative, we’re honored to be able to work with Exceptional Minds to help neurodivergent talent build their technical and artistic abilities through their renowned academy and training studios.”
The Walt Disney Co. intends to continue to foster new talent through the Disney Future Storytellers initiative. Through scholarships, collaboration with nonprofits, and grants like this one, Disney aims to display support to future generations of entertainment professionals.