Disney donates $1 million to youth STEM programs in celebration of 'Black Panther'

BURBANK, Calif. (KGO) -- Disney announced it will donate $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club of America to expand and create new youth STEM programs. Twelve communities will benefit from this donation. Oakland is one of them. The grant comes as Disney celebrates the success of the mega-hit movie Black Panther.

We've known that there are gaps in science and math achievement for African Americans starting as early as fourth grade. The Boys and Girls Club of America has three centers in Oakland helping kids bridge that gap.

VIDEO: Why 'Black Panther' means so much to African-Americans'
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African-Americans are embracing the new Black Panther movie, the first major superhero movie to feature a black protagonist and have primarily a black cast

"STEM and education is the pathway of least resistance if our young people are going to be successful," said Cal Stanley, President of the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland.

Thanks to tech companies and universities who partner with the clubs, students here learn some of the skills to pursue STEM degrees and careers. And those high tech skills will expand with a donation from Disney which produced the movie Black Panther.

The movie takes place in a fictional location called Wakanda, the most technologically advanced country in the world.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said the technology in the film has inspired young audiences. "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," Iger said in a statement.

VIDEO: 'Black Panther' premiere in Oakland delights, inspires fans

In the movie women are depicted as strong and technologically savvy. But in reality, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report, women hold only one quarter of the jobs in STEM fields in the U.S.

Stanley hopes these kids will see themselves in these characters. "Kids need visual aids, we all do and if you can see it, then you can be it and if it can be conceived, it can be achieved," he said.

Communities that will receive a donation from Disney:
1. Oakland, CA

2. Atlanta, GA

3. Baltimore, MD

4. Chicago, Il

5. Harlem, New York City

6. Hartford, CT

7. Memphis, TN

8. New Orleans, LA

9. Orlando, Fl.

10. Washington, D.C.

11. Philadelphia, PA

12. Watts, CA

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC7.

About the Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, and Consumer Products & Interactive Media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

About Marvel Studios' "Black Panther"

With an astounding $201.8 million over its first three days, Marvel Studios' Black Panther leapt into the top five domestic openings of all time and broke the record for a February debut. The film grossed $242 million over the President's Day holiday weekend, making it the second highest four-day domestic opening of all time. Black Panther has earned over $704 million globally through Sunday, February 25.

Black Panther has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. It received a rare A+ CinemaScore from audiences and has an exceptional 97-percent Certified Fresh aggregate critics score on RottenTomatoes, the highest ever for a Marvel film.

Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay.

About the Boys and Girls Clubs of America

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, 4,300 Clubs serve 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at on Facebook and Twitter.

The Walt Disney Company
Mariam Sughayer

Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Ashley Keyes

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of this station.
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