Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is making movie theater history and Disney is celebrating by donating $1 million to open STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) centers across the country, including in Atlanta, Ga for students.
The STEM centers will be innovation hubs for students to learn about different technologies including 3-D printing, coding and robotics. Disney’s grant money will go toward expanding the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) STEM curriculum in each respective city.
Disney will also open STEM centers in Baltimore, Md.; Oakland, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Harlem, N.Y.; Hartford, Conn.; Memphis, Tenn., New Orleans, La., Orlando, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa. Washington, DC and Watts, Calif.
BGCA Senior Director of Youth Development Programs, Education and STEM Chrissy Booth told the Atlanta Business Chronicle in an interview that the organization will use the grant to help build upon its established STEM infrastructure.
“Through the donation from Disney, we can create access and a pathway toward STEM careers especially for young people who might not have otherwise seen themselves in a STEM career,” Booth told the ABC.
Black Panther hit the $700 million mark during its second weekend in the box office, only placing behind ‘The Avengers’ in Marvel’s portfolio. According to Bloomberg, theater revenue was up 31 percent in Washington, D.C. and 36 percent in Baltimore following the release of Black Panther.
‘Black Panther’s’ success is attributed to the film’s representation of African American cast and crew members. The film’s breakout character Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, is the smartest person in the Marvel Universe and she’s only 16 years old. Shuri is responsible for creating the innovative technology of Wakanda and she’s T’Challa’s little sister. Audience’s love for Shuri and her inventions has played a huge role in Disney’s STEM donations.
“It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film,” said Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger on the Walt Disney Company website. “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.”
Black Panther was filmed in part in Georgia and contributed $83.9 million to the state’s economy during its production.