The Walt Disney Company has played a major role in advancing the lives of young Native Americans, mainly through funding a generous scholarship that was designed to ensure they have the means to attend a tribal college of their choosing.
The American Indian College Fund (AICF), founded in 1989, has become the largest charity in the country that works to support Native American students in accessing higher education. In 2015, in a show of its support for this uplifting program, The Walt Disney Company established a $250,000 Walt Disney Company American Indian College Fund Scholarship Program and has consistently offered 13 scholarships every year.
This program provides Native American and Alaska Native students, in financial need, with the resources they need to attend tribal colleges and universities across the country. The initiative was created by the Walt Disney Corporation and their commitment to the effort was on great display, recently, at a convention held at Walt Disney World.
In addition, through their Disney Future Storytellers Program, Disney offers on-site training, scholarship, and access to careers in media to young Native Americans. This program begins as young as the elementary school level, inspiring and educating young children to develop an interest in a promising career in media. They are committed to helping young Native Americans realize their dream and become who they want to be, with the goal of empowering the next generation.
The Young Storytellers' script-to-stage program, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and Disney Musicals in Schools were all created to assist young people with building their trades and skills. The goal in mind through these Disney-funded projects is to guide and inspire these young adults to become everything they’ve ever imagined they could be.
At a recent AICF focus group gathering, on-site at the Walt Disney World® Resort, Diné, Cocopah, and Chiricahua Apache Nations were all represented. The groups were comprised of 3 current AICF scholars and 3 AICF staff members. They worked together at this gathering to identify areas of opportunity.
The one-on-one time with this impressive list of leaders was all a part of the plan to build deeper partnerships. Partnering together helps all achieve a common goal. and empower this next generation of Native American storytellers.
Feature image courtesy of Walt Disney Company.