'Black Panther' sparks Disney's $1 million donation to STEM learning centers in Philly, other cities

Black Panther has been a runaway hit for Marvel Studios since its release on Feb. 16, earning more than $700 million to date worldwide.

Now, parent Walt Disney Co. is giving back to fans with a $1 million donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in celebration of the film’s success. According to a release, the donation will help expand the organization’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs in 12 cities, Philadelphia included.

>> Read more: ‘Black Panther’: A heroic achievement

The film itself is science-forward, and focuses on Wakanda, an African nation that has made technological advancements beyond the rest of the world, much of which is not aware of the country’s existence. Audience favorite Shuri (Letitia Wright), a Wakandan and the sister of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), meanwhile, is a science genius and “the smartest person in the world,” as Black Panther producer Nate More told ScreenRant last month.

“Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is a masterpiece of movie-making and has become an instant cultural phenomenon, sparking discussion, inspiring people young and old, and breaking down age-old industry myths,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said via a statement. “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.”

>> Read more: ‘Black Panther’ is a self-esteem boost, especially for brown girls

The $1 million donation will be used to “establish new STEM centers” in cities also including Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans, Washington, and Oakland, Calif. In Black Panther, Oakland is the city where villain Erik Killmonger was raised, and where T’Challa ultimately opens Wakanda’s own facility.

In real life, the centers will focus on providing kids with access to technology like 3-D printing, robotics, and video production.

“Thanks to Disney’s support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers,” CEO Jim Clark of the Boys and Girls Clubs said of the donation. The Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia said it has “not received official confirmation or details on the gift at a local level” but is “excited that [Disney] will be expanding STEM opportunities for the young people who need us the most.”

>> Read more: ‘Black Panther’ is for every black kid who thought ‘We didn’t do stuff like that’

Boseman thanked Disney on social media for the donation, writing that “you can never go wrong when you invest in kids’ futures.”

As CNN reported, Disney has donated money to the Boys and Girls Clubs in the past. Most recently, in December, the company donated $1.1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.