Disney and Lucasfilm Join Forces with Global Nonprofit FIRST to Continue Inspiring the Next Generation of Heroes and Innovators
Star Wars: Force for Change Philanthropic Initiative to Continue Expanding Access to FIRST programs with financial, in-kind and mentorship resources
MANCHESTER, N.H., and BURBANK, Calif., October 20, 2020 ― Lucasfilm, parent company Disney, and the global PreK-12 nonprofit organization FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) today announced they are teaming up once again for the 2020-2021 youth robotics season, FIRST GAME CHANGERS powered by Star Wars: Force for Change. In this year’s sports and fitness-themed season, students around the world will compete in robotics challenges, exploring what it means to be “forces for change” by revolutionizing the way we play and move so people of all abilities and skill levels can participate.
The ongoing collaboration with FIRST, a global robotics community that reaches more than 679,000 students in over 100 countries, enables Disney and Lucasfilm to expand access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning to more young people around the world to help them envision a brighter, more inclusive future. As a newly recognized FIRST Strategic Partner focused on reducing barriers to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), LatinX and female students, Disney and Lucasfilm are providing additional financial support as well as mentorship and storytelling opportunities to inspire the next generation, strengthening and diversifying interest in science and technology careers.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with FIRST again this year and engage young people in STEM learning,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “Educating our youth and providing access to FIRST programs for students of all backgrounds has never been so important as it is right now. I can’t wait to see the talent and potential this new season brings.”
During the 2019-2020 FIRST season, with funding provided by Disney and Lucasfilm, FIRST expanded access to STEM programs to 112,000 students in underserved and underrepresented communities, impacting 10,000 robotics teams through its equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. This year, Disney and Lucasfilm will continue to bring more hands-on learning opportunities and mentorship to youth, empowering them to not only think big, but to develop the skills needed to become the next generation of heroes and innovators.
“With generous financial and creative support from Disney and Lucasfilm during our 2019-2020 season, youth participation in FIRST programs increased by 18 percent globally and by 20 percent in U.S. underserved and underrepresented communities,” said Larry Cohen, president of FIRST. “When our season was interrupted by the pandemic, students were inspired by the FIRST Core Values and the call to be a “force for change” to help support their local communities when needed most. The mission of FIRST has never been more important than it is today, and we’re fortunate to continue our relationship with Disney and Lucasfilm to create a more inclusive culture and build a better future.”
See the announce video here:
More information on how to get involved in FIRST GAME CHANGERS powered by Star Wars: Force for Change can be found at firstinspires.org/2021season.
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured after school programs. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Boosted by a global support system of mentors, coaches, volunteers, alumni, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, and build robots, then compete and celebrate at local, regional, and international events. High school students are eligible for more than $80 million in college scholarships. Learn more at firstinspires.org.
About Star Wars: Force for Change
Star Wars: Force for Change aims to create transformation and change in the lives of kids by helping to bridge the STEM skills gap, utilizing the fun and intrigue of Star Wars storytelling to inspire innovation, help build confidence and ignite curiosity. In doing so, Star Wars: Force for Change hopes to embolden and motivate the next generation of heroes and innovators, while also empowering the Star Wars fan community to use their fandom for good.
About Disney Social Responsibility
At Disney, corporate social responsibility refers to our commitment to operate our businesses in an honorable and ethical manner along with our philanthropic efforts to bring comfort, inspiration, and opportunity to families around the world. As part of these efforts, Disney is also committed to supporting the next generation of innovators and storytellers. Through a diverse suite of programs and investments, Disney is bridging opportunity gaps for youth and providing inspiration and opportunity for them to reach their full potential and create the future they imagine. To learn more about how Disney supports youth development, visit https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/investments-in-youth/.
About Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company’s activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.
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