LOS ANGELES – Discovery Communications and The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) announced their joint philanthropic partnership today, aligning the shared vision between both organizations. The partnership is a youth-development program that introduces deserving high school and college students across the country to careers in the media and entertainment industry. The partnership provides access to scholarships, internships, and mentorships designed to further professional development and networking opportunities for youth from underserved communities.
“The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation and Discovery share a common mission: to give the talented, motivated and inspired young men and women — who will one day be our thought-leaders and changemakers — the resources to realize their career dreams and also create a better world,” said Jada Pinkett Smith, actress and co-founder of The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation. “This type of partnership is the reason that Will and I created our Foundation in the first place. Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from, should have an opportunity to tell their story; and whether in entertainment or any other industry, to use their unique perspective as a catalyst for change.”
The partnership launches today in Los Angeles during the kick off of TLC’s 2017 Say Yes to the Prom initiative, an annual community outreach program from Discovery Communications created to remove the financial burden of prom and provide ongoing college and career support for deserving high school students. The new partnership is highlighted by the following elements:
- All 1,000 Say Yes to the Prom participants nationwide will have the opportunity to participate in WJSFF’s Careers in Entertainment program (CIE), an initiative launched in 2016 to expose youth to careers in the entertainment industry. In turn, qualified CIE participants will have the opportunity to participate in Say Yes to the Prom events in their cities.
- Discovery will endow 20 scholarships as part of a new Discovery/CIE Fellowship Program, available to eligible CIE and Say Yes to the Prom
- Qualified CIE participants looking to pursue careers in media or entertainment will have the opportunity to apply for internships at Discovery Communications’ U.S. offices.
- Along with CIE’s in-person events, Say Yes to the Prom participants also will have access to CIE’s online network, offering members ongoing virtual mentorship opportunities.
“Discovery is proud to partner with The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation to foster the development and growth of the next generation of entertainment industry professionals,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. “By combining the efforts of Discovery and CIE, we can make a greater impact and ensure that even more deserving students are given the tools and resources they need to succeed.”
The partnership will amplify the impact of WJSFF’s CIE Tour, a multi-city program designed to introduce attendees to entertainment industry professionals through Q&A panels, and interactive career fairs. In addition to welcoming Say Yes to the Prom students to participate in CIE events in their area, Discovery Communications will this year co-host a CIE Tour stop at the company’s global headquarters in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
“The media and entertainment industry will shine brightly in the future if its next leaders accurately represent the rich diversity of background and thought in society today,” said Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources and Global Diversity Officer for Discovery Communications and creator of Say Yes to the Prom. “These young adults can be the future of our industry, and we look forward to this partnership giving them a strong foundation on which to build.”
For more information on CIE, please visit: http://www.cietour.org/. For up to date information on this year’s Say Yes to the Prom initiative as well as photos and videos, please visit www.tlc.com/sayyestotheprom and follow #SYTTP on Twitter and Instagram.
About The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation
Dedicated to the betterment of the world around us, The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation assists individuals, charities, and organizations in the areas of education, health and sustainability. Learn more about The Will and Jada Smith Foundation and the Careers in Entertainment initiative on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Say Yes to the Prom
Now in its sixth year, Say Yes to the Prom is an annual giveback initiative from TLC and parent company Discovery Communications designed to remove the financial burden of prom for deserving high school students across the U.S. and prepare them as they look ahead towards college and careers. An extension of TLC’s popular Say Yes to the Dress franchise, in 2017 Say Yes to the Prom will host events in five U.S. cities to impact nearly 1,000 academically high-achieving and underserved high school girls and boys with a day of mentorship, prom dress shopping, tuxedo rentals, and one-on-one style sessions with TLC’s Monte Durham. Going beyond the dress and tuxedo, educational extensions including scholarship, mentorship and internship opportunities extend the impact of the program for participants long beyond prom night. For more information, please visit TLC.com.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and engages superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands. Reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers across pay-TV and free-to-air platforms in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s portfolio includes the global brands Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Discovery reaches audiences across screens through digital-first programming from Discovery VR, over-the-top offerings Eurosport Player and Dplay, as well as TV Everywhere products comprising the GO portfolio of TVE apps and Discovery K!ds Play. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.