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The Netflix Fund for Creative Equity will invest $100 million over five years to support underrepresented communities looking to work in film and television

By Eric Todisco
February 26, 2021 10:43 AM
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Bridgerton
Daphne Bridgerton (L; Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page)
| Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Netflix is doing its part to help diversify the entertainment industry.

Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer for Netflix, announced in a blog post on Friday of the creation of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, which will invest $100 million over the course of five years to support underrepresented communities looking to work in the TV and film industries.

Netflix did not share which specific organizations it would be donating towards, but did note it has previously contributed to nonprofits like Project Involve and Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival's Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series.

"Doing better means establishing even more opportunities for people from underrepresented communities to have their voices heard, and purposefully closing capacity and skill gaps with training programs where they are needed," said Sarandos.

Sarandos added that the new fund "will help us to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally."

To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Peter (Noah Centineo) and Lara Jean (Lana Condor)
| Credit: Katie Yu/Netflix

News of Netflix's new fund came as the streaming service announced the results of their first-of-its kind diversity study, in which Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the founder and director of USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, analyzed the diversity of Netflix's content for movies and TV shows made in the U.S.

The study, which examined 126 movies and 180 scripted series in 2018 and 2019, found that Netflix made improvements in gender equality both in front and behind the camera. The streaming service also "exceeded proportional representation" of Black characters in its projects, per the study.

However, the streaming service came up short in representing LGBTQ, disabled and Latinx characters, the study said.

"Dr. Smith's years of research - including this new study - confirm that inclusion behind the camera exponentially increases inclusion in front of the camera, and that both depend on ensuring that the Netflix executives commissioning these stories are also diverse," Sarandos said.

KATHERINE HEIGL, SARAH CHALKE
Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke in Firefly Lane
| Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

In the blog post, Sarandos cited diverse projects like Dear White People, When They See Us, Atypical, Master of None and Nanette that all "resonated with audiences who rarely saw themselves on screen."

"We are still in the early stages of a major change in storytelling - where great stories can truly come from anywhere, be created by anyone, whatever their background, and be loved everywhere," said Sarandos. "And by better understanding how we are doing, we hope to stimulate change not just at Netflix but across our industry more broadly."