Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program: Hollywood Mentors, New WME Foundation Scholarship Unveiled

AP Images/Invision
WME's Nancy Josephson, left, with her mentee Maira Solis

WME Foundation will pay for one full-ride scholarship for a girl in The Hollywood Reporter and Big Brothers Big Sisters' program to attend Loyola Marymount University, with the college itself covering a second scholarship

This story first appeared in the 2014 Women in Entertainment issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

 

T he numbers are mind-boggling: It costs on average $200,000-plus for a young man or woman to attend a major private university in the U.S. That number is almost unimaginable to the kids attending schools in the inner city, where parents often struggle just to pay the rent.

Now, for the first time, the William Morris Endeavor Foundation has offered to pay for one full-ride scholarship for a girl in THR's Mentoring Program to attend Loyola Marymount University -- essentially a matching grant, with LMU itself covering a second scholarship. That means two girls from underprivileged backgrounds will be able to spend four years at one of the best universities in California, worry-free.

Read More The Hollywood Reporter, Industry Leaders Celebrate Mentorship Program's Fifth Anniversary

Two other full-ride scholarships were provided by LMU in 2013, and girls from the program are in their first semester. These scholarships come in addition to substantial scholarships given by the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Lifetime, along with two brand-new $25,000 scholarships presented this year by Net-a-Porter and by BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, the first female African-American billionaire.

The WME scholarship follows a long association between the Mentoring Program and the agency, where partner Nancy Josephson served as a much-admired mentor in the program's pilot year. "Nancy's experience with [her mentee] Maira Solis served as the inspiration for the WME Foundation's mentor program," says Sarah Adolphson, director of the WME Foundation.

Since Josephson took part as a mentor, under her leadership WME has created its own mentorship program, with 56 agents and staffers serving as mentors for children in three inner-city schools.

Read More Hollywood Reporter, NBC's Jennifer Salke Honored at Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala

In terms of the new scholarship, Adolphson says: "We wanted to show our appreciation by supporting this program in a bigger way. We hope that this scholarship will not only assist the needs of the grantee but will also motivate others to help these great young women fulfill their dreams."

Says Stephen Ujlaki, dean of LMU's School of Film and Television: "Thanks to WME, we're able to provide a matching scholarship from [Associated Television International founder] David and Laura McKenzie, our generous donors. Last year's scholarship recipients are thriving in their freshman year -- a testament not only to their drive and talent but also to the amazing women in Hollywood who have mentored them."

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