Rich Frank Establishes The Richard Frank Scholarship Fund for the American Film Institute

On Friday, as the American Film Institute (AFI) celebrated the 2023 AFI AWARDS honorees at the annual awards luncheon, Rich Frank, former President of Disney Studios, founder of Frank Family Vineyards and Vice Chair of the American Film Institute (AFI), announced the establishment of The Richard Frank Scholarship for the AFI. Through a multi-million-dollar donation, twenty AFI Conservatory scholarships will be awarded in the name of the individual honorees each year over the next ten years.

The purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to empower and support current AFI fellows that demonstrate financial need.

“Rich Frank has been a leader at the AFI Trustee table for over thirty years,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “His commitment to the future of the art form is peerless, and this extraordinary gift will allow the AFI Conservatory to continue to attract the best and the brightest young storytellers – while celebrating the very best film and television of today.”

“I am encouraged that the scholarship will help fuel the next generation of creative film and television makers,” says Frank. “When I started in this business, there were just three networks and a handful of studios. Today, the landscape is vast given multiple viewing platforms and streaming services. It is an exciting time with boundless opportunity. I believe these students have the capability to create anything they can imagine, and the AFI provides a strong foundation for these creative minds to flourish.” 

Each Richard Frank Scholarship will be named after an AFI Awards Honoree from the previous year. The candidate selected to receive the scholarship must be an admitted AFI Conservatory Fellow. The Richard Frank Scholarships will be announced annually at the AFI Awards and will be celebrated during the AFI Awards luncheon. 

This is not the first time Rich has supported educational access. In 2020, Rich and Leslie, donated $7.5 million to The College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Rich Frank is an alumnus. The gift, the largest in the college’s history, established the Richard and Leslie Frank Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media.