Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday announced a merger between Ryan Reynolds’ and Blake Lively’s Group Effort Initiative and his Evolve Entertainment Fund, a private-public partnership to connect young Angelenos from underrepresented communities with entertainment industry career opportunities.
“Evolve is about more than injecting young people’s voices into our city’s creative output — it makes sure the studios of Hollywood better reflect the melting pot of backgrounds that makes Los Angeles extraordinary,” Garcetti said.
“This merger between Evolve and the Group Effort Initiative will provide even more individuals from underserved communities with the opportunity to chase their dreams, secure a career in our city’s most iconic industry and help ensure our backlots and soundstages represent the diversity in our own backyard.”
Evolve was launched by Garcetti in February 2018 and has since partnered more than 1,000 people with 152 entertainment companies and 28 community and educational organizations in an effort to give participants a pathway into the film, television, music and digital media industries. Sixty- five people have secured full-time jobs through the program and 559 people landed at paid internships, the mayor’s office said. Companies include Netflix, WME and Disney’s ABC Entertainment.
GEI was founded in August 2020 by actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively and seeks to provide paid, on-set training opportunities to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and other marginalized communities.
“We started GEI not even a year ago and Blake and I have been so thrilled and humbled both by the interest in the program and the eagerness of our industry to help,” Reynolds said. “We are so grateful to Mayor Garcetti for helping architect its expansion.”
Garcetti’s office said the merger will help the two initiatives reach more participants in other cities in the U.S. and internationally. The expansion will seek to double the number of participants over the next three years by providing more than 1,000 internships and 150 full-time job opportunities.
“We’d also like to recognize the efforts of organizations like Netflix, Apple, Sony Pictures and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative as well as early hand-raisers Shawn Levy, Sean Anders, John Morris, David Leitch, Kelly McCormick, Kristen Bell and Noah Baumbach. Opening up access to our industry will truly take a group effort and we’re just getting started,” Reynolds said.
More information about the two initiatives can be found at evolveentertainmentfund.org or groupeffortinitiative.com.