The American Film Institute has received a $500,000 donation from the estate of director-producer-actor-philanthropist Nancy Malone to fund the new Nancy Malone Initiatives for Women Filmmakers. Director-writer Tessa Blake has been named director of the program, which will aim to advocate for the advancement and employment of women from the AFI Conservatory and the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Malone and Blake are DWW alumnae.

Blake’s executive-level role will be to grow greater opportunities within the creative community for female AFI filmmakers, and expands her duties after leading the DWW the past two years. She will now create programs that help AFI Conservatory and DWW alumnae find employment.

The initiative also creates the Nancy Malone Symposium, which will be held annually at AFI Fest beginning in 2018.

“Nancy Malone remains an enduring inspiration at the American Film Institute,” AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said. “This peerless gift in support of women storytellers will help to ensure America’s art form echoes with equality for future generations.”