Funding Film and Media for Social Change

The recent Hollywood Reporter article on George Lucas’ $4 billion funding for education got me to thinking about high impact organizations focused on the issue of gender equality in the media. These are the types of innovations we see and share with members of Catalytic Women who want to give at any level for big change, and the topic of our November 15 event at Google in Silicon Valley on Women, Film and Philanthropy.

Women in Film/Women in Film Foundation

Women in Film (WIF) is a nonprofit that helps women thrive in the global entertainment, communication and media industries, and also preserves the legacy of the professional women who came before. For nearly 40 years WIF and its Women in Film Foundation have provided members with an extensive network of contacts, educational programs, scholarships, film finishing funds, access to industry jobs, mentorships and more.

Not in the entertainment business? Join WIF as a Friend of Women in Film or donate to one of their special funds: the WIFF Film Finishing Fund provides cash and in-kind grants to complete films by, for or about women; the WIF PSA Program trains young female filmmakers who produce free PSA’s for charities; the WIFF Legacy Projectpreserves the legacy of women in front of and behind the screen through documentary portraits; and the WIFF Mentoring Program guides women new to the industry. A collaboration between the Sundance Institute and WIF will study statistics regarding women filmmakers from the 2012 Sundance Festival, analyzing challenges they face moving projects forward, and will host a symposium in Los Angeles to share learnings and foster solutions.

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media/See Jane

At the Women’s Funding Network conference in May I had the pleasure of hearing Academy Award winner Geena Davis speak—super smart, successful, and surprisingly modest, just like many Catalytic Women. (One of my favorite quotes from her keynote speech is on our News page.)

Six years ago, while watching children’s entertainment with her young daughter, she noticed a remarkable imbalance in the ratio of male to female characters. From there, Ms. Davis commissioned the largest research study ever undertaken on gender in children’s entertainment. The research showed that in the top-grossing G-rated films, there were three male characters for every one female—a statistic that still has not improved. From that was born the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the leading resource for gender in media research, trends and education for the entertainment industry and the public. See Jane is a program of the Institute that utilizes research, education and advocacy to engage and collaborate with entertainment creators on leading positive change through varied portrayals of female and male characters in movies, TV, and other media aimed at children 11 and under.

If a young women can see it, she can be it.

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