The Fledgling Fund: Inspiring a Better World Through Film

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Fledgling Fund - Inocente
Resource Details
Publication Date: 
January 2015
Ann McQueen
Animating Democracy
Number of Pages: 

The Fledgling Fund, a private foundation launched in 2005, seeks to “inspire a better world” by supporting the work of documentary filmmakers and building the evolving field of social issue documentary film and media.  It believes in the power of film to engage communities in timely issues and focuses its grantmaking on supporting filmmakers’ outreach and engagement efforts, helping them build awareness, strengthen movements, inform decisions, and even impact policy.  While all the films it supports address issues of social justice, Fledgling’s grantmaking is less about a particular cause than about the strategy the filmmaker will follow to prompt change. Fledgling also actively shares its knowledge, experience, and lessons learned to help grantees build the capacity to educate and engage, and to track and share the impact of social issue documentary film.

Founder Diana Barrett, formerly a professor at the Harvard Business School and School of Public Health, carried the strengths of her previous careers with her as she developed the family philanthropy. Nominally New York-based, Fledgling is a lean, virtual organization with just three staff members that forgoes overhead in favor of additional grants. Since inception, nearly $12 million has been distributed to more than 330 creative media projects from an endowment of around $15 million.


Listen to a podcast interview by Ann McQueen with Fledgling Fund Founder and President Diana Barrett, and Executive Director Sheila Leddy.

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