New year, new goals, new initiatives.
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2017 Sundance Film Festival turns its lens on climate change, environment

Two weeks ago, as Donald J. Trump was being inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States in Washington, D.C., festival-goers in Park City, Utah, were preparing for premieres, parties and protests at the Sundance Film Festival. And the Media Impact Funders staff, its board of directors and various colleagues were focusing on how to move forward with effective, engaging storytelling, especially as it pertains to the health of our planet.

This marks the first time the festival has focused on driving action around a particular social issue, and we heard from several funders and filmmakers working to drive change in the environmental space. At a gathering of documentary film funders, we had the pleasure of hearing from Sundance Discovery Impact fellow and Chasing Ice director Jeff Orlowski, whose latest film Chasing Coral uses beautiful time-lapse imagery to document the world's dying coral reefs. The film was recently acquired by Netflix and won the Sundance Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary Competition. Orlowski shared details on his new film's impact strategy, the importance of simplifying scientific data for the public, and more.

Read more about what we saw and experienced at Sundance.

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Frank // March 1, 2017

The Science Behind How Communications Can Motivate Social Change 
9-11:30 a.m. | Gainesville, Fla.

Join us for an invitation-only preview of intriguing ideas from the Frank gathering in Gainesville, Fla., where we'll discuss ways to improve understanding between the scientific community and the public, and how funders can better utilize current research and use it for actionable goals. Now more than ever, evidence-based communications are essential to informing and activating members of the public on key topics such as climate change.
Note: This is a funders-only event.
Register now

Media Impact Forum // June 14, 2017

Protecting the Public Interest in Media
9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Washington, D.C.

Join us for our annual gathering of funders, analysts and world-changing media makers from across the country to share insights about the field’s most influential projects and trends. This year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act, we will reflect on the history and preservation of public media. We’ll explore the role of public media and documentary film in telling impactful stories, and how best to serve the public interest in commercial and noncommercial media organizations. Stay tuned as we continue to shape this important program.

Note: This is a funders-only event.
Register now
  • After more than two years exploring the question of the ethics of philanthropically funded journalism, the American Press Institute (API) has released two sets of guidelines: one for funders of nonprofit news, and one for nonprofit newsrooms. Our executive director, Vincent Stehle, along with members of MIF's board of directors, were among the group of key stakeholders who helped clarify the implications. Tim Isgitt, director of Humanity United, played an integral role in writing and implementing the guidelines. He wrote a piece for MIF on the importance of setting expectations for funder partnerships and support of media. Read it here.
  • The Emma Bowen Foundation announces the AMP (Alumni and Media Professional) Network, a members-only networking group that connects people of color to jobs in the media and technology industries through Emma Bowen partner companies. Learn more. 
  • Grant Oliphant, president of the Heinz Endowments, offers some powerful remarks on the importance of philanthropy speaking out and offering a vision for the future.
  • Rajiv J. Shah becomes the Rockefeller Foundation's first Indian-American president.
  • The Free Press is encouraging public broadcasters to invest their earnings back into local news and information.

3 ways funders can stand up for the truth

It's been a rough month for the truth in America. Disputes over "alternative facts" from the White House on crowd size and voter fraud have been coupled with attempts to muzzle government agencies accustomed to sharing their research with the public.

Given the partisan nature of many of these disputes, it may seem difficult for foundations to weigh in. But here are three positive steps to take, says MIF Research and Strategy Director Jessica Clark:

1. Support research into why evidence fails to convince.
2. Invest in solutions.
3. Speak out.

Read more

is a membership organization serving the funding community.

Membership is a powerful tool that enables you to stay connected, facilitating more strategic funding through networking and resource-sharing.

Please consider becoming a member today to help us continue supporting media that matters.
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New impact resolutions

We're using the opportunities, challenges and threats of the new year and new administration to take a closer look at how we've been thinking about media impact assessment here at MIF. Let us know what you think.
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