Fledgling Fund: Grants for Film and Documentaries

OVERVIEW:  The Fledgling Fund is a private foundation that supports films and stories that can "drive social change." It funds innovative media projects that address social ills in climate change, health care, justice reforms, human rights, and other issues.   

IP TAKE: The Fledgling Fund is ideal for smaller, non-theatrical documentary projects that take on very specific social issues and seek to produce tangible, productive results.

PROFILE: The Fledgling Fund  was created by Diana Barrett in 2005. It seeks to fund projects that can create an impact and supports the "development and execution of outreach and audience engagement campaigns for social issue documentaries." The Creative Media Program has funded well over 350 different projects with nearly $12 million in support to date.

Most all of The Fledgling Fund's film and "creative media" grants support outreach and audience engagement based around a specific social issue. The criteria for these grants include the strength of the overall film, the stage and progress of the project, the needs of the specific movement surrounding the issue, the strength of the proposal, and the fit of the subject matter within the Fledgling Fund's priority issue areas.

Grants typically range from $10,000 to $25,000 per project. The fund does require that each project it supports have a fiscal sponsor secured at the time the grant is made, but it is not necessary to have one already on board in order to apply.

Past grantees include 2008's Lioness which received grants and post-production support from The Fledgling Fund in order to advance the film's outreach and audience engagement efforts. The film screened at various national and international festivals and received several awards and critical recognition. It was also eventually broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens to much acclaim.

More recent grantees include a documentary on seed keepers, Seed: The Untold Story and Nine To Ninety, a story about aging with dignity. They respectively received grants of $25,000 and $20,000. 

The Fledgling Fund offers a list of "case studies" on their website which gives insightful accounts of various past projects and the steps each took to answer questions like "What were the goals?" and "What was achieved?"

The Fledgling Fund accepts applications on a rolling basis.

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