Fledgling Fund: Grants for Film and Documentaries

OVERVIEW: The Fledgling Fund is a private foundation with the goal of supporting films and stories can "drive social change." They do this by supporting innovative media projects that address social ills in the general areas of climate change, health care, justice reforms, human rights, and other issues. Launched in 2005, their Creative Media Program has funded well over 350 different projects with nearly $12 million in support to date. 

IP TAKE: The Fledgling Fund is ideal for smaller, non-theatrical documentary projects that take on very specific social issues, with the goal of producing tangible, productive results.

PROFILE: The Fledgling Fund focuses their support on the "development and execution of outreach and audience engagement campaigns for social issue documentaries." Grants typically range from $10,000 to $25,000 per project. They do require that each project they support have a fiscal sponsor secured at the time the grant is made, but it's not necessary to have one already on board in order to apply.

Most all of The Fledgling Fund's film and "creative media" grants are made to 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.

The list of past successful projects include 2008's Lioness which received several grants and post-production support from The Fledgling Fund in order to advance the film's outreach and audience engagement efforts. The film went on to screen 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 include a documentary on seed keepers, Seed: The Untold Story and Nine To Ninetya 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 funded 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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