Judy Tam, Independent Television Service (ITVS)

TITLE: Executive Vice President, CFO, COO

FUNDING AREAS: Journalism, public television broadcasting

CONTACT: judy_tam@itvs.org, (415) 356-8383 x 238

IP TAKE: Tam isn’t just a paper shuffler and numbers wizard, she has extensive experience in production as well, and she likes broadcast journalistic endeavors that empower both women and traditionally underserved populations.

PROFILE: Judy Tam has over 25 years of leadership experience as both a Chief Financial and Chief Operations Officer for various nonprofit organizations that seek to address the plight of the under-represented and underserved. In her role as Executive Vice President, CFO and COO of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Tam has worked tirelessly to help shape the organization into the nation’s single largest program source of independent programming for U.S. television.

"My career has primarily been in the area of nonprofits," explains Tam. "I serve on three boards: Link TV, INPUT and Public Advocates. I have been President of INPUT, an international public media board for the last three years. I produced and executive produced an international public television conference in 2005 for 1700 people that spanned over eight days of activities including a journalism conference, Russian professional development program, and AIDs leadership summit. I am project director for a Women and Girls Lead Global campaign funded by USAID in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Malawi, Jordan, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador and Egypt. I am the supervising producer for a Women of the World series that is to be broadcast in each of these countries."

Tam has been a CFO for close to 30 years. The first 13 were spent at a public interest law firm and the last 16 were spent at ITVS. In her work at ITVS she helps oversee program areas like the Global Perspectives Project, a world exchange program that brings U.S. documentaries to audiences in other countries and documentaries form other nations to the U.S., and the LINCS program, a funding initiative that matches project funds up to $100,000 for a single 30 minute to 60-minute program.

ITVS also produces three series: Independent Lens, True Stories, and Global Voices. They also run the Diversity Development Fund, an initiative that provides up to $15,000 in funding for projects that have not yet entered into the production phase. Unlike most of ITVS funded projects, the Diversity Development Fund is limited to film projects intended for theatrical release.

For those seeking more generalized support from Tam's organization, there is the twice yearly Open Call. The funding provided under this initiative varies widely as it provides completion funds for selected projects, but it is also highly competitive as ITVS only funds only about two percent of the proposals they see.

It's always good to take a look at past funded projects to get an idea of what ITVS is looking for, then jump right in and research each funding initiative. Maybe ITVS is just what your project has been looking for.

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