Grantee Profile

Community Initiatives

Grants to Community Initiatives

  • $40,000Active Strategy

    2015 (Inactive Grant)

    Journalism & Media

    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — For fifteen years, Active Voice, a project of Community Initiatives, has been a leader in developing and implementing strategies to enable people and institutions involved in social and policy change initiatives to better use documentary films to advance their work. Recently, Active Voice has begun to develop a new framework for categorizing and evaluating different types of social issue documentary films. While documentaries vary widely, from films that are intended to engender empathy (for example, I Learn America, a film following a year in the lives of five immigrant teens), to films that examine the effects of a public policy (for example, the State of Arizona, a film that examines the implications of Arizona's SB1040), the methods and metrics available for evaluating documentaries are not sufficiently nuanced. A MacArthur grant will help Active Voice continue its research and development of the new framework by testing its efficacy with a small set of filmmakers and with a sample of MacArthur funded documentaries. Ultimately, we expect to see the public release of a new framework that improves the practice of describing, measuring, and evaluating the role and impact of documentary films in culture change and policymaking processes.

  • $250,000Active Strategy

    2014 (Duration 1 year)


    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — In support of Active Voice's ONWARD project.

  • $100,000Active Strategy

    2013 (Inactive Grant)


    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Active Voice, a project of Community Initiatives, is a nonprofit, strategic communications consultant that utilizes film and media for public education and policy change. During a six-month research and development phase Active Voice, working closely with messaging experts, researchers, advocates, non-partisan think tanks, civic leaders, and journalists, will identify media pieces that have the greatest likelihood of educating target audiences of organizations and individuals about the immigration debate, and create a strategy through which this media will reach and engage them. A MacArthur grant will support salaries, filmmaker and consultant fees, and meeting costs.

  • $250,000Active Strategy

    2012 (Inactive Grant)

    Juvenile Justice

    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Active Voice, a project of Community Initiatives, is one of the most experienced and effective strategic communications groups using film, television, and multimedia for public education and policy change. Active Voice will use this grant to develop and implement a coordinated set of public outreach and engagement activities to raise awareness about the pressing problems affecting the juvenile justice system and the need for policy reform by using a documentary film about the Luzerne, Pennsylvania, "kids for cash" judicial scandal for outreach and public engagement activities to promote juvenile justice systems reform.

  • $300,000Active Strategy

    2010 (Inactive Grant)

    Journalism & Media

    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — In support of a project on the use and impact of documentary films to educate the public and contribute to civic engagement in public policy issues (over two years).

The MacArthur Foundation awarded Community Initiatives $940,000 between 2002 and 2015.

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