Grant Search

Community Initiatives

San Francisco, California

Community Initiatives was awarded $1,615,000 between 2010 and 2016, including 8 grants in Conservation & Sustainable Development, Migration, Journalism & Media, and Juvenile Justice.


2016 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Active Voice Lab, a project of Community Initiatives, is a nonprofit network of strategists and researchers that produces research and tools that enable media makers, funders, and advocates to effectively use documentary films and nonfiction media as part of an ecosystem that can help advance social change. Through its Prenups for Partners project, Active Voice convenes workshops and conducts interviews to produce a set of web-based guidelines that helps maximize the success of collaborations between filmmakers, nonprofits, and funders. The outcome of this grant is a framework that identifies common issues and proposes solutions to help media makers, funders, and advocates work together more effectively.


2015 • 6 months • Journalism & Media

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.


2015 • 3 years • Conservation & Sustainable Development

The Democracy Center at Community Initiatives is a fiscally sponsored program that strengthens global citizen action through training, campaigns, journalism, and facilitation. This award establishes strategic linkages between disparate, but flourishing subnational movements of civil society to address natural solutions to climate change and facilitate more effective and coordinated actions that can complement national mitigation commitments made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The project expands collaborations in Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. on climate change resilience and mitigation, develops a “strategy bank” to offer guidance on effective citizen action, and provides thought leadership through publications, assemblies, and key collaborations. The project fills a critical gap in current policies and actions to address climate change by inspiring and complementing national commitments through more strategic, connected subnational networks.


2014 • 1 year, 5 months • Migration

Active Voice’s ONWARD campaign will partner with four to six faith-based networks over the next year and work closely with them to create customized plans to use documentary media and journalism pieces in screening and discussion settings in order to facilitate positive discussions about the dimensions of immigration. Active Voice will curate and distribute an online bundle of documentary film clips, multimedia news features, data points, discussion modules, and toolkits that would be made available to partner networks.


2013 • 3 years • Conservation & Sustainable Development

Community Initiatives works in support of citizen advocacy on public decisions that impact their lives. The project will capture local experiences and adaptation challenges to climate change in the Andes and reframe these as a powerful public narrative, designed to influence public thinking and public policy, both in the region and globally. A series of reports, videos, podcasts, and on-line webinars will describe climate change impact on food, water, and ecosystems, and bring this story to global audiences. Finally it will build skills so communities can engage more effectively in climate policy dialogs.


2013 • 9 months • Migration

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.


2012 • 1 year • Juvenile Justice

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.


2010 • 2 years, 3 months • Journalism & Media

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).

Stay Informed
Sign up for periodic news updates and event invitations. Check out our social media content in one place, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.