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There is little doubt that mediafilm, television, radio and
the Internetare the central communication tools of our time.
An average American adult views nearly sixty films a year, listens
to the radio sixty hours per month, spends roughly ten hours a week
on the Web, and watches television more than four hours a day. Combined
that comes to about four full months a year.
Yet despite the degree to which media shapes our daily lives, culture,
politics and society, most foundations do not fund it. Why? After
all, the business of disseminating ideas is essential to the philanthropic
community, and every foundation has communication goals.
Foundations offer plenty of reasons. Some are based on widespread
misconceptions. Others are real challenges that give rise to the limits
and exclusions foundations place on media funding. Our goal is to
dispel the myths, examine the obstacles, offer a few solutions, and
share some successes.
In the pages that follow, we present seven case studies. These stories
are told from dual perspectivesthat of the mediamaker and that
of foundations which supported their projects. It was our intention
to get inside the media-funding process. In Chapter 1, we also
address the most common reasons foundations give for not funding
media. These are roadblocks that have become entrenched over decades,
but they can be overcome, if you know how.
Working together, producers, nonprofit organizations, presenters and
funders are unleashing the power of media. They are realizing its
potential as a tool for community mobilization and grassroots organizing.
It is our belief that for every foundation there are media productions
that can further its organizational goals. We hope this information
helps grantmakers and grantseekers find those matches.
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