"Foundations have the freedom to be bold; to take risks; to foster creativity, imagination and unorthodox thinking..."
—Steve McCormick, President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
In a recent letter
from the President's Corner, our friend Steve McCormick, President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
, argues that given the times we live in, large foundations are uniquely positioned to make “transformational change.” By that phrase, he means change that ushers in a new and improved era complete with “new norms, conventions, behaviors, understandings, and practices.” At a time when governments and other public institutions are retracting from global social issues, large foundations have the ability to dig in, take a risk, and push the pendulum forward for all of us in the process.
While large foundations are clearly in a privileged position, other organizations like nonprofits, purposeful businesses, and sustainability departments of large corporations can also find themselves in the position to effect transformational change. What we have noticed in our documentary filmmaking work with them is that in parallel with doing this important work, they are being called upon to be publishers as well—of inspiring educational content that enables them to capture the attention of their audiences, stay top of mind, and more successfully make their case.
It’s a difficult task. People these days are distracted by and deluged with information on all fronts—emails, snail mail, ads, links, social media blasts, etc. As a result they have a lower tolerance for promotional material the likes of which organizations in the humanitarian and environmental areas have traditionally relied upon to get their stories and messages out. However, audiences will always continue to be hungry for bite-size, relevant, inspirational, educational material (like short films) that connects them to the solutions that will lead to the world they envision. Organizations that can offer this regular storytelling and step into their publisher role successfully as they embark on their missions will have an even greater chance of making their change truly transformational.
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