In addition to developing and distributing our own film productions, GroundSpark produces films for public-interest organizations and coalitions whose goals we share. Examples include:
Unlocking Investment in Rural America
GOAL: To capture the pervasiveness of entrenched rural poverty, explain the work that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) do, and make the case for expanded public and private partnerships to channel desperately needed funding into these long-neglected regions of the United States
CLIENT/PARTNERS: United States Department of Agriculture, CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development)
PROCESS: We analyzed studies and reports prepared by CFED in preparation for the creation of the Uplift America Fund, a new initiative to channel significant financial resources into persistently poor rural communities. We worked with CDFI staff in four regions—Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, Indian country, and Las Colonias along the Texas/Mexico border—to identify individuals and families who could demonstrate both the toll that persistent poverty takes and the support that CDFIs provide.
RESULTS: Unlocking Investment in Rural America is being used to drive applications to the Uplift America Fund and to help CDFIs across the country explain their work to potential funders and partners. The film is permanently housed on the Uplift America website.
A Foot in the Door
GOAL: To share the story of San Francisco’s “Kindergarten to College” program, the first universal children’s savings account initiative in the United States, in order to inspire other localities to launch CSA programs of their own; to help the City of San Francisco expand participation in Kindergarten to College.
CLIENT/PARTNERS: San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, Citi Community Development, CFED.
PROCESS: We interviewed key leaders and policy advocates involved in the creation of Kindergarten to College to determine the critical pieces of information a viewer would need to understand how K2C works and why CSAs are excellent tools to address economic, education, and racial inequality. We identified a participant K2C family whose story provides a human face to the initiative.
RESULTS: A Foot in the Door is being distributed free of charge to policy advocates, government agencies, financial services providers, community groups, educators, and parents who want to learn more about the potential of children’s savings account programs.
THUMBS UP: “Having this film as a tool will help us galvanize a national movement because it enables us to tell a concrete story about children’s savings accounts in way that will stimulate similar efforts in cities and states across the nation and even around the world. I can’t thank you enough.”
—Bob Friedman, Founder and Board Chair, CFED
One Wedding and a Revolution
Goal: Turn the historic footage captured in February 2004 when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples into a short call to action for the marriage equality movement.
CLIENT/PARTNER: National Center for Lesbian Rights
PROCESS: We were fortunate to be one of only two film crews allowed in the City Assessor’s office when longtime lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon became the first gay couple to get married by government officials. NCLR partnered with us so we could build on that by telling the story of why the mayor made his historic move and examining the political context for his decision.
RESULTS: One Wedding has inspired countless other straight allies and LGBT community members to step up in the fight for full equality.
THUMBS UP: “One Wedding and a Revolution charts a history no one will forget. It brilliantly captures one of the most important moments in our civil rights struggle with two icons of our movement as its stars. Thanks to GroundSpark for a spectacular job.”
—Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Homes and Hands—Community Land Trusts in Action
GOAL: Motivate community groups, low-income residents, and bankers to work together to create permanently affordable home ownership opportunities
CLIENT/PARTNER: National Community Land Trust Network (successor to the original Institute for Community Economics)
PROCESS: We worked with NCLTN to identify three different types of community land trusts using existing and new home stock, select three cities to visit to capture excellent examples of each type, and cull down the key concepts about how land trusts work into accessible, inspiring language. Homes & Hands shows how CLTs can help homebuyers overcome an increasingly discriminating and competitive real estate market while building and restoring community bonds. We also helped raise the funds for the production of the film.
RESULTS: Homes and Hands has been screened in hundreds of communities to both explain the nuts and bolts of how community land trusts operate and to inspire new CLTS to get off the ground.
THUMBS UP: “GroundSpark clearly demonstrated the nuts and bolts of the Community Land Trust model through intimate portraits of real communities in a social change movement. By combining factual information with engaging personal stories, we produced an inspiring and informative film that is widely used in training and outreach programs.”
— John Davis, Dean, National Community Land Trust Academy
Deadly Deception—General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment
GOAL: Build support for an international boycott campaign to push GE out of the nuclear weapons industry
CLIENT/PARTNER: Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact).
PROCESS: CAI needed a way to turn boxes of data it had collected about the health and environmental impact of the nuclear weapons industry, particularly General Electric’s role in it, into a moving tool to help expand its GE boycott campaign. We sifted through the research to identify key stories that could illustrate different dimensions of the problem, intercut those stories with excerpts from GE’s “We Bring Good Things To Life” ads, and examples of individuals and institutions that had joined the boycott.
RESULTS: CAI used Deadly Deception to motivate thousands of individuals and organizations to join an international boycott against GE. One year after the film’s release, General Electric finally stopped its nuclear materials production. The film won dozens of awards including the Academy Award ® for best Short Documentary.
THUMBS UP: GroundSpark took our initial vision and worked tirelessly with us to produce a revealing, moving document that put into human terms the suffering caused by GE. Deadly Deception’s intensely personal nature, in combination with hard hitting factual reporting, makes it an invaluable tool in classrooms and conferences around the world.
—Kathryn Mulvey, executive director, Corporate Accountability International
Other Past Clients (partial list)
Continuum HIV Day Services
Miramar Studios (PBS Series: Digital Divide)
National Center for Victims of Crime
Roberta Achtenberg for Mayor
Tom Ammiano for Mayor
Vote For Equality