Storytelling Grant Highlights

Courageous Storytelling

We believe that there is a need for compelling stories about who we are, how we should live, and our purpose on this planet. This moment of global transition requires translation. How can we imagine a new world without sharing brilliant stories about what the future could be—how it might taste, smell, sound, and feel? To us, courageous storytelling means:

  • Disrupting our understanding of the status quo, or giving voice to previously unheard narratives.
  • Using visual art, music, drama, film, writing, and creative social media to amplify critical issues and to blend personal with political, emotional with intellectual.

A description of grants we have made this year in Storytelling can be found below. Please read about what we support for more information.

2013 Grants
Aspen Institute ADS Works $40,000
The Aspen Institute is a large educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership and provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. It is known for its examination of key policy questions and for the Aspen Ideas Festival where thinkers from many disciplines and perspectives engage in discussion and relationship building. A 2013 Compton grant will support the launch of ADS Works, which maximizes the network of thinkers and policymakers connected to the Aspen Institute with the network of playwright, drama professor, and actress Anna Deavere Smith, to engage artists in a central role in policy debates. Anna aims to create an international community of artists, activists and experts, to share methods and approaches in order to produce new works that help solve the problems of the day. She seeks to inspire new models for how art is created, exhibited, marketed, and shared, and to alter the ways the next generation of artists is trained: combining virtuosity with content that responds to the immediate and current world.

Barefoot Artists General Support $25,000
Barefoot Artists uses art to engage communities in a process of healing, awakening creativity, and building hope. Founder Lily Yeh's social practice art empowers residents of deeply troubled places to make change through what they create together. Compton funds in 2013 will support her work with communities in Kentucky, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, as well as with indigenous tribes in Rwanda and China and in a refugee camp in the Middle East. A full-length documentary film about Lily's work premiered in Philadelphia in June, and will help her share the story of her role in healing, community building, and peace making, with the aim of inspiring others to work to bring beauty and healing into the world.

Cape Farewell General Support $40,000
Artist David Buckland founded Cape Farewell in 2001 to instigate a cultural response to climate change. The organization started by taking artists and scientists on joint expeditions to the Arctic to stimulate the production of art founded in scientific research and the experience of a climate-affected landscape. As climate change became visible in more places than the Arctic, the expeditions expanded to other affected regions of the world like the Amazon and island nations. The project engages artists for their ability to evolve and amplify a creative language, communicating on a human scale the urgency of the global climate challenge. The artists on the trips produced significant creative work, some of which can be seen in the traveling shows Carbon 12, 13, and 14, as well as UNFOLD. In its next phase it aims to connect the impacts of climate change in distant parts of the globe with places where people actually live, both urban and rural, and in which people would need to change their behavior to affect the climate, fostering imaginative dialogue on climate adaptation. CF has increasingly worked to help artists engage with both science and local communities, because it views local adaptation and resilience as the greatest possible force for positive change. A grant in 2013 will help support new experiments in poetry as well as touring exhibits in Canada, Europe, the US, and, for the first year, China.

Citizen Engagement Laboratory CEL Collaboration Initiative $40,000
The Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL) works to shift culture and fundamentally change society by supporting, starting, and connecting organizations that use technology-fueled approaches to close the gap between the world we live in and the more just and equal world most of us want. CEL believes that the right combination of powerful communities collaborating with innovative strategies yields transformative results. CEL recognizes that scale, speed, and agility matter enormously in this new era of organizing, as technology reduces the time required to mobilize the masses to make their voices heard, and the next step for the progressive movement is to intentionally facilitate connection among online organizing groups to create a more clearly defined sector that is pushing together to advance a shared vision. CEL's Collaboration Initiative aims to help social change leaders sharing similar visions and strategies build collective knowledge, relationships and resources to aggregate their impact on culture, politics and corporate power for greater strength across constituencies and communities. Compton funds in 2013 support mapping out the Initiative's next steps and facilitating collaborative activities for field and movement building.

Culture Group General Support $35,000
The Culture Group is a collaboration of social change experts, artists, and creative producers seeking to advance progressive change through strategic, values-driven cultural organizing. The Culture Group facilitates the coordination of cultural producers and artists, progressive organizers, and thought leaders in cultural campaigns; conducts research and evaluation; and works to promote the value of cultural strategies in making change.__A 2013 grant will help The Culture Group build needed infrastructure to support organizing for social change by convening advocates, activists, and funders It will also support its work developing and disseminating new tools for designing, implementing, and evaluating cultural strategies. Artists have a unique ability to offer new visions of the world and our relationship to it; The Culture Group will tap creativity, an underused resource in most contemporary social and environmental activism, to help produce wins across the spectrum of progressive issues.

Game Changer Chicago Design Lab A Day in the Life $30,000
Ci3 is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Chicago that works to advance sexual and reproductive health. The Game Changer Chicago Design Lab is one of Ci3's signature initiatives using storytelling and game design in an asset-building framework to teach new skills, promote critical thinking, and advance sexual and reproductive health. A 2013 grant will support a game-based project to be designed with youth for youth. A Day in the Life is a 3D, single-player, role-playing game that simulates the everyday world of a high school student. The game uses storytelling to explore issues connected to social and emotional health within a larger social, political and economic milieu. Over the next year, Ci3 will prototype, playtest, and program the game, evaluating the game design experience, the gameplay experience, and its ability to disseminate the game widely.

Grist General Support $50,000
Grist uses storytelling to give the world a fresh take on sustainability. An independent, irreverent online media platform that engages broad audiences, Grist - founded in 1999 - has earned a reputation as an indispensable source of information and inspiration. Its mission is to set the agenda by showing how green is reshaping the world and to empower a new generation to make change. Best known for its daily news, Grist balances the 'quick-hit' storytelling of the news cycle with more in-depth looks at changemakers, trends, and critical issues. Grist partners with its monthly audience of 1,500,000 and growing to depict a new kind of sustainability, rooted in a better future for all. Grist has long used technology to rally support for sustainability. A 2013 grant will provide support for its efforts to embrace and experiment with the new array of tools and apps for telling - and gathering - compelling stories that can attract new readers, deepen their knowledge, and drive the conversation around climate and sustainability.

HighWaterLine Project General Support $50,000
In 2007, Eve Mosher used blue chalk to mark the streets of New York City to show how sea level rise due to climate change would flood city neighborhoods, bringing new attention to the local reality of global warming and generating hundreds of individual and community conversations about what climate change would mean to the people of New York. A 2013 grant will support Eve's new version of the HighWaterLine project in London and Miami. This round of work will be accomplished in partnership with climate change organizer Heidi Quante, and will replace the solo artist with community members, record personal conversations and map them to a more permanent digital high water line for each city, and integrate the projects into local climate change mitigation and adaptation planning. Their work will also contribute to the development of an online curriculum and set of resources that will eventually allow any community anywhere in the world to replicate the project.

Littleglobe COAL: A Musical Story $20,000
COAL is both a mythical, upbeat, touring, all-ages musical fable and a grassroots engagement campaign for creative local action. The story of COAL takes us to the heart of the paradox, benefits, and consequences of our fossil fuel based society. Through COAL, diverse audiences become participants in re-imagining our extractive culture with courage and heart. COAL is a multi-year endeavor of national scope. The central engagement strategy includes: The Musical Fable; COAL (Creative Organizing and Leadership) SPARKS who facilitate local community response groups; Post-Musical Community Dinner /Dance Party; and a social media portal. COAL leverages creative, imaginative capacity to drive down the carbon footprint. It is an invitation to explore the meaning behind our energy use. It is an inter-generational and beyond-the-choir conversation about who we are and what we will stand for. A 2013 grant from Compton will assist with final revisions and first performances of the piece.

Louisiana Bucket Brigade Art-to-Action $30,000
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) is named for the EPA-approved "bucket," an easy-to-use air sampling device that allows people who live next to dirty industries to document pollution in their neighborhoods. The organization uses science, community engagement, and media to change the story of Louisiana's economy from one defined by Big Oil's toxic legacy to one centered on healthy jobs and communities. LABB's citizen-generated data on oil spills and refinery accidents has contributed to enforcement actions by regulators and keeps industry accountable. Art runs deep in the history and culture of Louisiana, and a 2013 grant will help LABB harness that creative energy for social change by engaging with citizens, artists, media, and decision-makers to transform the dominant narrative. 2013 projects include: DRiL-BIT, an agile network that opportunistically deploys creative actions; Down by the River, which will bring people to the Mississippi River with multi-layered storytelling maps, bike tours, and site-specific theater performances; and Art Rig, which will provide collaborative platforms for artists and students to engage the public with compelling stories in graphic novels, mini-festivals, theater, and music.

Magnum Foundation General Support $50,000
The Magnum Foundation (MF) supports the development of emerging documentary photographers and the use of visual imagery to advance social change. It is particularly focused on how to help documentary photographers tell visual stories that go beyond newspaper, magazine, and book publishing, and is actively piloting linking photographers to community activists and organizers to advance specific causes, as well as experimenting with the power of new visual social media platforms. A general support grant will also help to support its Emergency Fund, which selects 10-15 passionate photographers working on under-reported issues related to social injustice each year from a pool of photographers nominated by international curators, publishers, and photo editors. MF has access to the entire historical archive of Magnum Photos, and will partner directly with other nonprofits to develop creative projects using archival pictures to drive or inspire social and environmental campaigns.

MapLight General Support $50,000
MapLight is an online political money tracker with timely, in-depth information about lawmakers, votes, interest groups, and ballot measures that illuminates the connection between campaign contributions and issues people care about. A 2013 grant will support its work to make the abstract issue of money in politics tangible and concrete in order to engage diverse audiences and inspire them to act. In addition to serving as a general resource for the public, MapLight provides free, custom data to issue advocates and journalists, which they can leverage to advance reform and policies in the public interest. By revealing the relationship between campaign donations and legislative votes, MapLight alters media coverage on important pending legislation, ensuring that stories include campaign contribution data.

Midway General Support $30,000
The documentary film Midway brings light to one of the most devastating environmental disasters of our time - the pollution of our oceans. Midway Atoll is home to the Laysan albatross, a magnificent creature that has inhabited Midway's coastline for centuries. Today, its natural habitat has become a virtual minefield of pollution as tons of plastic waste washes up on shore - killing these birds in untold numbers. This film explores the conundrum of beauty and suffering on Midway. It is a masterpiece of imagery that revels in the splendor of the island and its birds while turning an unflinching eye on their tragic deaths. It is both an elegiac tribute and an environmental wake-up call. Midway explores the interconnectedness of species, with the albatross as a reflection of our humanity. A 2013 grant will support final editing of the film with the goal of a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Moxie Institute Film Studio + Lab Let it Ripple $50,000
The Moxie Institute is a cutting-edge film studio for the 21st century. Led by Tiffany Shlain, founder of The Webby Awards, the team has premiered four films at Sundance and has won over 50 awards and distinctions for their work. A 2013 grant will support Let it Ripple, a short film series that spreads and deepens the concepts from their feature doc Connected, by creating "cloud films" - short films that incorporate clips submitted by people all over the world. Each short film addresses a shared quality that makes us human. Eventually they will be woven into a compelling feature film. All of the films in the Let it Ripple series are available for free customization for any_nonprofit organization that wants to use the film to benefit its work for social change, innovating fresh ways to use film and new technologies to connect individuals and institutions worldwide. Over 500 organizations currently use the series for their outreach, and the number is growing.

New York Foundation for the Arts Soldiers' Stories $30,000
Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan is a photographic art project that reveals the invisible ways that war affects individual veterans and their families and gives voice to the large unseen and underserved veteran population, generating opportunities for soldier and civilian dialogue. Artist Jennifer Karady works with American veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create photographs that depict their individual stories and reveal their difficulties in adjusting to civilian life. After an extensive interview process with the veteran and his or her family, she collaborates with the veteran to restate a memory from war within the context of home during a carefully planned photo shoot. The collapse of the soldier's world and the civilian world enables the viewer to glimpse a fragment of what is going on in the soldier's mind, and evokes the psychology of life after war. A Compton grant will support the research and production of new photographs that will help complete the series of 25, with a target completion date of September 2015.

Peace is Loud General Support $25,000
Peace is Loud works to generate a groundswell of people committed to building a culture of peace. It seeks to inspire action through live events and media that spotlight the frontline leadership of women peacebuilders worldwide. With 2013 support, it will launch SPEAK Peace, a speakers bureau connecting women peacebuilders with growing audiences. Featured speakers will include Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee of Liberia. Through SEE Peace, Peace is Loud will also continue to amplify viewership for independent films on women and peace, encouraging audiences to see themselves as peacebuilders. It is currently sharing the acclaimed documentary series Women, War & Peace - from filmmakers Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker - with a global audience. Peace is Loud is also planning outreach efforts for a new film from Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker in partnership with Zainab Salbi, the highly regarded founder of Women for Women International. The new film, currently in pre-production, chronicles the roles of women in the Arab uprisings.

Quivira Coalition The Carbon Ranch $10,000
The Quivira Coalition was founded to expand a 'radical center' among ranchers, conservationists, scientists, and public land managers by focusing on progressive cattle management, riparian and upland restoration, and improved land health. Its work has expanded to address building the ecological and economic resilience of communities and landscapes. The Carbon Ranch Project explores and shares climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that sequester CO2 in soils and plants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce multiple benefits for communities. Compton funds will provide the last needed funding to support completion of the book Carbon Country before publication by Chelsea Green Press.

Real Food Media Project General Support $40,000
Real Food Media Project (RFMP) takes on the 'myths' we tell ourselves about the food we buy, prepare, and eat, serving as a movement resource that amplifies the messages of the thousands of organizations working on sustainable food and farming around the country. The Project shares information about the costs and crisis of the industrial food system and tells positive stories about sustainable food systems through short online movies, a web-based action and resource center, and grassroots workshops presented in collaboration with a strong coalition of sustainable food and farming partners, seeking to motivate millions to get involved in food system change and provide opportunities for those already involved to deepen their commitment. Compton funds in 2013 will support the Project's latest initiatives, including the launch of an online movie contest to solicit and promote compelling short movies about food and farming. RFMP plans to target young filmmakers as a way of engaging the next generation of media makers in sustainability, and taps its high profile celebrity panel of judges in both the food and film industries to attract young hopefuls wanting to make a name for themselves.

Story of Stuff Project Community Engagement Initiative $40,000
The Story of Stuff Project released its first video, The Story of Stuff, in December 2007. Over the last six years, its library of short films has garnered more than 40 million views and it has used those films to grow and activate an online community dedicated to building a more sustainable and just economy. A grant in 2013 will fund its pilot efforts to experiment with the intersection of online and offline organizing, including an innovative online boot camp for the changemakers in its 400,000+ member community and three community-generated campaigns: to reduce plastic pollution, grow the sharing economy, and end political corruption by getting money out of politics. If successful, participants will develop and drive future campaigns where they live and work, and each campaign will be integrated into existing partner organization actions.

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund $50,000
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) is a global resource for nonfiction filmmakers who are using documentary to amplify issues, activate audiences, and accelerate change. Through a range of creative and financial support and innovative international partnerships, the DFP supports artists who are harnessing the power of contemporary documentary storytelling. Documentary Fellows are encouraged to experiment and take risks in various residential 'labs' designed to mentor them throughout the lifecycle of a documentary film project. Labs focus on skills such as story development, editing, sound and music production, overall producing, and audience engagement. With a 2013 grant, the DFP will sustain its full range of activities and will expand its work in the area of social impact with R&D for a new "impact lab," to be piloted in 2014.

UltraViolet Reproductive Justice Program $50,000
UltraViolet is a new and rapidly growing community of women and men across the US mobilized to fight sexism and expand women's rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture. UltraViolet works on a range of issues, including health care, economic security, violence, and reproductive rights. UltraViolet believes sexism is both ubiquitous and unacceptable. It combines innovative, cutting-edge organizing with grassroots, people-powered actions to fight for equality and progress. A Compton grant in 2013 will support UltraViolet's leadership in organizing the grassroots to advance reproductive health rights through digital mobilization strategies; strategic communications, including media and cultural change activities; and the development of partnerships and collaborations with diverse groups, including those working with young people and communities of color at the national level and in key battleground states.

University of Oregon Ecosystem Workforce Program $40,000
The Ecosystem Workforce Program (EWP) at the University of Oregon conducts applied research on environmental and socioeconomic issues in the American West. Its peer-reviewed work responds to real world needs and provides critical data to support the next rural economy. EWP is part of a community-based movement that believes rural people can make a living by helping the land live. It works alongside local, rural organizations to tell stories that illuminate and accelerate rural resilience. While community groups share their specific experience, EWP's research demonstrates how widespread and systemic those community experiences are and, in doing so, opens dialogues about potential market and policy solutions. A grant in 2013 will support EWP's work with the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition, as well as in the Cascade Mountains and with regional decision-making at the Oregon Federal Forest Advisory Committee and the Northwest Fire Science Consortium.

Washington Progress Fund Washingon Hero's Narrative Project $50,000
The Washington Progress Fund believes that it is the lack of a unified progressive narrative that keeps us from winning at the scale of the problems we face. It has worked with top communicators across the state and country to develop a unified narrative to build the power of the progressive movement over time and across issues. The narrative is not a set of messages or talking points, but a framework using the ancient human art of storytelling, with a hero, villain, struggle, and quest. Whether the heroes are working on reproductive rights, climate change, or economic justice, they stand up for what's right. They defend a democracy based on the power of the people, working together to make things better; they are the everyday Americans who go above and beyond, making a difference in their communities and for our country. Compton support in 2013 will allow the Fund to apply the lessons it has learned to an updated version of the Handbook, train allied organizations and model campaigns, improve the narrative's effectiveness for young people and communities of color, develop a national hub for this kind of narrative work, and incorporate visual storytelling into the project.

WITNESS General Support $40,000
WITNESS sees the potential for every citizen to be a witness, documenting and fighting human rights abuses. It works with local organizations in the US and around the world to use video to expose injustice, partnering on campaigns with human rights groups and training human rights defenders. WITNESS also works with companies to develop technologies to preserve and authenticate video so that it can be used as evidence, and to protect the identity of the brave individuals who often risk their lives appearing in or recording this footage and getting it out to the public. It has launched the first designated human rights channel on YouTube and is expanding its networked approach, assisting multiple groups within a country working on similar issues and goals in order to increase impact. Compton funds will provide more equipment, surge capacity, and training in how to broadcast stories to bring about change.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars National Energy Game $30,000
Television, radio, film, and policy reports deliver information in one way - typically rendering their audiences passive and rarely changing minds or behavior. Because that leaves citizens unable to engage in the conversations we urgently need about complex policy issues, the Wilson Center helped to launch the serious games movement. Good serious games are storytelling tools grounded in reality that move beyond the linear narratives of most media. They give players an interactive vocabulary to build and learn from stories they create and manipulate, growing player insight into policy choices and outcomes. In 2008, the Wilson Center, with American Public Media, launched Budget Hero, which has since been played more than 1.7 million times. A 2013 grant will support the pilot phase of a new game about the US energy system. Produced in partnership with Focus the Nation and the US Department of Energy, the game will allow players to explore the entire system from a range of perspectives - science, policy, supply versus demand, fuel switching, various technological interventions - while receiving feedback about their choices in terms of energy use, carbon emissions, costs, system resilience, and other social, economic, and environmental impacts. Driven by a desire to build an 'energy literate' citizenry, the game has the potential to radically change the way the American public understands our energy system, to alter the available policy choices to address climate change, and to transform individual and community behavior.

Rapid Response and Convening Grants
Chicken & Egg Pictures Reproductive Rights Convening $15,000
Chicken and Egg Pictures (C&E) is a film fund dedicated to supporting women documentary filmmakers with direct grants as well as mentoring, networking, and other support. A 2013 Compton grant was used to support the early distribution of After Tiller, which tells the story of the last four remaining doctors in the US who perform third trimester abortions, exploring the complexity and challenges faced by the doctors and their patients. After Tiller launched the REEL REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE film cohort, a group of six films supported by C&E that will be released over the next two years, and around which it is developing a state-by-state engagement strategy. C&E convened a meeting of state reproductive justice activists around the screening of After Tiller at the True/False festival in Columbia, Missouri, culminating in a real-time festival experience, local press that leveraged the story in the region, and a statewide strategy that will serve as a model for all the films in the cohort. Co-designed and facilitated by C&E and Working Films, the purpose of this meeting was three-fold: 1) forge a community of filmmakers, reproductive justice leaders and donor-activists committed to both the issues and the collective power of these films; 2) develop a shared strategy that maximizes the individual and collective distribution and engagement opportunities of the films, 3) talk about the role of these stories as catalysts for honest conversation, public policy transformation, and base-building.

HATCH Project Support for HATCH $15,000
HATCH is a new initiative to bring together artists and leaders in the government, nonprofit, and business sectors to solve problems and transform communities. HATCH aims to fuel a paradigm shift that would bring art and creativity into the center of social change strategies, locally and nationally. HATCH believes that art and creativity are essential ingredients for solving problems and transforming our communities. Art can propel dramatic social change in ways that policy prescriptions alone cannot. Yet the role of creativity remains poorly understood by most policymakers and advocates, and creative strategies are under-utilized and often disconnected from policy efforts. A 2013 grant will support HATCH's programs, including: community-based HATCH-Ups that bring together cross-sector leaders to deepen relationships, build innovative collaborations and address community problems; small grants to support those collaborations; a national network of HATCH cities; a learning community in each host city; and documentation and evaluation in order to share best practices.
2012 Grants
3P Human Security General Support $40,000
3P Human Security amplifies the voices of civil society peacebuilders in conflict zones, sharing their stories and solutions directly with US policymakers and military personnel to improve US policy for peace. 3P has given delegations from Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Pakistan direct access to Congressional offices and the President’s National Security Council so that US policy and actions abroad are informed by the voices of local citizens who will be affected by their decisions. A Compton grant will support 3P's merger into the Alliance for Peacebuilding, an organization linking peacebuilders, human rights activists, development actors, and security experts.

Air Traffic Control Education Fund, Inc. General Support $50,000
Air Traffic Control Education Fund (ATC) helps musicians engage in social and environmental change by mobilizing their fans, other artists, and the public in a variety of specific actions to advance agendas on complex issues like climate change and human rights. The organization provides resources, tools, and access to musicians and managers, helping them create more effective collaborations with one another and with advocacy organizations. ATC’s research and methodologies amplify stories, bring needed resources to social change advocacy in terms of un-tapped creativity, targeted audiences, press, and funding, and ultimately leverage artists’ efforts to maximize the potential of their activities in the limited amount of time they have to engage on social and environmental issues. A 2012 grant will support these efforts and allow ATC to explore expanding its network to include comedians and other cultural leaders.

Art of Revolution One Million Bones 2013 Art Installation $50,000
One Million Bones is a social arts practice. It brings together the power of art making and public art installation to inspire, engage, and educate the public about the tragedy of genocide and need for better American policy to prevent future suffering. The project sponsors events in schools and community settings to help individuals make bones for public installations from clay, paper mache, and other materials. The bone is a symbol of people lost, and people who survive and struggle. It is a symbol of a fundamental human connection; we all have bones, they are our structure, they hold us up. In creating bones, participants learn about violence in far away nations and make connections to their own experiences to reveal the commonalities that bind us together as humans. The projectÕs coordinators have already worked with over 500 schools and many dozens of community, civic, and faith-based organizations in 43 states and 11 countries. The One Million Bones project will culminate in an event June 8-10, 2013 on the Washington Mall displaying the 1,000,000 bones.

Cape Farewell General Support $50,000
Cape Farewell believes that one salient image, novel, or song can speak louder than volumes of scientific data to engage public imagination. It takes artists and scientists on journeys to the world’s tipping points, leading to further research and the production of pioneering new work. These expeditions—to the high Arctic, the Amazon, and islands under threat of sea level rise—are the heart of the Cape Farewell portfolio. Each trip aims to evoke a cultural response to the true scale of how the earth’s environment and climate are changing. Major partnerships and projects this year include: Cynthia Hopkins and her avant-folk opera, ‘This Clement World;’ exhibitions Carbon 12 in Paris, featuring Erika Blumenfeld, and Carbon 13 at Ballroom Marfa in Texas; Mel Chin and the Phytology Program in London; and Sea Change in the Scottish Isles.

Capital Institute Field Guide to a Regenerative Economy $50,000
The Capital Institute has dedicated itself to pioneering a new understanding of wealth grounded in an understanding of the limits of the planet. It will soon publish a paper outlining a breakthrough vision of "regenerative capitalism." To illuminate this vision, it has launched the Field Guide initiative. The newest Field Guide, The Next (Regenerative) Industrial Age: The Story of the Manufacturing Renaissance Campaign has been released as a digitally enhanced ebook, including video, music, photos, spoken word, and text. Each project described in the guides will exhibit the resilient qualities of natural systems. A grant from Compton will support the continued development of the series, which identifies business models capable of catalyzing systemic change in alignment with the resiliency found in natural systems.

Center for Health and Gender Equity General Support $40,000
Women and men sharing personal stories with policy makers give the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) a powerful tool to change public discourse and legislative action around sexual and reproductive health and rights. Storytelling removes reproductive rights from heated political debates and instead generates conversations around real-life experiences. A 2012 grant will enable CHANGE to develop a toolkit for advocates working on domestic and global health issues that will highlight specific stories and outline effective ways to use stories in advocacy. CHANGE will also engage women from the Global South in advocacy with US policy makers, bringing their stories to bear on decision making in Washington that impacts them at home. CHANGE will leverage social media to increase the reach of these stories. Using its deep connections to varied coalitions, it will build bridges among maternal health, HIV, and family planning groups in the US and globallyÑusing stories to illustrate the interconnectedness of these issues in US foreign and domestic policy.

Center for Responsive Politics General Support $50,000
The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is the nation's premier research, reporting, and analysis group tracking money in US politics and its profound effect on elections and policy. CRP provides user-friendly online and mobile tools on, CRP's website, as well as custom data, on-demand, for journalists, activists, and scholars. It seeks to enable citizens to understand the data by providing easy access to reliable information about how money fuels politics. Compton support in 2012 will help CRP connect the dots between special interests and their money, legislative agendas, and influence, and tell persuasive stories grounded in facts and data that encourage citizens to take notice and take action to protect our democracy.

Communications Consortium Media Center Collaborative Strategies to Amplify Women's Voices and Stories in 2012 $50,000
Collaborative Strategies to Amplify Women's Voices and Stories in 2012 is a strategic messaging and communications campaign among key partners in the HERvotes coalition (HER stands for Health and Economic Rights) and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. We are particularly interested in elevating voices that too often are unheard in public discourse. We will move our policy work by spotlighting those courageous individuals and leaders behind the many advances for women that are at risk, including the Affordable Care Act and Title X (the national family planning program). A grant to CCMC for HERvotes will enable clear, consistent, and message-tested communications about women’s health to be shared broadly across over 50 organizations working to ensure women’s access to quality health care.

Corporate Accountability International Real Food Media Project $40,000
Nationally renowned author Anna Lappé’s Real Food Media Project aims to help educate, inspire, and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming. The collaborative effort brings together a coalition of food and farming organizations to develop short animated videos and documentaries, as well as an online resource center. Most Americans don’t know the true environmental, economic, and social costs of our food system. This project provides a clear narrative about the crisis of industrial agriculture and the benefits of sustainable food systems. It works to: 1) debunk myths about the sustainable food movement and shape a new national dialogue; 2) spread the stories of solutions—local and national policies and community-based efforts—that are fostering sustainable and fair food systems across the country; and 3) connect people to groups on the ground working to transform the food system. The project’s first two short “Food Heroes” documentaries and its animated video (taking on the myth that we need industrial agriculture to feed the world) will launch on Food Day 2012 at

Ecotrust E3 Network: The Future Economy Project $50,000
The Future Economy project is a two-year initiative to catalyze and disseminate innovative thinking in economics about the transition to a green economy. It aims to build a community of scholars at the cutting edge of research in this emerging field who will become recognized experts and spokespeople for the transition. Evidence of an emerging transition to a green economy can be found in communities across the US. However, despite growing popular support, surprisingly little research has been done in economics to document the transitions underway or to understand their broader economic implications. The Future Economy Project will build from the current E3 network of economists to form a ÔtaskforceÕ to undertake this research. The project features a competitive call for papers, a workshop to establish a common methodology and framework for analyzing the transitions, and a peer-reviewed selection of papers to be published by E3 in 2014.

Exhale General Support $40,000
Exhale envisions a world where women and men are able to share their experiences with abortion and be heard. The organization believes that through listening and sharing stories, people become empowered, expand their understanding and compassion, and change culture. Over the past ten years, Exhale has provided support for thousands of women and men through its after-abortion talkline. The talkline community has been a catalyst for the emergence of a pro-voice movement that is shaping conversation and thinking about personal experiences with abortion. In ExhaleÕs latest project, Sharing our Stories: ExhaleÕs National Pro-Voice Tour, six fellows will travel to college campuses across country with the pro-voice message. A general support grant will provide flexible funding as Exhale expands its engagement in culture change and movement building.

Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc. InClimate Action $30,000
Performance artist Martha Wilson founded Franklin Furnace to champion fleeting art forms neglected by mainstream institutions. Franklin Furnace preserves and documents records of events by emerging contemporary avant-garde artists it presents on its website. It also supports a community of artists through the Franklin Furnace Fund, often launching the careers of emerging performance artists and presenting new installations. A grant to Franklin Furnace will support InClimate, a public art project focused on climate change that will be located in each of the five boroughs of New York City. InClimate will commission work from 11 artists/collaborations who will each partner with a scientist and some with a community organization to present their work. InClimate’s curator, Regina Cornwall, employs art in the battle against climate change because she believes that art can deliver ideas, stir emotions, spark conversation, ignite healthy controversy, and awaken the spirit in ways that will inspire people to think and act in fresh new ways.

Futurefarmers General Support $40,000
Artist Amy Franceschini employs a variety of media, including dynamic websites, installations, open-access laboratories, and traveling shows, that challenge our assumptions about the world around us, both real and imagined. Her pieces highlight routines in daily life as ways to participate in activism and sustainable practices, often connected to food and agriculture. Committed to collaboration in her work, she founded the art collective Futurefarmers in 1995. Futurefarmers is a design studio of diverse practitioners-artists, researchers, designers, architects, illustrators, scientists, and farmers-who believe that Òart can contribute to the envisioning and activating of a more just world,Ó and are committed to making work that can catalyze social and environmental change. A grant to Futurefarmers will support a series of projects joined by the idea of learning through doing, connecting the mind and the hand in co-creation, under the umbrella title of Knowledge by Hand.

Global Press Institute General Support $25,000
The Global Press Institute (GPI) is a worldwide news organization that uses journalism to solve two pressing global challenges: women's empowerment and the decline of quality international reporting. GPI educates and employs female reporters in the developing world, elevating global awareness and catalyzing social change by giving voice and livelihoods to women and distributing their stories locally and internationally. GPI's journalists, as natural storytellers with local knowledge and access, report on issues in their countries and communities—including the impacts of climate change, the crisis in women’s reproductive health, and gender issues in post-conflict countries—that are often ignored by foreign news media. Their authentic reporting changes the way the world views their people and cultures. GPI operates news desks in 25 countries and has trained and employed more than 130 women around the world. Thanks to its syndication partnerships, over 5 million people in 160 countries read GPI stories every year.

Grand Canyon Trust What Our Forests Could Be $30,000
When we cannot see an alternative, it is almost impossible to commit to change. Much of our public land in the West has been so heavily used that it is hard to imagine what it might look like as a healthy, functioning forest or grassland. With this project, the Grand Canyon Trust (GCT) hopes to fill that gap, producing ten compelling photo stories that convey the native biodiversity, ecosystem services, and beauty of three national forests in Utah. The photos will show places where livestock grazing is carefully managed to support restoration or has been halted entirely in side-by-side comparison with land that is less sustainably grazed. The project aims to show Forest Service staff, as well as the public, what might happen with changes in grazing management, inspiring decision makers by showing them what is possible. All three forests will be writing new plans for managing grazing in 2013, and GCT hopes that this project will provide support for plans that include a variety of grazing management options.

Grist Magazine General Support $50,000
Grist will use colorful, compassionate storytelling to spotlight the path to a sustainable future. We will portray sustainable solutions taking shape at the grassroots in the realms of climate, energy, food systems, and more. We will give our audience a national platform to share their own stories, building a broad, diverse movement for change. Because storytelling in the 21st century is collaborative, fluid, and community-based, we will build upon our core journalism to experiment with new ways of reaching and engaging people. We will profile innovative individuals and groups making progress on the ground; offer explainers that make complex topics accessible; and provide opportunities to share tips for taking action.

Lexicon of Sustainability Project Research + Community Engagement $30,000
Over the last three years, photographer and media artist Douglas Gayeton has crisscrossed the United States to learn the new language of sustainability from its foremost practitioners in food and farming—from Alice Waters to Wes Jackson, Joel Salatin, and Will Allen. He translated their insights into large format ‘information art’ etched photo collages and a series of short films. Study guides, a book, a traveling show, and a website where people can dig deeper into these terms (and add to the ever-evolving lexicon) are also under development. His next project is to take on climate change, including energy, water, transportation, and green jobs. A Compton grant will support the research and development phase as he identifies 100 innovations and solutions in the climate conversation and the thought leaders behind them. Over the next year, the list will be completed and he will produce three sample pieces based on this preliminary work. The new project aims to demystify the most complex aspects of the climate crisis by transforming its central principles into engaging, memorable, and useful visual experiences.

Magnum Foundation General Support $40,000
The Magnum Foundation (MF) believes in the transformative power of narrative-driven photography and is dedicated to exploiting this power to raise awareness, foster empathy, engage communities, and activate collaborations. With support from the Compton Foundation, MF will develop ambitious, site-specific projects that will explore new models of visual storytelling to expand understanding of and engagement in key global issues. Specifically, MF will implement three projects that will engage public audiences in a variety of photo essays that explore such topics as the plight of refugees, the precariousness of housing, and the dearth of healthy food options in low-income, urban communities.

MapLight General Support $50,000
MapLight combines timely, in-depth information about lawmakers, votes, and interest groups to reveal money’s influence on politics. Our research helps activate a narrative of money-driven corruption across various issue areas that can be leveraged to advance reform in the public interest. This year we will: 1) Uncover connections between campaign contributions and legislative votes and publish stories illustrating the impact of this influence on the issues affecting citizens' everyday lives. 2) Provide free, custom money and politics research for social change agents to help them build compelling narratives that spur progressive and democratic change. We will reach 60 million people over the next year with our data, building a public discourse supportive of reform and a more responsive democracy.

Mesa Refuge General Support $30,000
Mesa Refuge is a retreat center at the tip of Tomales Bay that has nurtured more than 500 writers focused on environmental and social change. In the wetlands and gardens above the bay, writers can develop their stories without the distractions of everyday life. It is a secluded place where creative thinkers find inspiration, have breakthroughs, and finish important projects. Mesa hosts writers for two-week sessions in groups of three, enabling solitude and space, as well as community. It has a track record of supporting powerful work on water policy, environmental protection, peace and security, social equity, and rural economic and environmental sustainability. Past residents have included Rinku Sen, Mark Hertsgaard, Ed Marston, Rebecca Solnit, Kathleen Dean Moore, and Bryant Terry. A 2012 grant will help to support residencies for writers with the potential to reach broad audiences and inspire action.

Mosaic Multicultural Foundation General Support $30,000
Mosaic creates networks of artists, community activists, healers, and spiritual teachers focused on individual and community healing. Mosaic projects combine traditional narrative with contemporary political insights to reveal new cultural patterns. A grant to Mosaic will fund its work supporting at-risk youth, refugees, combat veterans, elders, and communities under stress, finding common ground between those in opposition, and shaping ceremonies that unite people by reconnecting them to meaningful traditions and sacred ecologies of place, and helping them transform personal struggles into creative expression. The organization seeks remedies for the alienation, ecological degradation, and personal isolation that increasingly characterize modern life. In the midst of radical change of our culture and environment, Mosaic searches deep tradition for stories that can provide moments of wholeness, renewal, and resilience.

Moxie Institute Let it RIpple: Mobile Films for Global Change $50,000
We seek general support to further the reach, scope, and impact of the Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change project, which provides nonprofit organizations across the globe with free short films that engage people in the social, political, and cultural issues shaping the world around us. We will be releasing 20 of these films over the next 4 years, all of which center on human themes such as interdependence, civic engagement, happiness, empathy, failure, wisdom, gratitude, death, and love. The Let it Ripple series uses a new collaborative filmmaking concept that we are calling Cloud Filmmaking: ‘cloudsourcing’ creativity and giving back by offering customized versions of the film to any nonprofit working to make the world a better place.

On the Commons A Catalogue of Extinct Experience $35,000
A Catalogue of Extinct Experience (CEE) is a multi-media, large-scale sensory installation of experiences extinct or endangered due to human carelessness. It will open on a small ‘maquette’ scale at the Presidio in San Francisco in the fall of 2012 and then in its full form at Fort Mason in the fall of 2013. The essence of CEE is experiential: tasting honey made by endangered bees from endangered plants, smelling a fragrance or seeing a color derived from endangered plants, taking in the night sky uncompromised by bright city lights, hearing an extinct language from its last speaker, hearing the sounds of extinct and endangered habitats. Because it is experiential, each visitor will bring their own associations and memories to the installation, ultimately realizing the consequences of the choices we make.

Open Democracy Stories of Transformation $40,000
Transformation is a new section of the website Open Democracy designed to tell the stories of those who are exploring boundary-breaking solutions in politics, economics, and social activism by bringing personal and social change together into one, integrated process. In the US today, inequality is at an all-time high, politics are gridlocked, ideological differences are deeply-rooted, and no substantial progress has been made in tackling the huge environmental challenges of the future; therefore, we need transformative solutions that can break through the limitations of our current economic paradigm, political system, and social order. This start up project will help those working on transformative change to get their message out to a much larger audience by building on Open Democracy's communications infrastructure.

Opportunity Agenda Creative Change $20,000
Creative Change is designed to strengthen the work of cultural organizers, artists, and advocates and to create a network through which they can vet and develop innovative work that moves hearts, mind, and policy. The Opportunity Agenda's work at the intersection of arts and social justice includes: 1) Hosting annual Creative Change retreats in 2012 and 2013, bringing together artists, cultural organizers, and activists who are connected by storytelling for social change, and 2) Building the Creative Change alumni network, to concretely and more regularly connect artists, cultural leaders, and art organizations with social justice advocacy efforts, and to lift up emerging works and voices.

Other 98% General Support $30,000
Big corporations and rogue billionaires have used the legalized corruption of the lobbying and campaign finance system to steal our democracy and rig the economic rules in their favor. This is the central truth of American politics. We need a vibrant movement comprised of people from all walks of life if we are to right these wrongs. To succeed, our movement must create more compelling national narratives. With a strong track record of high impact street actions, savvy online campaigning, edgy storytelling, and a history of playing well with others, The Other 98% brings a unique approach to this taskÑa netroots movement with an impressive art department. A grant in 2012 will support its innovative messaging and fun, web videos, infographics, and television commercials around the issue of money in politics.

Rebuild the Dream General Support $30,000
Rebuild the Dream (RTD) is growing a grassroots movement to shift the narrative in this country to focus on what we used to call the American Dream. The American Dream has inspired many generations of Americans to work hard to attain a better life for themselves and their children. Unfortunately, we are watching the collapse of the dream as the cost of education goes up, good jobs become increasingly scarce, and homeownership becomes hopelessly out of reach for many. RTD’s 600,000 members are reinserting hope into the conversation by building a movement for economic justice that engages Americans’ hearts. A 2012 grant from the Compton Foundation will allow RTD to link more intentionally with grassroots artists, creative writers, musicians, and celebrities in order to reach people who do not usually participate in the political process, and to encourage them to raise their voices on the subjects of economic justice, fairness, and the American Dream.

Resource Media Leveraging Visual Storytelling $40,000
Resource Media helps nonprofit organizations working on environment and public health issues develop and execute communications strategies and campaigns. It has been at the forefront of helping traditional conservation organizations learn how to work with local communities to identify shared environmental priorities and how to work across sectors, with partners like farmers, hunters and anglers, clergy, and small business owners. A grant to Resource Media this year will help it similarly lead the nonprofit field in the arena of visual storytelling, responding to a critical lack of attention to images in most advocacy campaigns. Resource Media will gather and share the most current psychology and decision neuroscience research, as well as best practices in visual campaigning, providing the nonprofit sector with data on, and examples of, the ways in which images can persuade people to change beliefs and behaviors.

RH Reality Check General Support $50,000
RH Reality Check (RHRC) is the leading daily online source of news, analysis, commentary, and investigative research on the policy and politics of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice. RHRC harnesses new media tools to expand the reach of its articles and commentary. It provides original reporting, rebuts misinformation, reaches policymakers, journalists, and new audiences in the general public, and promotes dialogue among different sectors of the movement. A grant from Compton will allow RHRC to build capacity to expand the website: to grow its readership, build partnerships with other web content providers, and cover international reproductive health and rights issues.

smartMeme General Support $40,000
SmartMeme/Center for Story-based Strategy develops powerful narratives to amplify grassroots action, reframe debates, and incite public imagination. It is a national strategy center dedicated to harnessing the power of story for social change, and has trained more than 4,000 activists and consulted on over 200 campaigns since it was founded in 2002. The organization acts on the belief that we are in a decisive moment in historyÑa time of intersecting crises that requires creative and bold action that targets the root causes of our systemic problems, like the myths that uphold our status quo. A general support grant from Compton will enable the Center to increase its training offerings for hundreds of progressive leaders and partner with leading-edge alliances to win victories for people and planet.

Washington Progress Fund Washington Values Narrative Project $50,000
The lack of a unified story constrains a movement's ability to win at scale. Typically, when organizations working on health care, education, immigration, money in politics, reproductive rights, or environmental conservation win individual victories, they do not build on each other, nor do they reach beyond each issue base to build a larger base of political power. The Washington Values Narrative Project project aims to change that. In the first year of the project, the Washington Progress Fund hosted a drafting retreat, conducted state and national opinion and values research including focus groups and polling, produced the online Hero’s Handbook training tool, and trained over 600 people. A grant from Compton will help refine the second version of the Handbook, continue the work to unify the silos of those working for progress under a common, hero-driven story, and build the infrastructure for a wide range of organizations to deliver the story in the context of their advocacy campaigns.

WITNESS General Support $40,000
WITNESS uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. In our experience, real impact comes from empowering grassroots activists with the right tools, skills, and support so they can share their stories with those who can make a difference. Twenty years into our existence, the potential of video to fuel massive social change has never been greater. This year, we will work to grow a technology environment with safe tools and rules for social justice and human rights advocacy. These efforts will ultimately foster a new landscape where any concerned citizen with a camera can catalyze movement for change.

WNET Women, War & Peace Outreach $25,000
Women, War & Peace, a five-part series exploring women's strategic role in conflict and peacebuilding, aired in the fall of 2011 on PBS. The series is a co-production of Fork Films and THIRTEEN in association with WNET and ITVS. In five episodes, the series demonstrates that women have moved to the center of contemporary war zones, finding themselves increasingly targeted as civilians as well as risking their lives to call for peace and justice. To extend public engagement around the crucial issues showcased in the series, WNET and Fork Films have launched a comprehensive outreach and audience engagement campaign in communities across the country and around the world.

Rapid Response and Convening Grants
Advocates for Youth 1 in 3 Campaign Storytelling Convening $10,000
Advocates for Youth’s 1 in 3 Campaign uses storytelling to engage ‘millennial’ youth in efforts to de-stigmatize abortion and ultimately create a more enabling cultural environment to underpin policy and legal efforts to ensure safe, affordable abortion access for all women. A day-long convening in late summer/early fall 2012 will bring together approximately ten abortion storytelling efforts to provide an opportunity to learn from one another and to enhance collaboration among these initiatives.

AfterImage Public Media The Island President $10,000
The Island President tells the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. Bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater climate change challenge: a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives enough to make them uninhabitable. In advance of the film's theatrical release, we will set up strategic engagement screenings to raise awareness in the necessary political circles in Washington, environmental circles in San Francisco, and media circles in New York.

Faith Aloud General Support $10,000
Faith Aloud mobilizes the progressive religious community to uphold the values of personal autonomy and healthy sexuality. It has used creative means of communciation to build support for positive messages about female sexuality and accurate science in regard to reproductive health. A 2012 rapid response grant will allow the organization to continue to ensure that false and misleading remarks about reproductive health and rights, often couched in religious terms, do not go unchallenged.

New Media Advocacy Project Gender Justice Uncovered Awards Video $10,000
New Media Advocacy Project (N-MAP) is partnering with Women’s Link Worldwide to develop a video and messaging strategy for the 4th annual global Gender Justice Uncovered Awards, an innovative project that seeks to highlight the best and the worst judicial decisions affecting women in the past year. Using a unique combination of human rights advocacy and new media technology, N-Map will craft a short animated video to breathe life into the stories behind the legal decisions. The video will be used to highlight the awards, garner nominations and votes, expand the reach of the project, and spread knowledge about the judicial process, gender justice, and the importance of courts in realizing human rights worldwide.

Noujaim Films Solar Mamas $10,000
Solar Mamas is a full-length documentary film that will be part of the Why Poverty? BBC series. It follows Rafea, a Bedouin woman who lives with her four daughters in Jordan, as she is given the chance to travel to India to attend Barefoot College, where illiterate women from around the world are trained in six months to become solar engineers. The filmmakers sensitively show the challenges she faces from her family and her husband, as well as the joy she discovers in learning a skill, working with other women, and helping her family and her village.

Grantee Facts

Groundswell Fund

Project Name:
Catalyst Fund

Amount Granted: