2014 Annual Report

Welcome to the 2014 Stone Soup Films Interactive Annual Report!

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01
A Letter from Stone Soup’s Executive Director, Liz Norton

One summer day, on a film shoot for the DC Diaper Bank, we pulled up to a row house in SE Washington with faded red shutters and cracked shingles. From our car, we could see a sweet little boy’s face in the window, waving at us with a huge grin on his face. Clearly he had been expecting our arrival.

He was the baby of Carolyn, a young mom struggling with mental health issues, fighting to get her act together, so she could be a stable parent. We interviewed her in the one room of her small apartment that had a fan so we could beat the heat. And her story of not having to worry about where she was going to get diapers for her son because of the good work of the DC Diaper Bank moved the whole crew to tears.

This is Stone Soup Films in a nutshell. Finding a way to connect people with the stories of terrific nonprofits who are, each in their own way, improving the lives of so many people in our community. Stories that would, sadly, remain untold without our help.

That’s the front of the store. In the back, our dedicated staff works tirelessly to keep the trains running on time so we can reach as many of our applicants as possible. We rocked it out in 2014 because we:

  • Created our first organizational strategic plan;

  • Produced and delivered 20 films;

  • Reached over 400 nonprofit professionals through workshops and consultations;

  • Successfully piloted our new fee-based model as a revenue source; and

  • Won the “Best Overall Storymaker” award in TechSoup’s national contest for our Hope House short film, “Camp Counselor Tyron”.

None of this would be possible without the incredibly generous and loyal support of our donors. I’ve never been prouder of our work, our staff, our incredibly hard-working Board and Advisory Council, and of the hundreds of volunteers who constantly step up to offer their skills in service to their community. Kind of makes you hopeful for the future of mankind.

Stay tuned!

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Liz Norton, Executive Director

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History & Mission

Our History

Stone Soup Films launched in 2008 to help local nonprofits promote their work. Started by Liz Norton, Executive Director, and two volunteers, the organization derives its name from a common folktale in which a great famine causes villagers to hoard their food. During this tragic time, weary travelers searching to fill their empty stomachs arrive in a new town. When the local villagers shun them, the clever travelers start making a soup with water and “magic stones”. Soon the curious and hungry villagers donate ingredients to make stone soup, a tasty meal for everyone. This folktale symbolizes our values of collaboration, empowerment, and respect that bring talented individuals together to tell the stories of local nonprofits transforming the lives of those in need.

Our Mission

Stone Soup mobilizes professional talent to produce compelling pro bono films that support nonprofits in communicating more powerfully. Crafting more meaningful messages and telling better stories empowers both leaders and the organizations they head, making them better champions of their cause. Since 2008, we have successfully produced and donated films for 60 organizations. This amounts to approximately $1.2 million of pro bono film and media services. To view our films online, please visit our website.

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Program Highlights

In 2014, Stone Soup produced 20 nonprofit films with a combined pro bono value of $365,000. We deliver films through four key programs:

Film Partnerships 

Stone Soup accepts applications for partnership films from nonprofits in all eight wards of Washington, D.C. These organizations possess no promotional video, and little to no communications budget for film and media services. The selection process includes a review of the applicant’s core services, their communication goals, and how a film could be produced to achieve those goals. In addition, the applicant is reviewed closely for its capacity to collaborate on production logistics, to create and implement a film distribution plan, and to measure the film’s impact.

Our partnership with Reading Partners was an example of this impact. Since their film premiered in spring of 2015, Reading Partners has experienced a significant increase in fundraising revenue and press related to their work. Reading Partners raised $13,000 more in FY 2015 after using the video as part of its annual appeal campaign. In addition, Reading Partners was featured on Washington Full Circle, a local cable-access show and on The Daily Do Good, a blog and newsletter focused on volunteer opportunities.

Fee-based Partnerships 

In 2014, we began to pilot a fee-based revenue model that allows us to capitalize on our expertise in nonprofit film and communication strategies, while also preserving our commitment to pro bono capacity building. This new model targets foundation clients who don’t currently support capacity building, but are in need of film and media services to advance their own mission or the mission of their grantee organizations.

Doc-in-a-Day

This is a bi-annual event that matches teams of filmmakers to 5 local nonprofits. Over the course of one weekend, each team creates a pro bono film for a nonprofit from start to finish. The event culminates with a film screening and a cash prize awarded to the winning team. The 2014 nonprofit beneficiaries served our community in the areas of the arts, historic preservation, recreation, and the environment.

DC Hero 

DC Hero films are an opportunity for our interns to explore the work of a local community advocate and to document its story on film. These team projects are fully supervised by staff, fostering learning and collaboration between expert and aspiring filmmakers. Stone Soup’s eleven interns delivered three DC Hero films in 2014. These films tell the stories of  community heroes providing activities for underserved youth, and services for individuals recovering from mental illness and substance abuse.

Last year’s DC Hero films highlighted Peter Bug Shoe Academy, Thelma Duren, and Rudolph Woody, of the McClendon Center. These films provide the nonprofit or activist with an invaluable tool to further promote their work.

Check out DC Hero: Rudolph Woody

Classes, Workshops, Media Consultation

In addition to nonprofit film production, Stone Soup continues to offer technical and capacity building training to filmmakers and nonprofit executives. In 2014, topics included location audio, making media for funding and outreach, nonprofit video strategy, and acquiring low cost equipment.We reached audiences of over 400 individuals interested in social impact media, including over 70 nonprofit leaders and 20 Education Innovation Fellows.  Also, Stone Soup provided 23 individual media consultations to documentary filmmakers and social sector innovators.

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Awards, Achievements, & Media Coverage

Tech Soup Storymaker Best Overall Award for Hope House Camp Counselor Tyron

Chaltain, Sam. “The Quiet Revolution in DC Schools.” Of, By, For: In Search of the Civic Mission of K-12 Schools. Education Week, May 1, 2014.

Thompson-Bey, Eric and Linda Wang. “Documentary Explores Street Sense Experience.”  Street Sense January 15-28 2014:7.

Norton, Liz and Erin Essenmacher. Interview by Ferman Patterson. Washington Full Circle. Web. October 29, 2014.

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Volunteers

Our pro bono film production is possible because of a talented volunteer force of professional producers, videographers, editors, audio technicians, and animators. This past year we also hosted two successful fundraising events, our Annual Benefit and Lights! Camera! Fashion!, thanks to the help of  other dedicated individuals.

In 2014, we actively engaged over 100  volunteers in our work:

Alvin Adadevoh Ahmed Alani
Marc Alexander Erica Ales
Claire Banks Chad Bartlett
Finnegan Biden Kathleen Biden
Linde Blocher Ryan Blocher
Krysia Bock Nathaniel Bryce Chapman
Jen Burton Sash Callsen
Ian Cameron Caitlin Christian
Jessica Stockton Clancy Cara Clark
Catherine Collins Susanne Coates
Theresa Crawford Russell Davis
Anne Dickerson Kathy Dismukes
Celene Di Stasio Lisa Dixon
Ben Dorger Christine Driscoll
Tori Dunn Karolina Ensor
Pete Estrada Ian Fay
Molly Feltner Sean Finn
Brian Ford Patrick Frank
Sara Fusco Omar Garcia
Gabriella Garcia-Pardo Jeff Gasser
Steve Gregory David Grossman
Lisa Gunty Abbie Hamilton
Heath Harckham Becky Harlan
Angela Harper Ellen Harris
Steve Harris Miriam Hirsch
Jay Hogben Alex Houston
Ayanna Johnson Adam Joel
Brett Joffe Megan King
Tandy Knight Shelby Krick
Samyu Krishna Nicholas Kurtz
Suzanne Laporte Kathryn Le Dain
Margy Looney Tracey Madigan
Jihan Madyun Jay Mallin
Dominic Mann Sophia Maroon
Shadee Marshall Kimberly McFarland
Dory Merritt Olivia Michael
Mags Miller Niki Mock
Leigh Mosley Patrick Moynahan
Patrick Nichols Herby Niles
Liz Norton Max Norton
Dustin Oakley Caroline Olsen
Kate Patterson John Picklap
Abby Pierce Sylvia Prickett
Naeemah Powell Tom Ramstack
Danielle Reyes Robert Romano
Elissa Rubin Jeremy Rush
Jesse Ryan Erika Rydberg
Hamzat Sani Noah Schoen
Julie Schor Nada Serhan
Chaya Shapiro Lauren Shofik
Grace Shulman Connor Spencer
Jason Stahl Karina Stenquist
Bettina Stern Robert Stone
Christina Sturdivant Jyothi Sunkari
Tac Tacelosky Ramon Taylor
Aqiyla Thomas Doug Thornell
Luke Thornley Isabelle Trad
Linda Wang Paul Warner
Miriam Weintraub Wesley Weissberg
Mitchell Wenkus Jed Winer
Jeff Wolfram Elizabeth Workman
Ning Zou

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Major Donors

Donors

 

Corporate

Edens Limited Partnership
Mr. Wash

Foundation

Baltimore Community Foundation
Bernstein Family Foundation
CityBridge Foundation
Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Ettinger Foundation
Arnold Glassman Fund
Korzeniewski Family Foundation
Malek Gift Fund
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
Points of Light
Rapp Family Fund
The Share Fund
Sidgmore Family Foundation
Summit Fund of Washington
Tacelosky Tzedakah Fund
Weissberg Family Foundation
Whispering Bells Foundation: The Workman Family
Woodward Walsh Foundation
Zeiger Charitable Foundation
Zickler Family Foundation
Zients Family Foundation

Individuals

Kim Abraham Craig and Marla Bash
Larry and Sharon Beeman Risa Bender
Jennifer Benz Celia Bernstein
Diane and Norman Bernstein Lisa and Josh Bernstein
Nancy Bernstein Susan Bernstein
Tracy and Adam Bernstein Kathleen and Hunter Biden
Sarah Blake and Joshua Weiner Pamela and Daniel Blumenthal
Carol Boochever David Brandt
Jessie Brinkley Jenny Brody
Nancy and Alan Bubes Jennifer Burton
Larry and Sherri Cafritz Phyllis Caldwell
Ian Cameron Corinne Cannon
Michael Cantor Allison Carney
Patty Carocci Brian Carome
Mary Challinor Jessica Stockton Clancy
Susanne Coates Carolyn and David Cohen
Laurie Davis and Joseph Sellers Russell and Robyne Davis
Anne and John Dickerson Deborah and Hurley Doddy
Stephanie Flack and Jason Weinstein Michelle Freeman
Ben and Pamela Forman Georgiana and David Forrester
Louis Garcia Liza Gilbert and Shaun Donovan
Erica Ginsberg Wendy and Fred Goldberg
Mandy Grunwald Lisa Gunty
Meg Hanlon Sarah Jane and Brian Harris
Anne and Scott Hefter Joslyn and Steve Hills
Miriam Hirsch Jay Hogben
Trish Hoppey Ivy and Horace Howells
Brett Joffe Janice Kaplan
Kirsten and Peter Kern Steve and Mimi Kirstein
Beth Kramer Lance Kramer
Pam Kurland Michael Lang
Suzanne Laporte Jennifer Lawson
Emily Lenzner Erin Loubier and Steven Bennett
Stacey and Greg Lubar Yael Luttwak
Doug and Kate Maguire Jay Mallin
Dan Manatt Karen and George Marcou
Nancy Markowitz Francesca Mengarelli and Ed Neaher
Linn Meyers Marilyn Meyers
Louise Micallef Deborah Miller
Niki Mock and Phil Leibovitz Amanda Moose and Eddie Lazarus
Huda and Andy Montemarano Virginia Moseley and Tom Nides
Kathy Mountcastle Dahlia Neiss
Herby Niles Belinda Nixon
Patti North Janice and Rob Norton
Susie O’Mara Veronique Perarnaud and Bill Thomas
Estee Portnoy Nora Pouillon
Sylvia Prickett Becky Reed
Margaret and Tom Rietano Rebecca Rippey
Felice Roggen Sheri and Rob Rosenfeld
David Ruben Shereen Rubenstein
Elissa Rubin Amy Rudnick and Michael Zeldin
Susan Rushford Yetta Rushford
Deborah and Michael Salzberg Jacqueline Senior
Julie Schor Gail Schwartz
Nancy Schwartz Steven Scudder
Alison and John Shulman Jeffrey Slavin
Sally Sloan Bettina and Christopher Stern
Arzu Tarimcilar Priscilla Muntemba Taylor
Andrea Thimm Allison Tierney
Julia Tolkan Lisa and Pope Ward
Linda Wang Miriam Weintraub
Katharine Weymouth Rachel Wilder and Phil Lerman
Elizabeth Workman Sissy Yates
Linda and Bob Youngentob Ethan and Kristen Zindler

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In Kind Support

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Non-Profit Partners

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Stone Soup by the Numbers

For 7 years, your amazing generosity has supported Stone Soup Films in strategically working towards its mission.SSF Cash Income 2012_2014 SSF Cash Revenue 2014 SSF In Kind Support 2014

 

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Board of Directors

Our board is comprised of 9 nonprofit, business and film and digital media professionals.

  • Jennifer Burton, Sway DC
  • Russell Davis, Advisory Board Company
  • Lisa Gunty, Independent Financial Consultant
  • Suzanne Laporte, Compass DC
  • Liz Norton, Executive Director
  • Michael “Tac” Tacelosky, Survos
  • Doug Thornell, SKD Knickerbocker
  • Miriam Weintraub, Documentary Filmmaker
  • Elizabeth Workman, Independent Nonprofit Consultant

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Advisory Council

Advisory Council

This 17 member Council consists of 4 committees that support our programs in the following areas: applications, classes & workshops, production, and volunteer engagement.

  • Marc Alexander
  • Ian Cameron
  • Jessica Stockton Clancy
  • Christine Collins
  • Theresa Crawford
  • Anne Dickerson
  • Alex Houston
  • Yael Luttwak
  • Tracey Madigan
  • Jay Mallin
  • Sophia Maroon
  • Juana Medina
  • Mags Miller
  • Niki Mock
  • Elissa Rubin
  • Herby Niles
  • Rachel Wilder

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Staff

  • Liz Norton, Executive Director
  • Julie Schor, Development Director
  • Melissa Rogers, Supervising Producer
  • Gregory Walsh, Senior Editor
  • Erica Ales, Development Associate
  • Sash Callsen, Animator

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