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Welcome to our first-ever interactive annual report! We are always trying to stay on top of the latest technology and communications trends on behalf of our nonprofit partners. So we figured, hey, if we can’t do an online report, who can?
In this report, we showcase the relationships that are at the center of what we do to help nonprofits tell better stories through film. Communications strategies throughout the nonprofit sector are shifting. Just having an excellent program that is improving the lives of others is not enough – now you have to “feed the content monster” as well. This pressure is often overwhelming for nonprofits. We feel better poised than ever to help alleviate that burden by providing the highest quality media content to our partners.
2013 marked our 5th anniversary. We made 1 film in our 1st year and in our 5th year we completed 19. Say what? That’s 19 organizations in 2013 alone that had their story told in an authentic and strategic way. This enables them to leverage more support to help those most in need in our community. None of these nonprofits would have been able to afford this critical tool and we were honored to be able to document their work.
We are thankful for so many things made possible by our donors’ generosity: the launch of our wildly successful Doc In A Day program, our bold website redesign, short films of our rock star stakeholders, the success of our closet-raiding popup store “Lights, Camera, Fashion!” and much more. But what I’m most proud of, the thing that really keeps me motivated, is the collection of incredible, creative, hilarious, hard-working, patient, loyal and talented people that comprise the Stone Soup Films family. This includes our amazing staff, Board members, Advisory Council, fantastic interns, and intrepid volunteers. We extend a special thanks to the people who let us into their lives with a camera – I am moved every day by their dedication to our community and our common humanity. What a way to spend a day.
History & Mission
Stone Soup Films continues to strengthen the communications capacity of DC area nonprofits that serve a variety of program areas such as the arts and humanities, community services, education, health, and the environment. Since 2008, we have successfully produced and donated films for almost 50 organizations. This amounts to approximately $1 million of pro bono film and media services. The creative process of each production improves how a nonprofit understands and publicly represents the work they do, thus strengthening their role and influence as a change agent in the community. To see an online portfolio of our nonprofit films, please visit our website.
In 2013, we produced and donated 19 nonprofit promotional films with a combined pro bono value of $370,500. These films have a lasting impact on the local nonprofit sector. Our partnership with Reach Incorporated is an example of this impact. Since their film premiered in fall of 2013, Reach has experienced a significant increase in fundraising revenue and press related to their work. Among their many successes are the 2013 Lehrman Foundation Impact Award and a $92,000 grant from Fight for Children. In addition, Reach experienced their most successful end of year fundraising campaign and was invited to meet with the DCPS Director for Literacy about expanding their program into more schools. Mark Hecker, the Founder and Executive Director of Reach, explains how our partnership enhanced his perspective on the power of digital storytelling.
Another of our partners, Hope House is a nonprofit that reunites incarcerated fathers with their children through summer camp programs. Watch Founder and Executive Director, Carol Fennelly reflect upon the creative process of working with our team and the emphasis we put on collaborating to capture the story that brings an organization’s mission to life.
Linda Wang and Eric Thompson Bey met each other during production for a film about Street Sense, an organization that provides opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness. Linda was one of the volunteer videographers for the project and Eric is a Street Sense client. They describe how the experience of working together changed and enriched their lives.
Doc in Day matches nonprofits and volunteer filmmakers to produce a film for the nonprofit within 2 days. September 2013 marked our first partnership with Media Rise, an organization dedicated to connecting people and ideas to promote meaningful media. The Washington Ballet was one of 5 lucky nonprofits chosen for a Doc in a Day partnership. Their film crew (Lisa Dixon, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, and Melissa Rogers) won the award (and cash prize!) for best film. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed your chance to see it!
In 2013, we hosted 8 interns throughout the year. Interns work on productions and as a team to produce a DC Hero Project, a short documentary film on a local community activist or organization. Through these activities we aim to empower interns and volunteers to become changemakers themselves. Watch for yourself how our internships have fostered the growth of aspiring professionals.
Interns collaborate on all aspects of the DC Hero project, including editing and screening. Last year’s DC Hero films were focused on City Blossoms, a nonprofit that produces kid-driven organic green spaces, and Brainfood, a youth development nonprofit that uses food as a tool to build life skills and inspire healthy living. These films provide the nonprofit or activist with an invaluable tool to further promote their work.
Check out DC Hero: City Blossoms!
Classes, Workshops, Media Consultation
Our technical trainings and educational workshops offered to the general public and nonprofits provide learning opportunities in a small group setting on topics such as DSLR filmmaking basics, lighting, demo reel, social media, and graphics. Liz Norton, our executive director, also led or participated in various communication workshops in partnership with Docs in Progress, the CityBridge Foundation, Fair Chance, and Martha Dodge Media. In these workshops, Liz provided expert advice on how to structure a communications strategy, the art of visual storytelling, low cost equipment, and distribution. Her workshop audiences included over 30 nonprofit leaders, 12 Education Innovation Fellows, 30 aspiring filmmakers and the general public. In addition, Liz provided media consultations to 11 nonprofit executives, including 7 Echoing Green Fellows.
Awards, Achievements, & Media Coverage
DC Office of TV and Motion Picture February Filmmaker of the Month
Hope House Kids Award
We launched our new website in November and achieved our goal of presenting a clear and visually engaging online office. In addition, our website allows us to more easily showcase our most recent work, while providing easy access to information tailored to nonprofit applicants and volunteers.
WaPo article on volunteer recruitment A 2013 Washington Post article highlighted Stone Soup Films’ volunteer recruitment successes, emphasizing the importance of community and how our volunteer model truly set us apart from other film companies.
Street Sense profiled our successful film partnership with them with a feature article in the December 2013 edition of their newspaper.
Stone Soup Films’ mission is largely supported by its volunteer base of professional producers, videographers, editors, audio technicians, and animators. Words cannot express the love and devotion we feel towards the 60 volunteers who worked tirelessly to produce our 2013 films!
In Kind Support
- Advisory Board Company
- Bernstein Management Corporation
- Lisa and Murry Gunty
- Casey Freeman Howe
- Sylvia Prickett
- Banished Productions
- City Blossoms
- Critical Exposure
- Double Nickels Theatre Company
- Hope House
- Levine School of Music
- Loaves & Fishes
- People, Animals, Love
- Street Sense
- Washington Area Women’s Foundation
- Washington Ballet
- Words Beats & Life, Inc.
- Taproot DC Pro Bono Week
- US Chess Center
Stone Soup by the Numbers
Stone Soup Films is honored to be included in the 2013-14 Catalogue for Philanthropy of Greater Washington. We are so proud to be recognized as a valuable capacity builder in nonprofit communications. Jim Lintott, Stone Soup donor, passionately emphasizes the important role we play in helping nonprofits achieve more.
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
- Elissa Rubin, Independent Producer
- Michael Tacelowsky, Survos
- Miriam Weintraub, Documentary Filmmaker
- Elizabeth Workman, Independent Nonprofit Consultant
We created an Advisory Council, comprised of local filmmakers and producers. This 15 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
- Herby Niles
- Liz Norton, Executive Director
- Emmett Williams, Supervising Producer
- Gregory Walsh, Senior Editor
- Julie Schor, Development Director
- Megan Orr, Development Associate