We're challenging assumptions about philanthropy. To pursue our mission and serve media-makers and digital equity champions in the way they need, we want to rethink philanthropy so it is accessible, transparent, and community-centered. Foundations have historically held the power in philanthropy. We’re working to shift power into the hands of the communities we serve.
Philanthropy has its roots in goodwill, but the sector is not immune from creating imbalanced systems and inequities around who holds resources and has the power to distribute them.
We're committed to a trust-based model that encourages philanthropic practices and relationship-building that center shared power, patience, and accountability to communities. We consistently seek and invite grantee input on the work we do in an effort to be clear, intentional, and transparent with the communities we serve. Our staff and board also reflect the diversity of the grantees we serve.
We seek to remove obstacles that small, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA-led organizations and individuals typically encounter in the grantmaking process. And we want to help other funders understand the importance of this shifting mindset so we can collectively create a more equitable approach to philanthropy.
Community Impact is the Core of Our Story
Our foundation emerged when WYBE Channel 35, formerly a public broadcaster operating in the Philadelphia market, relinquished its broadcast license to the Federal Communications Commission for a one-time payment of $131.5 million. With these funds, we became a private foundation with an endowment to invest in community media-making in the Greater Philadelphia region. In our first five years we have distributed more than $50 million in grants for community-based projects and organizations that explore new ways media can be a tool for justice, liberation, joy, memory, and accountability.
Community Centered Grantmaking
The media makers we fund are our partners, not just our grantees. Through our Community Voices and Local Filmmaker funds we partner with community members who have deep relationships and expertise in the fund focus areas to review applications and make final grantmaking decisions without influence from the IPMF board or staff. Community input on our direction and approach to funding is critical because we're here to serve the creators—their stories, work, development, and well-being. Our approach is determined within communities themselves, not just in a boardroom.
Staff Who’ve Been in Your Shoes
IPMF Program Officer Nuala Cabral is an award-winning filmmaker, cultural producer, and teaching artist who is deeply committed to the power of storytelling and media to build bridges of understanding and advance social justice. She’s gone through grant applications for her own work and brings that experience—and her media expertise—to support IPMF grantees.
“I see IPMF’s legacy as amplifying community voices and supporting movement media beyond particular grant cycles and historic moments because ultimately we want communities to be seen and heard and to thrive in the long-term.”
Our work truly is led by your work, which means that our process is flexible and evolving. We’re willing to experiment and try new methods to meet the needs of community members, projects and other partners.
We envision a local media ecosystem that accurately represents the diverse, complex lived experiences and imaginations of Black, Indigenous, people of color, and other communities harmed by systems of oppression and media erasure. That’s why we seek to amplify underrepresented voices and take a local-first approach to honor the experiences of people in the region.
Learning so We can Better Serve
IPMF is committed to intentionally learning about both the nonprofit and local media landscapes to better understand what the needs are and how to respond as a foundation. Through conversations, readings, webinars and more, we listen, reflect and notice key themes that emerge such as, compensation and sustainability; training, mentorship and professional development; networks; community engagement; trust and respect in funder relationships.