Since 2020, Perspective Fund has been gathering current and recent grantees whose work serves as the backbone of the documentary impact field. These grantees, all focused on strengthening and innovating different aspects of the documentary impact ecosystem, participated in these gatherings not only to build community but to participate in a two-way channel of conversation about what Perspective Fund (and funders like them) can do to elevate their support “beyond the check.” 

This content was originally meant to be shared during an MIF Member Briefing, but has since been adapted into a transcribed conversation between Denae Peters, Program Officer at Perspective Fund, Daniel Forkkio, CEO of Represent Justice, and Shaady Salehi, Executive Director of the Trust-based Philanthropy Project. Here, they share some of the most meaningful takeaways from this fruitful and galvanizing discourse, including ways for funders who want to elevate trust-building with their grantees; the realities of restricted grants; the importance of capacity-building; and more. (Click here for a brief summary of these convenings.) 

From left: Shaady Salehi, Trust-based Philanthropy Project; Daniel Forkkio, Represent Justice; and Denae Peters, Perspective Fund.

Denae Peters, Perspective Fund: I’d love to start by revisiting the pilot convening that we hosted in summer 2020. It was the first time that Perspective Fund had gathered grantees in this way and it served as a pulse check for us. It had been a tumultuous year and we had been hearing from grantees that they were craving a space that was facilitated and allowed for them to talk with like-minded peers about challenges, new and old, that they were facing. So, we decided to see what it would look like for us as a funder to be the host of such a space.

The pilot event, which admittedly wasn’t perfect, grew into an ongoing commitment to host virtual spaces for our grantees to connect with each other and to discuss the challenges they faced and the solutions that they were executing across their teams; to provide an opportunity for innovative ideas and learnings to be documented and shared across the grantee cohort; to hopefully spark collaboration among grantees where they didn’t already intersect in their work; to connect grantees with other thought leaders who they may not encounter on a day to day basis but who could help us all to think through some of these really complex systemic issues; and, importantly, to document some of the recommendations and ideas that were being shared by this uniquely talented group for us as funders and for funders like us who were seeking to address faults in the infrastructure of this field.

Working with Risë Wilson on design and facilitation, we’ve now hosted five convenings in which grantee participation is totally optional (and compensated for those who participated in working groups to document funder recommendations) and the events are structured so that there is time for active organizing, rest, reflection, and inspiration.

The intention, the format and the ways that we have held ourselves accountable as we design and execute this series is rooted in our intention to be a trust-based philanthropy and to lean on trust-based philanthropic practices in order to strengthen our relationship with our grantees and to strengthen the value of the support that we provide to being more than a check.

One of the people who has compelled us and inspired us to push forward as we think about all of our practices through a trust-based philanthropy lens is Shaady Salehi, who has been a voice of wisdom for the Perspective Fund team over the past few years.

Shaady, as always, I’d love to hear your general impressions of the convening series as designed and to learn about any shifts that you’re seeing among other funders who are also trying to ground their relationships with grantees in more supportive and sustainable practices.

Shaady Salehi, Trust-based Philanthropy Project: I love hearing this overview of the series because it is such an embodiment of what it looks like for a grantmaking organization to align its values with the way that it shows up and the way the people within the organization can show up in relationships with grantee partners.

Trust-based philanthropy has been having a moment over the last several years as an approach to philanthropy that proactively addresses the inherent power imbalances that exist between funders, nonprofits, and communities served by nonprofits.

When COVID hit, it prompted a lot of foundations to re-examine any practices that may be getting in the way of nonprofits achieving their intended impact. A lot of the focus has been on shifts in grantmaking practices like increasing unrestricted funding opportunities or streamlining applications and reports as a way to unburden grantees. Those are really important shifts but there’s also a deeper layer to trust-based philanthropy: an ethos of being intentional about aligning values of power consciousness and equity in everything that you do as a grantmaker. So what you just described, Denae, is such an embodiment of that ethos. Implicit in the design of this series was a lot of humility about the role of Perspective Fund in contributing to change in the field of social impact media. There’s also an understanding and a belief that philanthropy’s success is inherently contingent upon the health and success of the organizations that we invest in. Part of that is a systems mindset recognizing that, if you’re a funder investing in a certain issue area or sector, it’s really important to recognize the challenges and opportunities that those who are leading within that sector experience in order to be a better and more strategic funder.

The way that you describe this series as being intentional about how you could go beyond financial support underscores that. It’s this recognition that funders have a lot to bring to the table and that there’s a lot of power in their role. So, if you want to really share and redistribute power to advance the intended impact of the organizations you support, it inherently requires listening to and responding to those who are doing the work.

What I’m also observing in this process is that it was intentionally not extractive. It was designed as a response to what you were hearing and what grantees were requesting and required you to attempt to create conditions for people to feel a sense of psychological safety, to share openly about what they need. That’s not something that can be taught necessarily but that’s where the rigor of trust-based philanthropy exists. It’s in relationship-building and it’s in the investment in building trust over time. It’s making space for dialogue, making space for feedback, input, and response that creates and can strengthen trust over time.

Peters: I completely understand why some funders might hesitate to execute events of this kind or to overhaul their grantee relationships, given the complexity. But I think we have learned so much in this process and I have been so humbled by how grantees have given us the space to try to build this type of relationship. They have given us the benefit of the doubt in a way that we don’t take for granted at all.

Salehi: I love that you mentioned that. We can’t assume that grantee partners are ready to trust funders because there’s been a lot of harm done by some of the traditional philanthropic practices, particularly for leaders of color in the field. The traditional compliance-oriented practices in philanthropy have reinforced a lot of scrutiny and distrust, and quite frankly this school of thought has meant that a lot of organizations have been overlooked or underfunded in favor of well resourced organizations that have more experience developing theories of change and writing narrative proposals.

Just think about the inequities that have existed in traditional philanthropic practices that have done harm to a lot of visionary leaders and organizations that have been left out of the equation. Trust-based philanthropy is not a checklist. It is about grantmaking practice but it’s also about how we can be more human in our relationships and how we can embrace and create space for learning for all parties. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable but that’s part of the process. If we can start from a place of recognizing that discomfort and designing systems, structures, processes and conversations that acknowledge the inherent power imbalance, we can actually get to better resourced, more impactful, happier, and healthier organizations.

Peters: Do you have any other tips you want to share for funders who might be seeking new ways to build trust within a new or existing funding relationships?

Salehi: Recognizing that inherent power imbalance is a really good starting point. Funds should model transparency if they want to build transparent relationships because, as funders sit in the power seat, modeling transparency should create the conditions for getting transparency back in that relationship.

I also think that if you’re a funder that has any say in how grant agreements are written or how grantmaking processes and systems are created, you should look at all of those systems and structures and technologies and ask yourself “Does this help us build relationship, or does it impede our ability to build relationship?” Once you start to look, you begin to notice little things in your processes that may not actually line up with how you think you are showing up, or how you want to show up as an organization, or as a representative of your organization.  And you can make the tweaks needed to get you closer to aligning with the values that you stand behind. That can be approached and tackled at various levels, depending on what role you play in your organization.

Peters: I’d love to welcome Daniel Forkkio to the conversation. Daniel, I wonder what comes to mind for you when you think about the ways that funders can elevate trust-building in grantee relationships?

Daniel Forkkio: I would say that proactively addressing the dynamics of funding, competition, and scarcity in almost all grantee interactions is what I think is often lacking in traditional philanthropy. As a leader, especially a leader of color, those are the anxieties that create the subtext for all of our funder interactions. Answering these questions for us without us having to ask creates a space where we can show up authentically as ourselves and as our most strategic and visionary selves because we’re not worried about differentiating ourselves from other grantees. We’re not making choices to attend convenings based on the opportunity cost of other funded opportunities, and we’re not in a mindset of “If I don’t do this, there won’t be another opportunity”. So it’s just addressing those dynamics as being, to me, the most prevalent dynamics that create stressful or unproductive relationships as a leader of color in the space.

Peters: Shaady, you’ve already spoken about some of the ways that funders often begin their trust-based philanthropy journey such as assessing their grant proposal, application and reporting processes. In the context of hosting events or discussions with and for grantees, could you share some of the lighter-lift versions of this type of engagement that funders might be able to try?

Salehi: A convening of this kind is a great way to do that but not every organization may be ready to do something like that. Soliciting and acting on feedback is one of the key principles of a trust-based philanthropy approach. There are a number of ways to do it: surveys, convenings, focus groups, even bringing questions into verbal conversations with partners can be a good way to get some feedback. But again, if it’s in person, there needs to be some basis of trust for leaders to feel comfortable sharing candidly. That’s why anonymous opportunities can also be a really helpful way of informing your process such as the Grantee Perception Survey from the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Any surveying process should still be approached through a lens of equity and power-consciousness.

Some funders will have a question in their grant application asking how long it took an applicant to complete their application. That’s a really simple data gathering opportunity to learn about how burdensome your process might be. The key is only asking questions when you are prepared to act based on the information you receive. Otherwise, it can border on being extractive.

Another offering that I’ve heard from some trust-based funders is to fill out your own grant application. Are the questions easy to answer? Are you stumped when you go through them? Are some of the questions in there just to satisfy your curiosities? That’s another way of trying to walk in the shoes of the organizations that you’re supporting.

Peters: Let’s transition to the themes we heard across these convening conversations. There were many, and it was very challenging to distill what was really rich discourse and documentation.

One of the topics of conversation that we knew would be meaty was funding for sustainability of all kinds. This includes the financial, of course, but considered sustainability of all the resources that make our organizations run and make them as effective as they are, including staff, time, access to expertise, support for downtime etc. In this case, there were some pretty unanimous requests, namely those were multi-year, unrestricted, general operating support being made available for grantees as much and as often as possible.

Daniel, I’d love to hear what stuck with you about the funding for sustainability conversations. What were the areas where you heard clear alignment on needs amongst the grantee cohort?

Forkkio: Denae, one thing I’ll say to your credit and the credit of Perspective Fund is that what came across as we were grappling with these issues was never an adversarial kind of tenor of the conversation. It was more of a welcoming, inviting space for us as grantees to just share what we were all going through and defined a lot of commonality. I appreciate the continuity and the follow-through of that, including this conversation.

For the funding for sustainability piece, one of the things that I think we found consensus on as leaders in the space were the realities of restricted funding versus unrestricted funding. One of the myths that we seek to bust is that restricted funding is inherently less risky in some way than unrestricted funding. I feel very strongly about that because restricted funding sets an initial tone of “we don’t really trust you or your theory of change all the way so we’re going to add these requirements based on some  assessment of how much we do trust you, or how risky we do think you are as a grantee.” It stifles creativity, and it heightens feelings of mistrust in the funder-grantee dynamic. It makes us less likely to experiment and more likely to accept the prescriptions of funders as far as what is right, what is impact, what are acceptable metrics or goals. It can start relationships off on difficult ground. When we think about funding for sustainability, it’s about understanding the value of leaning into supporting the theory and the vision of an organization, the leadership and capabilities of an organization, and trusting the organization to be responsive to the communities that it serves, to be responsive to its own strategy, and to be iterative in the right ways.

This is related to the benefits of multi-year funding. What I have found is that the ability to iterate freely is very difficult when you have to re-present your strategy and re-pitch yourself every 12 months. We know a lot of our strategies take a long time, whether it’s diversifying representation within the media space, or whether it’s narrative shift work. They require the accumulation of a lot of different stories, a lot of different programs, a lot of different projects working in tandem. So to have to prove success in the interim when the stakes mean possibly not receiving additional funding to continue implementing your strategy can be really, really challenging. Giving and then trusting leaders to oversee their entire strategy for a period of consecutive years is really meaningful because it shows trust. And importantly, it also allows us to learn, iterate, and pick up strategic partnerships along the way that deepen our impact the way we know how as leaders.

When it comes to downtime, as leaders, our identities are often wrapped up in the work that we do. But we are, of course, not just tools in a toolbox. Our creativity often means tapping into our own experiences, our own intersectionality, potentially our own trauma. That takes a lot of work and should include a lot of self-care.

Being in community with our peers and beneficiaries also takes time, and being in community should be required. For example, when we serve on committees that are tangential to our programming because we want to be with the people that we serve, that’s not funded work or compensated work but it’s such valuable work. To have the space to do that means having predictable, stable levels of funding support. When I think about downtime, when I think about creativity, when I think about self-care, I think about just knowing that you are trusted by your funders, that they are there for you as partners, that their funding is there for your tangible and intangible needs. That just allows us to be better leaders in this space.

Peters: Shaady, I’d love to hear your reflections on something that Daniel shared—the idea that restricted funding is treated by funders as if it’s less risky, and as a proving ground for grantees but with no clear end date, necessarily. Could you reflect on either what you’ve heard from funders about this or what you know to be true based on your experience about using that as a funding tactic?

Salehi: I think there’s a misperception that restricted funding allows funders to better understand impact and it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s investing in one piece of an organization and ignoring all the other work that they’re doing. I don’t know if our sector has really wanted to confront that reality. Especially when you’re looking at social change work like what Daniel was describing, including narrative change and media representation. This work is conducted through deep, impact-oriented strategies that take a long while to influence our societies, and so restricted funding inhibits a funder’s ability to see the bigger picture and inhibits organizations from approaching and understanding the impact of their work holistically. Organizations don’t work well in one-off projects. Organizations are whole ecosystems that have teams, that have interconnected strategies, that have programming that builds upon one another, and some of that programming is responsive to ongoing learnings. So if we want organizations to have the space to advance their intended impact, we have to actually be patient and recognize that social change work takes time. If we want to be better funders and we want to unleash the potential of the funding commitments that we make as funders, we owe it to ourselves and our goals to understand the bigger picture. We owe it to our partners to understand the bigger picture and create space for them to operate in that context. That’s one of the major limitations of restricted funding.

I think the other part of restricted funding that can be prohibitive for organizations to advance their intended impact is when organizations are getting predominantly restricted funding from many different funders, it means they are cobbling together numerous project grants to try to fund their organization’s core capacity needs. Sometimes that means chasing a grant that may not be a direct fit with the organization’s scope of work because you need to keep the office manager’s time funded. It literally can boil down to trying to make sure percentages of people’s time are covered by a range of different project grants.

Just imagine what that does to an organization. It pulls them in multiple directions while they are trying to balance this reality against their vision, their purpose, their mission. And then imagine what that does to a leader who is trying to fundraise. Their attention becomes distracted trying to keep all those balls in the air so that they can fund the work and keep people on payroll. That is just the ultimate irony when you look at this overwhelming tendency for our sector to give restricted funding because we’re tying the hands of leaders who might otherwise be more able to take their organizations where they need to go.

Lastly, from a legal perspective, there is no requirement legally by the IRS that foundations have to restrict grants to specific projects. Unrestricted funding is significantly less risky because, with an unrestricted grant, you are signaling that this is now the nonprofits’ realm of decision-making power to decide how these funds are spent. In the off chance that something is done with the funds that don’t fit within the scope of their mission, the foundation is no longer liable for how those funds are spent.

Forkkio: I really, really appreciate that, Shaady. To bifurcate what would otherwise be a cogent strategy into an effort to satisfy many different demands from different funders really does lessen the systemic impact of the programming that we do. Who’s to say that the pieces that we’re able to cobble together are our best and most impactful strategy? It might be our second best, it might be our third best. But it’s just the one that we have given the constraints that we have, and that is consistently something that we come up against as leaders in this space.

Peters: And all of this is directly tied to one of the other themes that we heard, which was a lack of opportunities for capacity-building support and a dearth of funders who were willing or able to prioritize this critical area of need. That would mean focusing on the overall health of an organization and not strictly on individual programmatic initiatives that seem to align directly with what a funder’s aims might be. This came up a lot. In response to this, based on what we’ve been hearing over the years at Perspective Fund, we created an Organizational Effectiveness program. Essentially, the program is available to organizations who are receiving general operating support in order to get a better look at how they would spend funds that were available for short-term, discrete projects related specifically to their organizational capacity-building. It could mean building up financial operation systems or financial management systems. It could be enhancing human resource management, tools, and consultants. It could be bringing someone in to help address organizational adaptability issues, transition of leadership, offering opportunities for staff development, training, and learning initiatives. It could be development work or embarking on fundraising initiatives that they might not otherwise have been able to devote time or resources to. All grantees who were eligible for the program applied and received funds for their projects.

These grants covered areas of support that are important and underfunded, and we can’t expect for organizations to be healthy and able to execute dynamic, flexible, and sustainable programs if these critical areas of need are not addressed. Daniel, are there any specific areas of capacity-building support that you’ve found it particularly challenging to fundraise for? It would be good to hear what’s gained when it’s available and what’s lost when it’s not.

Forkkio: I’ve been in nonprofits for about 15 years and for as long as I can remember, there has been a premium put on lowering indirect costs and lowering administrative costs. It’s almost like it’s something that nonprofits are ashamed to have. Ashamed to have office space, ashamed to meet as employees, ashamed to have anybody who’s doing anything other than running the programs. That’s an area of competition that’s very real. It’s almost like a race to the bottom in terms of not investing in the things that make your organization vibrant, and that inspire creativity and stability. And so nonprofits might have to boast like “We don’t have any staff support, we don’t have anybody supporting our HR, we don’t have anybody supporting us and look at how much we’re able to do!” It’s a short-sighted way of operating that ultimately harms the effectiveness of the organization as a whole.

Especially in recent years, one of the needs that has become so important and highlighted is the ability to convene as staff. From the way we communicate to the way we collaborate, all of it is informed by the assumptions that we make of one another and our shared commitment to the mission and vision of the organization. I think that just has to be reaffirmed in person from time to time. But that costs money. It’s often not something that funders are willing to support directly.

Training is another area that it can be difficult to find funds for. I think that people are scared to talk about the need to continuously learn on their jobs and that they don’t come in with all the answers. Their positions change and evolve. The movement changes and evolves. To quote Winston Churchill, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” It’s hard to do that unless you’ve got some kind of investment in your learning and professional development. When folks aren’t able to be forthcoming and proactive about where they’d like to learn more, it doesn’t serve the mission of the organization at all.

Peters: Leaning into the importance of having the opportunity to convene live with colleagues, we heard over the course of the convening series frequently the value of being able to convene with peers as well. We take this to heart, definitely, and have committed to hosting this grantee convening in 2023 and beyond. We, by having the infrastructure portfolio, definitely prioritize opportunities for field-led problem solving and providing an opportunity for our leaders to tackle challenges within a supportive community.

We also heard about the benefits of intentional matchmaking being made between like-minded stakeholders. That could be funders acting as a connector between grantees but, of course, outside of peers, there are many others who funders have relationships with that could be beneficial for grantees. That includes other funders but is not limited to that.

Daniel, could you share some of the conditions that have existed when you’ve participated in particularly helpful matchmaking situations?

Forkkio: If instigated by a funder, addressing and mitigating the potential dynamic of competition for funding is important. When there’s clarity around who can receive funding and how, it feels more as if, as grantee partners, we’re starting from even ground to talk, collaborate and share learnings. When there’s no clarity around a funders commitment to your organization, remnants of feeling like we’re competing with each other can be really powerful and that can stifle the collaboration that would otherwise happen. Also, considering ways of lessening the burden of the resources required to participate even just by offering stipends for people’s participation, whether it’s to cover travel or the actual time that they’re spending, can help to remove the barriers to opportunity.

And then, the grantees will do the work. I mean, just imagine how incredible it is for us to be in a room with people who are like-minded and attacking things creatively. We have so many ideas and we are just so eager to connect with other leaders in the space. I have had some amazing conversations with people in the community who are doing work that I would love to amplify through some of our original content that we do. All it takes is the right space to be created where we’re all part of one cohort, we’re all part of one family, where collaboration is incentivized and we’ll do it.

Peters: One of the other themes that we’ve been talking about throughout this conversation is how we can improve the grantee-funder dynamic while acknowledging the challenges that would traditionally exist. I hoped that one of the outcomes of the convening series was a two-way channel of communication between us, at Perspective Fund, and the grantee cohort, to be able to have more direct and open conversations. The intention was certainly not for the vulnerability to just be on one side. It opens us up to be vulnerable and open, and, hopefully, more transparent in the process. And I think that spills over to, hopefully, less opaque grantmaking practices more generally.

And we definitely heard the call for there to be greater attention paid to funder approachability and accountability. In traditional philanthropy, accountability is kind of one-sided and it’s on grantees to be accountable to funders. We had so many dynamic conversations during the convening about what it would look like if funders really took on being more open about the accountability measures that they hold themselves to because it’s not to say that they don’t exist but certainly they are not as transparent as they could be. I think it touches on some of the aspects of vulnerability that are necessary in order to have strong relationships with anyone.

Forkkio: This reminds me of my first year as a CEO when I could not get a straight answer around funding for my vision of the organization. But what I found, and it was almost more psychologically damaging than a straight answer would have been, was an abundance of politeness. So I coined the term the ‘Invisible Wall of Politeness’. And I think the thing that I want funders to know and to understand is that when we receive “politeness” as leaders of color but with no transparency or direct communication around willingness to actually resource or support us, it’s incredibly damaging to our psyche. It would be better to just have someone say flat out “I don’t want to fund you” or “I can’t fund you.” I wasted time as well as emotional anxiety not receiving clear communication around people’s willingness to support Represent Justice very early on. That just heightens the anxiety for every other conversation. It has an ongoing effect because it makes you more likely to accept those less-than-ideal project grants. It makes you more likely to accept 10 percent overhead when you know that your overhead is 15 percent. It makes you more likely to creep into other geographies that you wouldn’t otherwise think are organic to the work that you’re doing but have a prevalence of potential funding support because some founder of a foundation is from there, or whatever the case might be that created that focus. So I think that transparency is incredibly necessary and we should lean into the uncomfortability of just having that conversation with funders and leaders in the space because I’ve found the alternative can be hindering and very problematic.

Peters: One of the final themes that came up frequently, and it’s certainly a huge topic, would be measurement and evaluation. Both the types of measurement and evaluation that currently exist typically through, by way of example, a funder-grantee reporting relationship, but also the opportunities that are being lost when measurement and evaluation are limited to focus specifically on grant reporting. We heard in conversation that our leaders are really eager for opportunities for measurement and evaluation acumen to be built and for it to be applied and utilized where they see fit in their work. What is unhelpful is for it to be driven by funders’ desires to prove the effectiveness of an individual grant or to somehow prove the effectiveness of the field. I think this is an important topic that there aren’t enough complex conversations about. We’ve just scratched the surface but I think it’s a theme that we’d love to bring back to grantees because we have a lot of learning to do at Perspective Fund about what measurement and evaluation looks like if you are applying a trust-based philanthropy lens to it.

Forkkio: I think starting with the assumption that we as leaders want to do good work and want to learn from the work that we do and want to do the best work that we can is probably an assumption that isn’t often made when thinking about measurement and evaluation. It feels a little bit more like “Prove to me that you have used my funding appropriately” and a little bit less like, “Let’s learn together about how we’re progressing on this problem and use it to iterate strategies and see what works.” I think it’s a little bit too prescriptive the way that it is now. I think foundations and funders in the space have a sense of how they want to measure comparatively to other grantees in their portfolio. I would ask for some creativity here, and for the willingness to really trust and experiment in different ways of proving systemic change whether it’s narrative change, culture change, or capacity building. We uncover new things all the time, mostly for the better, mostly impact that we haven’t measured or found a way to measure and we need support to explore what those methodologies should look like. It requires an expertise that most of us just don’t have intrinsically so being supported financially to come up with creative frameworks to measure the work would be useful. So the ask is for funders to think creatively and flexibly, understanding that you don’t have the answers but understanding that we want the answers even more than you want them.

Salehi: I really want to echo that point about creating space for being more creative about understanding and assessing impact. Too often, expectations for impact measurement are coming from funders. This field of media impact narrative change has been around long enough that there are assumptions about how to do this work that are imposed upon leaders in this field. They tend to lean toward quantitative measures when it can be very hard to quantify change when you’re looking at long-term narrative change, culture change, and media representation.

Peters: Thank you both so much for your time and for pushing us and funders like us to get more creative and expansive in our thinking and forms of support. And thank you in absentia to everyone who participated in each and every convening.

All members and supporters of Media Impact Funders have the opportunity to initiate and produce issue-related programming for their peers. Learn more about member briefings.

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Media Impact Funders traces its roots back to the Council on Foundations, a longtime philanthropy-serving organization. Formerly Grantmakers in Film, Video & Television, MIF began on a volunteer basis in 1984 as an affinity group for funders interested in the power of film to highlight social issues. Reflecting changes in technology and media behavior over the past decade, it was renamed Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM) and formally incorporated in 2008 to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. It had 45 members and was headed by former MacArthur Foundation Program Officer Alyce Myatt. GFEM was renamed Media Impact Funders in 2012 and has since expanded its strategy to include a broad range media funding interests such as journalism, immersive technologies, media policy and more. Since that time, MIF has grown to more than 80 organizational members representing some of the largest foundations, and holds more than 40 in-person and online events yearly.