Cover and Header Photo Courtesy of Crews for a Cause
It is now the Tuesday after Thanksgiving which can only mean one thing: it’s #GivingTuesday! Looking for ways to give back? The film industry is such a vast community with different nonprofit organizations that set out to help productions, and bring proper access, education, and funding for underrepresented artists, crew members, and filmmakers across the world. Here’s a list of organizations to consider sharing your talents with.
This list is constantly updated. Note: this is primarily US-based, but worldwide entries will be added as they come. If you have any global recommendations for us to consider and include, please contact [email protected].
(Los Angeles, California / Virtual)
About: 826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
How to volunteer: 826LA volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. As long as you have a willingness to learn and explore alongside our students, you’ll be fine. They will also pair you up with a seasoned volunteer the first few times you come. 826LA offers a Volunteering 101 orientation.
About: Black Film Space is a non profit 501 (c) 3 organization committed to building a community of filmmakers from the African Descent through skill enhancing and networking events. We are a collective of directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, actors and other media makers that want to develop genuine connections and grow with fellow Black creatives.
How to volunteer: Black Film Space offers many ways you can volunteer in positions on their form page. You can apply for the position(s) that works for you including: Event Organizer, Event Host, Podcast Producer, Podcast Editor, Social Media, Admin, Graphic Designer.
About: Black Trans Femmes in the Arts is a collective of Black trans and non-binary femmes dedicated to creating space for ourselves in the arts and beyond. The collective hosts workshops and seeks to connect black trans femme artists with opportunities.
How to volunteer: Fill out the form below for ways to volunteer for BTFA events and programs.
About: Established in 1997, the Black Women Film Network (BWFN) was founded to prepare Black women to enter the film and television industries. The organization seeks to preserve the voice of these women through film and educational programs that empower and inform. A 501(c)3 non-profit, BWFN provides student scholarships, hosts screenings and workshops, and honors individuals who have excelled in this difficult industry.
How to volunteer: BWFN has a form page where they ask for your unique skills and volunteer interests in order for you to help volunteer and be part of the change advancing Black women in film and TV. When volunteers are needed, an email will go out to volunteers on the BWFN contact list. For more information you can email them at [email protected]
About: Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression, as well as media of important social and community impact. Chicago Filmmakers' twofold mission is to serve independent film and digital video artists by supporting the creation and dissemination of new media arts works and to serve Chicago audiences by screening artistically innovative, socially relevant, and diverse films and videos.
How to volunteer: Chicago Filmmakers offers many ways on how you can volunteer for them, especially during their yearly film festivals. You can volunteer for their Onion City Experimental Film Festival, Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, or work their Saturday Screenings box office. If those aren’t your forte, you can help work with Tech/Equipment Maintenance, Video Editing, Graphic Design, and Gardening.
About: Crews for a Cause is a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit production group made up of production assistants, producers, makeup artists, directors, cinematographers and everyone in between. We specialize in creating short form video content for great causes in need of telling their story. Our goal is to bring together passionate and empowered entertainment professionals to produce, film and edit videos benefiting good causes and people in need — at little or no cost to them.
For an example of their work, check out their most recent project with the Children's Law Center of California.
How to volunteer: On the top right section of the site, you’ll see a tab labeled "Join the crew." Click it and answer the form, which would ask you a variety of questions. This includes your geographical location, your professional portfolio account, and social media account so they can add you to their database.
For those who want to volunteer ASAP, they are currently crewing up for their Engage the Vision project. The project is newly announced, so act fast, as anyone who signs up to volunteer through FTW will get first shot at filling any roles they'd like.
(Los Angeles, California)
About: The Inner-City Arts Professional Development Institute provides experiential training for educators, university students, school administrators, and others dedicated to bringing high-quality arts education to students of all ages and backgrounds. Their mission is to engage young people in the creative process in order to shape a society of creative, confident, and collaborative individuals.
How to Volunteer: Because Inner-City Arts offers a robust variety of education programs and community events, there are a number of ways to get involved depending on your availability, interests, and desired experience. The organization has a few studio programs that you can volunteer you can do either of the following:
LEARNING AND ACHIEVING THROUGH THE ARTS (LATA): A program for elementary and middle school students from the Los Angeles Unified School District and local charter schools. They have their own period schedule on different weekdays where you can come in and work from.
THE VISUAL, MEDIA AND PERFORMING ARTS INSTITUTES: They're self-select, after-school and weekend workshops to middle and high school students, once weekly across ten weeks during Fall and Spring sessions and twice weekly across five weeks over summer.
(Virtual / Varies)
About: Through a public arts program and video production training for women of color and LGBTQ young adults, the Justice for My Sister Collective (JFMSC) creates safe spaces within marginalized communities to use audiovisual format to advocate for issues important to them. We aim to build the skills and professional development of local artists who are advocates for gender equality, anti-racism, and inclusion. Ultimately, our work aims to train young professionals of color, LGBTQ folks, and other historically underrepresented voices in video production to change the face of Hollywood, so that it centers voices of diverse advocates for gender equality who have a vested interest in ending all forms of gender-based violence.
How to volunteer: There are a variety of ways to support Justice For My Sister as a volunteer. In the org’s "Get Involved" page, there is a checklist form that you can list in order to volunteer. Some of these include: hosting an event, becoming a social media ambassador, reaching out to your network, writing for their blog, getting press coverage by contacting local journalists, reaching out to non-profit organizations, schools, and churches to see if they can co-host events, and researching conferences, festivals, and exhibition spaces .
(Los Angeles, California / Phoenix, Arizona)
About: Founded in 2018, Made In Her Image is a non-profit movement striving towards social equity in the film, media and entertainment industry for girls and women of color. We serve youths aged 8 to 18 by curating engaging programming to foster media literacy and empowerment. We are dedicated to the advancement of young girls and women in film, media, and technology, and strive to create and shape the film pioneers and revolutionaries of tomorrow.
How to Volunteer: We are currently in the process of identifying partners for workshop spaces, application design & curriculum development.
About: Spirit of the Sun, Inc. is an incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the state of Colorado. For over a decade, we have partnered with Native American communities across the nation to develop new opportunities for tribes and Native American individuals. Spirit of the Sun is founded on the belief that effective and sustainable development work recognizes the intersections of culture, community, economy, and health, and that true success is only possible through collaboration. We maintain open and ongoing dialogues with all of our partners to ensure that every project or initiative reflects the unique needs and goals of the Native communities we serve.
How to volunteer: The committee is centered around networking, involving youth in their programming efforts, and hearing from youth directly on community needs and action items. All youths 24 and under are invited to this space to attend in solidarity with Spirit of the Sun’s mission. Stay involved in whatever capacity fits for your schedule and availability!
About: QWOCMAP uses film to shatter stereotypes and bias, reveal the lived truth of inequality, address the vital, intersecting issues that concern multiple populations, and build understanding and community around art and social justice. QWOCMAP creates, exhibits, and distributes high-impact films that authentically reflect the lives of queer women of color (cisgender & transgender), and gender non-binary/nonconforming/variant and transgender people of color (of any orientation), and address the vital, intersecting social justice issues that concern our multiple communities. QWOCMAP’s vision nurtures filmmakers as artist-activist leaders for social change.
How to volunteer: We want the best volunteers because we believe that our audiences deserve to have a wonderful, welcoming QWOCMAP experience. We know that our amazing volunteers mirror the light that radiates from our community, and we cannot thank you enough! We have volunteer positions at our QWOCMAP office, during the Film Festival, at our after parties, and at our community events throughout the year. The venues we choose for our events are ALWAYS wheelchair accessible, and we make sure to take into account the access needs of everyone in attendance.
About: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Writers Guild Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote the history and craft of writing for the screen. We’re proud of all we do for the community, including our Veterans Writing Project, our Volunteer and Mentorship Programs, our Archive, and the Shavelson-Webb Library — the world’s only library devoted entirely to writing for the screen.
How to volunteer: The Writers Guild Foundation has a form page where you can apply to become a volunteer. In the application they ask for your availability date. They also ask questions based on how you would react to situational predicaments to see how you’d work as a team member.
About: By bringing together industry officials, workers and audiences, WIFVNE promotes positive images of women to the public and works to empower women working in the industry to achieve their professional potential.
How to volunteer: Whether you’re a member or not, you can get involved by signing up as a mentor or a mentee. On their form sheet, the WIFVNE asks you to list your occupation, interests, and skills you offer to see if you will be a perfect fit to become a mentor for their program. They even offer a ‘speed dating’ event to help match you with a mentee.