Person

Diana Barrett

Occupation:

Founder, Fledgling Fund

Diana Barrett is the founder of the Fledgling Fund and a former Harvard University professor of business and public health. A professor from 1980 to 2004, she launched The Fledgling Fund in 2005 for the purposes of funding media projects promoting left-of-center advocacy interests, most prominently environmentalist documentary films. [1]

Barrett is married and has three children. She has a doctoral degree in organizational behavior from Harvard. [2]

Harvard Career

Barrett was in Harvard’s Masters and Doctoral programs from 1973 to 1978. She subsequently taught in the Masters of Business Administration program from 1980 to 2004 and did health care consulting. [3]

Barrett taught at the School of Public Health and Harvard Business School. She has described her interest areas as “the global burden of disease” and related public-private solutions to problems such as HIV-AIDS and malaria, as well as corporate involvement in “solving social problems” such as “diversity, sustainable housing, and health benefits.” [4]

The Fledgling Fund

The Fledgling Fund was founded in 2005. It provides funding for media projects for the purposes of creating social change related to “complex social issues that affect the most vulnerable.” [5]

In 2016, it had $614,888 in revenues, $1,841,783 in expenses, and $13,085,785 in assets. Its two staff are Executive Director Sheila Leddy and Director of Programs Emily Strom. [6]

The Fund supported about 25 of 300 requests in 2017, according to Barrett. From 2005 to 2018, it has funded 450 projects “to highlight and bring action to human rights, racism, and immigration,” according to Foundation Source. [7]

While many of its funded projects are apolitical or in support of human rights-related causes, it has an explicitly left-leaning philosophy. [8] It funded several environmentalist advocacy films and is partnering with the abortion advocacy group PAI. [9] [10] PAI and Fledgling Fund partnered to create media fellowships dedicated to promotion of “women’s sexual and reproductive rights” in America and internationally. [11]

In 2017, The Fledgling Fund provided $420,000 to various film projects as part of its Outreach & Engagement initiative. A number of films had left-leaning objectives. One film about alleged “homophobia” in the wake of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting received $15,000. Another received $25,000 to tell the story of a woman kept on life support to keep her unborn child alive. According to Fledglings description of the woman’s situation, the goal of the film is to “raise awareness on the consequences of ‘fetal protection’ laws…which give the government unprecedented control over a woman’s body – even her dead body.” [12]

Fledgling also provided $25,000 to the Youth and Gender Media Project in 2018. The grant supported the Project’s impact plan as part of the Project’s mission to produce films which “foster inclusive schools and communities” for transgender and “gender expansive” youth. [13]

Foundation Source reported that Fledgling’s money has had specific impacts. Film projects have won awards and been featured at top-tier film festivals. The film Sin by Silence about women who went to jail after killing their abusers, was funded by Fledgling and led to the passage of three bills in California. [14]

Other Pursuits

Barrett sits on a number of advisory boards. She is “most actively” engaged with board activity for the Everglades Foundation and the Acumen Fund’s Advisory Board. [15]

The Everglades Foundation focuses on restoration of the Everglades in Florida. Acumen provides grants for innovative business practices to reduce poverty in the U.S. and internationally. When she joined the Everglades Foundation Board in 2014, Barrett also sat on the Acumen Board, the Board of the Social Change Film Forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School of government, and the Advisory Board of Earthwatch. [16]

Barrett participated in the inaugural Film Forum in 2010. That Forum brought media, academic, and other experts together to discuss how social change is accelerated through effective use of modern media. Earthwatch engages in research for environmental improvement. [17]

References

  1. Skoll, Diana Barrett Biography, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://skoll.org/contributor/diana-barrett/ ^
  2. LinkedIn, Diana Barrett, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianabarrett/ ^
  3. LinkedIn, Diana Barrett, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianabarrett/ ^
  4. Skoll, Diana Barrett Biography, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://skoll.org/contributor/diana-barrett/ ^
  5. The Fledgling Fund, Who We Are, Accessed April 19, 2019. http://www.thefledglingfund.org/who-we-are/ ^
  6. The Fledgling Fund, 2016 990-EF, April 19, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/990/LATEST/2/FLEDGLING%20FUND%202016%20202450707.PDF ^
  7. Foundation Source, “Un-silent movies – Diana Barrett uses visual storytelling to give voice to the vulnerable,” Accessed on April 19, 2019. https://www.foundationsource.com/resources/client-story/conversation-diana-barrett/ ^
  8. The Fledgling Fund, Outreach & Engagement Fund, Accessed April 19, 2019. http://www.thefledglingfund.org/documentary-fund/ ^
  9. The Fledgling Fund, “Fledgling announces eight rapid story deployment grants,” April 17, 2018. Accessed April 19, 2019. http://www.thefledglingfund.org/fledgling-announces-eight-rapid-story-deployment-grants/[/note] [note]PAI, Who We Are, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://pai.org/who-we-are/ ^
  10. Twitter, The Fledgling Fund, September 10, 2018. Accessed April 19, 2019. https://twitter.com/fledglingfund/status/1039219202740117504 ^
  11. Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival, Double Exposure Fledgling Fund Fellowship, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://doubleexposurefestival.com/attend/fledgling-fund-fellowship/ ^
  12. The Fledgling Fund Blog, “Fledgling provides over $400,000 in outreach and engagement funding in 2017,” December 21, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2019. http://www.thefledglingfund.org/fledgling-provides-over-400000-in-outreach-and-engagement-funding-in-2017/ ^
  13. The Fledgling Fund Blog, “Fledgling provides over $400,000 in outreach and engagement funding in 2017,” December 21, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2019. http://www.thefledglingfund.org/fledgling-provides-over-400000-in-outreach-and-engagement-funding-in-2017/ ^
  14. Foundation Source, “Un-silent movies – Diana Barrett uses visual storytelling to give voice to the vulnerable,” Accessed on April 19, 2019. https://www.foundationsource.com/resources/client-story/conversation-diana-barrett/ ^
  15. The Fledgling Fund, Who We Are, Accessed April 19, 2019. http://www.thefledglingfund.org/who-we-are/ ^
  16. Everglades Foundation, “Dr. Diana Barrett appointed to the Board of Directors of Everglades Foundation,” April 17, 2014. Accessed April 19, 2019. https://evergladesfoundation.org/dr-diana-barrett-appointed-to-the-board-of-directors-of-everglades-foundation/ ^
  17. The Harvard Gazette, “Film as Social Change,” 2010. Accessed April 19, 2019. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/04/film-as-social-change/[/note] [note]Earthwatch Institute, History of Earthwatch, Accessed April 19, 2019. https://earthwatch.org/About/History-of-Earthwatch ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Fledgling Fund (Non-profit)
    President
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