Council on Foundation’s CF100 Video Contest

Can you tell a good story that motivates people to action in little over a minute and a half? The Council on Foundations believes so, which is why we sponsored a 100-second video contest as part of our commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the first community foundation in the United States.

The #CF100 Centennial Video Contest gave community foundations a chance to create and submit videos that highlighted their role in shaping their communities. It also presented a unique opportunity to celebrate the great impact of community philanthropy and the centennial anniversary of the Cleveland Foundation, and shape the future of community foundations for the next 100 years.  

Videos can be used to tell impactful stories, however learning how to develop them can be a daunting task. Therefore, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Council provided a webinar that assisted community foundations in creating high impact videos at low financial and organizational cost. The webinar was conducted by The Poynter Institute, a nationally acclaimed institution dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders.  The webinar focused on how to “tell your story in a minute forty.”  It helped community foundations to determine the focus of the story, the motivators (such as money, family, health, safety and community) that help deliver the message of the video, the tension at the start of the story, and how the viewer will understand the main character.

The #CF100 Video Contest ran from July to September 2014. Thirty-eight community foundations submitted videos describing the impact and importance of place-based philanthropy in their communities. The judges had their work cut out for them given the quality of the submissions. They named fourteen finalists, from which they ultimately selected the three winners:

  • First Place: The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County
  • Second Place: The Cleveland Foundation
  • Third Place: The Winnipeg Foundation

Prizes were awarded to the top three winners thanks to the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The judges also decided to distinguish the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Hamilton Community Foundation with honorable mentions, given their high scores and overall excellence.

To give you a sense of the power of the winning videos, let me briefly describe the story of the first place video from the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.  It focused on a young man whose parents emigrated from Mexico and who was the first one in his family to pursue higher education. One of the primary focus areas of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County is reducing the achievement gap, specifically within the Latino community. The video is powerful because it pulls you into the story of the young man and his family so that you can truly understand how the community foundation played a role in his success. It brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

I hope you will view this video and all of the other winners and finalists to learn about the great work of these community foundations. You might just get inspired to create one yourself.  If you do, please share it with me. I’d love to see your videos!

About the author(s)

Associate Director, Community Philanthrophy
Council on Foundations