CMG Focus Fund

CMG’s Focus Fund supports feature film projects that aim to create measurable impact in the focus areas of healthy oceans & renewable energy solutions. These grants of $25,000-$150,000 may be used for project development, a pitch trailer, a portion of or entire production, and/or film distribution & impact engagement.

What is the CMG Focus Fund Grant?

CMG seeks filmmakers, activists and organizations with prior filmmaking credentials as potential Focus Fund grantees. Most Focus Fund grant proposals include matching grants or additional funding from organizations & foundations aready involved in the film project, however matching or additional funds are not required. CMG does offer seed funding for feature film projects as a first funder. Focus Fund grants may be used for project development, a pitch trailer, a portion of or entire production, and/or film distribution & impact engagement. Focus Fund proposals may seek to create action locally, nationally, or internationally and may be based anywhere in the world. All CMG grants are distributed as charitble funds and require that they are used in a responsible, non-profit manner.

What is required for a CMG Focus Fund film project?

  • The feature film must have a goal to create measureable impact in ocean health or sustainable energy.
  • Feature film projects should be engaging, unique, and part of a strategic campaign to create change that can be tracked through key performance indicators.
  • A clearly defined target audience should be associated with a specific call-to-action and distribution plan. Target audiences could include millions of people, or even a single stakeholder, but should be thoughtfully determined with a specific result in mind.
  • Project plans should also include a measurement of resulting action—this could mean tracking the number of petition signatures, pledges, sign-ups or something creative. CMG grants in general are not focused on "vanity metrics" such as shares, likes or social media views.
  • A strategic plan for distribution should specify how the video will reach and engage with audiences, whether through social media, traditional media or in-person events, networks & screenings.
  • Partnerships for distribution, strategy and impact are desired (but not required), especially if the applicant is an individual filmmaker without a sponsoring organization. Focus Fund grantees are expected to develop broader partnerships through the course of the grant, if not already obtained.

Special Considerations for CMG Grants

Creative Freedom. CMG ensures that grantees are allowed full creative freedom for the contents of their projects; however, the project subject matter, description and timeline must remain intact, unless changes are approved by CMG.

License. Grantees are required to license their projects under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. This license allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially. This licensing is in place so that all grantee projects are non-commercial and easily shareable while remaining the property of the grantee.

Charitable Funds. CMG Action Grants are disbursed from charitable funds and must be used in compliance with CMG guidelines. Grant funds may not be used with the intention of making profit.

More About CMG’s Focus Areas

HEALTHY OCEANS: To positively impact the state of the ocean's health by responding to major challenge areas such as pollution (eg. run-off, oil spills, plastics, trash), climate change (e.g. ocean acidification, rising seas) & lack of protections (e.g. sustainable fisheries, marine protected areas, human-wildlife interaction) 

RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLUTIONS: To positively impact the future of the world's energy production & use by encouraging renewable solutions (eg. solar, wind) & decreasing fossil fuel use (eg. coal, oil, natural gas), as well curbing energy consumption.

Grant proposals that fall outside of CMG's Focus Areas will not be considered for CMG grants.

The Grant Process

Proposal: After an initial discussion or call for proposals, potential grantees will be asked to submit a project proposal that includes a detailed summary of the proposed project, including production, distribution & impact plans, expected timeline, key deadlines, and proposed grant amount with single-page budget. Proposals should also include information about key project personnel, confirmed or potential partner organizations, and any matching funds available or sought.

Grant Offer & Disbursement: CMG will deliver to the grantee a grant offer letter outlining the proposed project, grant amount, and requirements & expectations. The grantee must then return documentation with official signatures to CMG to accept the grant. Upon acceptance of the grant, CMG will disburse the grant in agreed upon increments. Grantees may use a CMG-approved fiscal sponsor to receive their grant disbursements.

Reporting: CMG grantees are required to submit grant reports throughout the term of the grant, including updates on activities, accomplishments, and expenses, as well as media documenting the progress of the project such as photos of production or distribution events.

Grant Close: CMG grants will not be considered closed until a final report is submitted, including a project expense report and detailed impact measurements following distribution & engagement.

How to Apply

Currently, CMG does not accept unsolicited Focus Fund applications. The best way to approach us about a grant is to attend one of our Catalyst Workshops, apply for one of our Action Grant Pitches, or meet up with us at a film or conservation event.

View our Grantmaking Policies & Procedures

Current Focus Fund Opportunities: no current opportunities

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