Gates Grant Supports Center for Strategic Communications

Written by Laura Paskin
September 13, 2013

The Center for Strategic Communications has received a $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue and evolve the center’s work on family homelessness. The grant will support a new fellowship program, the Film & Family Homelessness Project. This is the fourth grant the center has received from the foundation.

The program has invited local filmmakers to submit proposals describing how they will explore and illuminate stories of the thousands of Washington families who are homeless or living in poverty. The four filmmakers accepted to the program  will meet with film industry mentors and family homelessness experts before creating a short film.

Each Fellow will receive a grant of $8,000 plus the services of a film crew and use of related equipment during winter 2014 to complete the film. Seattle University students will be selected to assist the filmmakers.

Proposals must be submitted by Oct. 11, 2013. More information is available from Lindy Boustedt, project manager.  Boustedt is well known within the Seattle independent film community as a writer/director/producer with First Sight Productions.

“Film has great power to illuminate issues of social justice, but finding the wherewithal to make films that do that can be incredibly difficult,” said Professor Barry Mitzman, director of the Center for Strategic Communications. “We’re pleased that we can provide resources that will empower filmmakers to tell the stories of Washington’s vulnerable families and explore the issues affecting them.”

The project reflects the university’s Jesuit Catholic mission of empowering leaders for a just and humane world. Three out of four university students volunteer in the community. In 2005, Seattle University became the first university in the nation to host an encampment for people who were homeless.

The university expanded its community involvement in 2010 by launching the Youth Initiative, a partnership with Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle,and more than 30 organizations to improve the lives of low-income families in the area. The program won the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Award.

“We are very pleased to again partner with the Gates Foundation,” said David Powers, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “The Film & Family Homelessness Project is another demonstration of the university’s commitment to community service and to involving students in positive social change. It also exemplifies the uniquely Seattle University experience of our Film Studies program, which offers easy access to internships, professional mentoring and film industry networking in a city that is home to dozens of production companies, art-house theaters and film festivals.”

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate major degrees, 37 minors, and 6 master’s degrees.