Sharing our umbrella

Jupau Cultural Center
The impact campaign of The Territory documentary has helped build the Jupaú Media & Cultural Center in the Brazilian Amazon.

Homelands Productions became a legally recognized nonprofit in 1989 and we soon became known in public broadcasting circles for our multi-part radio series from around the world. Between 1991 and 2013, we filed more than 200 stories from more than 60 countries and won 22 national and international awards.

During that period, Homelands functioned as a sort of super-freelancer. As a tax-exempt organization, we could raise funds from foundations and donors in ways that we couldn’t as individuals. Internally, we operated as a cooperative, sharing decision-making among our producer-members. The core Homelands team has always been small, ranging from three to six (today we are five), but we often hired journalists from outside our group, strengthening our product while providing paying work for dozens of colleagues.

For years, the formula worked. Sometimes, when we had a large project going, we could even pay ourselves for our efforts to maintain the organization – filing our taxes, renewing our business license, fixing our website when it broke. Between projects, we would pare back to the essentials as we laid the groundwork for whatever was next.

Each of us “Homies” has always had other things going – as journalists, professors, authors, editors, and so forth. But even when our focus has been elsewhere, Homelands has given us a second family, a deeply valued source of personal and professional support.

This is one reason we’ve chosen to keep our collective alive all these years. But there’s another, arguably more compelling reason: maintaining our nonprofit status gives us a way to support extraordinary work conceived and led by others. Over the years, we have extended our 501(c)(3) umbrella to books, films, podcasts, and other projects. Lately, this has become an even bigger part of what we do.

Projects we sponsor may receive grants and tax-deductible donations without having to establish and maintain a legal tax-exempt organization. They may also take advantage of Homelands’ reputation, mentorship, and advice. Fiscal sponsorship is especially useful for exploratory or start-up projects, where the final product or outlet may be uncertain. At this writing, we are pleased to be serving as fiscal sponsor for five projects:

  • The impact campaign of the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documentary “The Territory,” which has raised funds for the establishment of a media and cultural center in the homeland of the Indigenous group featured in the film;
  • Rough Transition,” which grows out of Gregory Warner’s long-running NPR podcast “Rough Translation;”
  • Mort Report,” the electronic newsletter of the legendary international correspondent and author Mort Rosenblum;
  • “The Turnaway Project,” which is exploring ways to bring the findings of a groundbreaking 10-year abortion study to a broader audience; and
  • The Border Chronicle,” an independent news bureau on the US-Mexico border led by veteran journalists Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller.

For Homelands, fiscal sponsorship is an effective way to advance our mission “to illuminate complex issues through compelling broadcasts, articles, books, and educational forums, and to foster freedom of expression and creative risk through the media arts.” If you’d like to propose a project for sponsorship, send us a note at