Top 12 Happenings of 2012

Dear friends and fans, What started as a "passion project" of mine, inspired by my dream job title of "benevolent media creator," has grown beyond my expectations into a thriving community of change-seekers and media-makers like you. I am honored to have hosted, promoted and advised on storytelling and design projects in D.C. and beyond. Thank you for your support. Let's all be excited for 2013!

And now...a quick look back, before facing forward.

Benevolently, Erica

Top 12 Happenings of 2012

1. We hosted another festival.

The second annual #BenMedFest returned to Washington, D.C. on June 21-25. The citywide series of events celebrated storytellers, designers, filmmakers, photographers and other creatives dedicated to social and environmental good. This year’s festival was organized along five main themes: LearnReviveSustainHeal, and Empower. It included 18 events over four days, attracting more than 500 attendees.

2. We made ideas come true.

We organized a Pitch Night to give benevolent media creators a chance to showcase their pitches and proposals in captivating 3-minute presentations, for a chance to win cash prizes to make their idea a reality. The $2,000 Grand Prize was awarded to documentary filmmaker Chithra Jeyaram. The funds will be used to build the website for “1001 Breast Cancer Nights,” an online video portal to share stories of breast cancer.

3. We gave the gift of giving.

We hosted a weekend holiday marketplace that featured handpicked vendors dedicated to eco-conscious art, craft and design, plus family-friendly activities, with a special focus on local artists, businesses and nonprofits that “give back” to the environment or the community. A complementary silent auction, plus a food and clothing drive, organized by RaiseDC, benefited So Others Might Eat (SOME), which helps the poor and homeless in D.C.

4. We pop-up-shopped.

In celebration of Earth Day, we collaborated with SCRAP DC to present an afternoon ofeco-conscious art and design, featuring a pop-up marketplace of local vendors and interactive workshops led by teaching artists dedicated to inspiring “creative reuse” and environmentally sustainable behavior. This event was scheduled as part of The Water Street Project, a multidisciplinary “flash” exhibition housed in a temporary art gallery/creative space.

5. We reflected on clean water.

We organized “Reflections,” a photo sale and fundraiser to celebrate clean water and river conservation. Proceeds from the evening benefited Potomac Riverkeeper, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping pollution and restoring clean water in the Potomac River, Shenandoah River and their tributaries. This special event was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, as well as to raise awareness about World Rivers Day.

6. We got "louder than a bomb."

We organized a fundraiser party to benefit Split This Rock and the DC Youth Slam Team. Friends and fans joined us for live performances by D.C.’s best and brightest youth poets, plus excerpts from Louder Than a Bomb, an award-winning documentary about the world’s largest teen poetry slam, based out of Chicago. Funds raised at the party helped stage the first-ever Louder Than A Bomb High School Poetry Slam Festival in Washington, D.C. in June 2012.

7. We ate healthy.

Friends and fans joined us at Epic Yoga, a beautiful new yoga studio, for a special afternoon film screening of PLANEAT, the story of three men’s search for a diet, which is good for our health, good for the environment and good for the future of the planet. Donations collected at the event benefited A Well-Fed World, a D.C.-based hunger relief and animal protection organization.


8. We discussed disaster.

As part of DC Design Week, we hosted a discussion with leaders in the fields of communication design, technology, multimedia journalism and architecture to learn how designers of all disciplines can contribute to the prevention and relief of the devastating effects of natural and human disasters worldwide. The event was held in part to commemorate the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction.

9. We made our pitch.

Our founder Erica Schlaikjer attended A Better World by Design, a three-day conference held annually in Providence, Rhode Island to build a global community of socially conscious and passionate innovators. She was invited to attend a workshop, hosted by Barnum, a design and innovation firm, to pitch her idea on how to build a movement to support benevolent media creators worldwide.

10. We cared for what matters.

Benevolent Media was a proud partner of Media That Matters 2012: Change for Good. This year’s Media That Matters conference, “Change for Good,”  hosted by American University’s Center for Social Media, featured conversations about how independent social change filmmakers can execute integrated campaigns that are strategic, action-oriented, and have enduring impact.

11. We got social.

Social Media Week kicked off in February in cities around the world. We covered a few of the sessions that had to do with storytelling or design for social and environmental good.

12. We covered changemakers.

We covered the 2012 Net Impact Conference, the premier event for students and professionals using their careers for good. The posts were featured on Triple Pundit, a news organization that covers sustainable business in the 21st century.