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Heartland nearing $12.5 million fundraising goal

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Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, whose annual film festival in Indianapolis opens Thursday, has surpassed the $10-million mark and hopes to hit its fundraising goal of $12.5 million by the end of next year.

Heartland CEO Jeffrey Sparks publicly announced the campaign, dubbed “One Film Can,” at last year’s festival. Funds from the drive will be used to expand its national outreach, and educate filmmakers and major Hollywood studios about the benefits of creating movies that emphasize the “best of the human spirit.”

The annual Heartland Film Festival awards $150,000 in cash prizes each year to independent filmmakers. With the campaign, however, the organization is looking to raise the profile of all its programs.

Heartland actually started the fundraiser in January 2008 and had already raised $7.9 million at the time of the announcement last October.

In the year since, the not-for-profit had raised an additional $2.3 million as of Aug. 31, the most recent date in which a figure was available, taking Heartland’s total to $10.2 million.

Heartland CEO Jeffrey Sparks is confident his organization can raise another $2.3 million by the end of 2012 to achieve the goal.

“We’re getting a lot closer, so I’m thrilled,” he said. “The fact that we’ve made it beyond what most festivals do gives people a real feeling that we’re going to be around for a while.”

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was founded in 1991 and operates on an annual budget of about $1.8 million.

Johnson Grossnickle and Associates in Greenwood is advising Heartland on its campaign, which is performing well despite the challenges of the economy, said Ted Grossnickle, its founder and senior consultant.

“Heartland has really done a nice job in getting its story and its mission known to many more people in the last five years who hadn’t known about it before then,” he said.

Leading donors to the fundraising campaign include the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, LaRita and Leland Boren and the Glick Fund. Campaign chairs are Bart and Amy Peterson and Tom and Jenny Godby.

Apart from an endowment for the film festival’s cash prizes, the money will go to the organization’s operating budget.

--$1.85 million to the Heartland Institute;

--$2.5 million to build the grassroots membership base;

--$2.3 million to increase national and local fund-raising capacity.

--$2.7 million on national advertising and marketing for the Truly Moving Picture Program.

Of the $10.2 million raised so far, however, nearly $1.4 million has been endowed to Heartland to be used over several years.

“The downside to an endowment gift is a lot of money comes in that you can’t touch,” Sparks said. “The better news is that the money’s going to be there, and it’s going to sustain the organization a lot longer.”

Nearly 130 films will be screened at this year’s festival, with five chosen to vie for a $100,000 grand prize. This year’s festival runs from Thursday through Oct. 22.

Heartland has awarded $2.3 million in cash prizes over its 20-year history.

 

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