Kindling Group produces and sponsors documentary films exploring critical social issues and channels these projects into powerful tools for community engagement and change. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, we provide independent and emerging filmmakers with an environment that supports meaningful productions, maximizes their impact with strong outreach, and fosters connections between media makers and the broader community.
|Kindling Group was founded in 2002 by Danny Alpert, a producer, director and editor who has been making films for 17 years. Kindling recently finished the production of it's high-profile project: The Calling, a four-hour mini-series that aired nationally on PBS’ award-winning Independent Lens series in December of 2010. Right now @home is in post-production. On any given night 671,857 people are homeless. @home tells many such stories through the eyes of Mark Horvath, a formerly homeless man and now homeless activist, social media agitator and YouTube celebrity, as he explores innovative responses to this crisis and breaks down the barriers between "us" and "them." Kindling Group has recently released Do No Harm which tells the story of two reluctant whistleblowers in a small Georgia town who endure relentless attacks as they struggle to draw national attention to hospital corruption and the plight of the uninsured. Also in distribution is Kindling’s award-winning A Doula Story about a remarkable woman who empowers disadvantaged pregnant teenagers with the skills and confidence to become loving mothers, which aired on PBS stations across the country.
Board of Directors
Andrew Friedman is a longtime friend of Kindling Group. He earned his JD from the University of Texas and his MBA from the University of London. For many years, he worked as an employment lawyer for the U.S. Postal Service, and is now retired. Andrew serves on several theater and film boards in Chicago and Texas, where he is a part-time resident.
Rachel Kraft has been working in the arts for 25 years. Before accepting her position as Executive Director of Lookingglass, she spent 12 years as Director of Development for the Goodman Theatre. Working for Chicago’s oldest and largest nonprofit theater, Rachel led a department that raised funds for an annual campaign with a goal of more than $5 million, and oversaw the completion of the theater’s successful capital campaign raising $34 million in gifts and pledges. She also played an integral role in guiding the board development efforts of the board of trustees, including the cultivation, recruitment and acclimation of many of the high-profile members on the company’s current board.
Previously, Rachel served in development and marketing positions with the Arts & Business Council, Northlight Theatre, and the Chicago Dance Coalition. She completed a year-long Community Renewal Leadership Program through the A. H. Wilder Foundation in Minnesota and a summer Harvard Business School program in “Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management.” A member of the Alumnae Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, Rachel also participates as a mentor in a program initiated by the Illinois Arts Alliance. She is a charter board member of Kindling Group, a nonprofit group supporting documentary filmmaking and a trustee of the Jewish Women Foundation of Chicago. Rachel serves as Vice President of the Theater Communications Group and Vice Chair of the League of Chicago Theatre, the national and local service organizations for theater.
Nicole Bashor is an attorney with the Intellectual Property Group where she provides counseling on patent, trademark, copyright, and social media issues. She assists clients in all stages of business development to implement long-term intellectual property strategies that integrate the procurement and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Susan J. White | Director of Marketing
Susan is an independent writer with a background in journalism, public relations and fundraising; she provides creative communications for a variety of non-profit and other valuable organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors of Farther Foundation, which supports economically disadvantaged high school students with scholarships for educational travel, and The Auxiliary of NorthShore University Health System.
Ethan Bensinger is an old friend of Kindling Group. A distinguished lawyer, he served as Senior Counsel at the firm Fragomen, Del Ray & Bernsen through 2007. Today, he is the managing director at Bensinger Global Media, which has offices in both Israel and Chicago. Ethan recently had his directing debut with the award-winning documentary REFUGE, which traces the war-time experiences of six Holocaust survivors residing at the SelfHelp Home in Chicago. REFUGE has screened at many venues in Europe and the United States, and has been broadcast nationwide by PBS.
Rebecca Schanberg | Director of Board Development
Rebecca recently produced and directed Do No Harm, a documentary that tells the incredible and often outrageous story of two men in a small, southern town who endured relentless attacks in order to draw national attention to the plight of the uninsured and bring about reform in health insurance. Do No Harm is her first directorial effort and is being broadcast on PBS stations around the country. Rebecca was the Associate Producer for A Doula Story and coordinated the national educational outreach campaign for the film. Prior to joining Kindling Group, she was Director of Corporate Philanthropy at Polo Ralph Lauren, where she managed the corporation's charitable giving program and helped create and run the company's widely publicized "Pink Pony Campaign." She has also worked as a Community and Women's Liaison in The Office of the Manhattan Borough President under Ruth Messinger, and as a Team Leader and Program Designer for City Year, a national urban peace corps. Rebecca holds a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University.
Lucy Moog worked on Capitol Hill in both the Senate and House of Representatives, where she focused on healthcare and reproductive rights issues. Since her time in Washington, Lucy has worked on four presidential campaigns and several gubernatorial and congressional races helping to lead community outreach efforts. She also served as the District Director for the 5th Congressional District. In 2007, Lucy took a leadership role in launching the critically acclaimed public art and environmental advocacy campaign called "Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet." Cool Globes has since exhibited in 13 cities around the world.