Kindling Group (KG) crafts powerful documentaries and engagement campaigns to ignite change. We embrace a fast changing world of storytelling — combining the artistry of award-winning films with innovative strategies that take media and impact across platforms, genres, and technologies. We initiate our own projects and support independent filmmakers, bringing a unique mix of talents and Chicago-style problem solving to using film for good. KG is a Chicago-
based 501(c3) nonprofit founded in 2002 by Danny Alpert, a producer, director, and editor whose documentary work has been nominated for both Academy and national Emmy awards.
|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
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.
Mitch has over 25 years experience building brands and executing campaigns for Saturn from GM, Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Subway International, Audi, Clorox, Discover Card, Kinko’s, BellSouth, Sears, Craftsman, Ford, Midas, Unilever, and many others. He has consistently won highest honors at advertising’s most acclaimed award shows. As a strategist, Mitch has been a significant force behind the campaign development that has not only won awards but more importantly, has helped many of these clients out of particularly difficult situations. Prior to Ogilvy, Mitch has worked at Hal Riney and Partners, San Francisco where he was on the original team of twelve creatives who successfully launched GM’s Saturn in 1990, with the theme “A different kind of company. A different kind of car.” He was also a key member of the team at DDB that created the Bud Light campaign in ’92 (which is still running) that helped Bud Light become the #1 light beer in the world, and the #1 beer in the US. Mitch lives with his wife Sharon and 2 children a mile from Wrigley Field in Chicago.