Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Docs In Progress

Creating Community Through Documentary

Silver Spring, MD


Docs In Progress gives individuals the tools to tell stories through documentary film to educate, inspire, and transform the way people view their world.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Thank you for visiting the Docs In Progress Guidestar page. As a nonprofit dedicated to support films and filmmakers who are "in progress," we also see ourselves as a work-in-progress, continuing to grow in our capacity and impact.

We are about to enter a new phase in our development as we move to a new space which will double our physical space and expand our programming capacity, and introduce us to new constituents who will find a space for energy, expression, and empowerment through the power of documentary storytelling.

We welcome you to join us on this journey.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Erica Ginsberg

Main Address

801 Wayne Avenue Suite G-100

Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA


documentary,film,filmmakers,independent film,video,community media,film festival





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Film, Video (A31)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

In an era when fake news and reality TV have become the norm, documenting true stories is more important than ever. Documentary filmmakers have become the investigative journalists, social activists, and griots of our time. While more people than ever now have access to the equipment to use video as a storytelling tool to document people and history, we give them the tools to become great storytellers, connect with peers, and get their work out into the world to connect with audiences.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Public Screening Programs

Continuing Education and Professional Development Programs

Youth Programs

Community Stories Program and Festival

Artist Services and Technical Support

Nonprofit Communications Skillbuilding

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Our focus is on fostering a community of visual storytellers with fresh perspectives crucial to civic discourse, social change, and greater awareness of key issues confronting our society. By cultivating diverse voices in documentary projects, we also seek to deepen the public's experience, understanding, and appreciation for documentary as a form of art and expression. We do this by offering an array of programs aimed at connecting aspiring and experienced documentary filmmakers with each other and the broader community.

Docs In Progress is committed to:

* Offering opportunities for documentary filmmakers to be immersed in an environment where they can explore the art of cinematic storytelling and have the freedom to make films that reflect a diverse range of topics and viewpoints.

* Maintaining a supportive artistic environment built on honesty, trust and openness that allows filmmakers to share ideas, learn from others and develop their individual potential.

* Connecting the public with documentary filmmakers and their work in the belief that this form of engagement enhances the work of the filmmakers, public understanding of the creative process, and the artistic, cultural, and civic life of the community.

* Cultivating collaborative community partnerships that encourage and inspire new levels of creativity.

Docs In Progress has been offering programs aimed at supporting the filmmaking community, particularly in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, since 2004. We have been a nonprofit since 2008. In that timeframe, we have grown our programs, our constituency, and have broadened the definition of who can be a documentary storyteller.

Our staff, our board, and our teaching artists all have expertise and experience they bring to our programming and we have been supported by an enthusiastic community of donors, volunteers, program partners, and grant-makers such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation, and many others.

Our staff and board conduct ongoing evaluation and honing of our programs to ensure they are on mission, meeting the needs of constituents, current with trends in our field, and are impactful.

While some impacts are easily measured (for example, our after-school enrichment program is focused on improving student attendance, engagement, and grades), some are a little harder to quantify. We track developments by alumni of our programs in making progress with their projects. Our biggest goal for first-time filmmakers is the completion of the first full piece of work, as we believe that this represents a major accomplishment. For more advanced filmmakers, we focus on broadcast, distribution and awards, as these represent the next keys to a successful professional career as a documentary filmmaker.

Some alumni of our programs have played at prestigious film festivals (Tribeca, SXSW, HotDocs, etc.). Some have had national broadcast on PBS or BET. Some have won awards (Peabody, Emmys). Some have been screened around the world. Others have had an impact by raising awareness of the topics they document (such as immigration reform, civil and human rights, revisiting historical events, or introducing us to people whose stories we might not otherwise know).

As an organization, we look for progress in terms of being able to provide high quality programs within our capacity and building connections and partnerships with other organizations which have overlap or can supplement our work and the needs of our constituents.

Thousands of documentary filmmakers have been through our programs. To help meet increasing demand for our programs and services, Docs In Progress is excited to be moving into a new space in January 2019 which will expand our capacity through doubling our physical size, incorporating a screening space as well as office space and classrooms, and reducing our rent so we can also expand program capacity through staffing growth.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Volunteers.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
Our constituency is highly diverse in age, race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity. We have also made strides in including people with disabilities as much as we can (given the audio-visual nature of our art form). More than half the participants in our technology training programs are women. Our Fellowship cohorts are highly diverse, and we ensure economic diversity through targeted programs, scholarships, and many free/near-free public programs. Age, gender, and occupational diversity has been consistently strong on our Board, though we still feel the board could better reflect the broader diversity of our community (this is a goal of our strategic plan). We do ask for demographic data in applications (though it is voluntary). While our permanent staff is small, we have made efforts to take into account diversity in recruiting interns, and contract teaching artists.