LETS BREAKTHROUGH INC

aka Breakthrough   |   New York, NY   |  www.letsbreakthrough.org

Mission

Breakthrough is a global human rights organization that uses a potent mix of media, arts, and technology to dismantle cultural norms that lead to violence and discrimination. We create innovative, relevant multimedia campaigns, tools, and programs as well as conduct transformative leadership training and community engagement. These products and activities reach people and institutions where they are, inspiring and equipping them to build a world where everyone enjoys dignity, equality, and respect.

Ruling year info

2002

President and CEO

Nakisha M. Lewis

Main address

4 West 43rd Street Suite 715

New York, NY 10036 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

31-1793681

NTEE code info

International Human Rights (Q70)

Women's Rights (R24)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Human rights are part of our everyday lives. They are intrinsic to how we treat each other in our homes, families, workplaces, communities, and social spaces. They are about recognizing and taking responsibility for the power and privilege we carry with us. Our vision of a world is one in which norms and values derived from power and dominance over others are transformed into a global culture based on dignity, equality, and respect. We reject cultural norms, practices, and products that perpetuate violence and discrimination. And in their place, we produce and uplift media, arts, and technology that promote the core human rights values. Our work intentionally weaves together the multitude of compounding social factors and forces that shape our lived experiences and often lead to violence and discrimination.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Breakthrough's program in the U.S.

For twenty years, Breakthrough has harnessed media and popular culture to spark conversations and cultural transformation at the intersection of gender, sexuality, racial justice, and immigrant rights. Through nuanced, authentic storytelling, we uplift the voices and experiences of marginalized people, to challenge systemic barriers and build their cultural power. In 2020-2021, Breakthrough will focus its dynamic, multimedia platforms and campaigns on Gen Z youth from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. These changemakers are reshaping the cultural landscape with their creativity and commitment to building a more equitable, sustainable world -- even amid personal experiences of discrimination, violence, and the crisis of COVID-19.

Our short-form documentary film series, Our Stories: In Vivid Color, weaves a tapestry of girls and gender non-conforming youth of color, exploring their lived experiences, creative and activist projects, and radical dreams. Through By & For, our creative incubator, we are building the skills of young writers, podcasters, and other mediamakers, offering curated storytelling and branding support and access to a network of like-minded peers. We will further uplift their voices in We Count!, our campaign to galvanize the youth vote, especially among queer, trans and immigrant youth of color. Our Spotlight video and podcast series offers a space for healing and transformation, through intimate conversations with artists and activists across generations. Together with 70+ partners -- from grassroots activists to youth educators to filmmakers and other cultural influencers -- we will activate media consumers as agents of social change, and introduce new narratives that affirm the dignity and equality of all people.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Adults

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Skoll Foundation Award 2016

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Breakthrough is a global human rights organization driving the culture change we need to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and respect. We do this using a potent mix of media, arts, and technology with an intersectional feminist approach to dismantle cultural norms that lead to violence and discrimination. We inspire and equip people everywhere to lead change, by taking actions both individual and collective. Our work, and the work of our nexus of changemakers, challenges the status quo through bold, creative action.

Breakthrough plays a significant part in the broader movement for social justice in the United States. We are a hub for creatives, cultural workers, artists, and media makers who use their talents to spark social transformation. We inspire people to fight for human rights by catalyzing leadership in communities to change deep-rooted cultural norms by harnessing the power of media and popular culture to spark conversations and transform norms around gender and racial justice, LGBTQ, disability, and immigrant rights, and more.

Partner influencers look to Breakthrough as a leader in leveraging media, the arts, pop culture, videos, and storytelling for social change/justice. In all our programming, we aim for maximum reach and replication so there is not only an impact on individuals or local communities, but a national, transnational, and global reach. Our digital tools, videos, and toolkits are accessible online for anyone to access, and allow people all over the world to replicate actions in their own communities.

As a society, we consume culture. It's an integral part of every-day life. Culture consumption is where Breakthrough seizes the opportunity for change. We reject cultural norms, practices, and products that perpetuate violence and discrimination. In their place, we produce and amplify media, arts, and technology that promote core human rights, dignity, equality, and respect.

Our cutting-edge multimedia campaigns equip everyone to challenge the status quo and take bold action for the dignity, equality, and justice of all.

Breakthrough harnesses the power of arts, pop culture, media, and technology to build movements and reach people where they are, making human rights real, relevant, and requiring of urgent action. We forge partnerships beyond traditional NGOs and set agendas that seed and steer public dialogue around human rights, norms and culture change. We use these tools to set public agendas that transform narratives and make human rights everyone's business. Our partners include artists, influencers, activists, bloggers, and media companies as well as traditional NGOs.

Breakthrough is an expert in designing initiatives that have both local tactics, relevance and impact, and global appeal. We are innovators in the digital space, recognizing that it is through immersive democratized mediums that we can reach young people to ultimately shift cultural narratives, and grow the power of movements for future social change. Organizations around the world look to Breakthrough’s model to create cultural change in their own communities. Over the years, we have built a rich archive of media products and storytelling campaigns that we continue to expand and share with audiences across the world, from campaign partners to youth filmmakers to executives in the writers’ rooms of major television studios and online streaming platforms. All our products, including campaigns and toolkits, are open source and accessible online.

To influence global agendas and for reciprocal learning opportunities, we work with an array of collaborators, including national and global networks, through high level global policy platforms to inform the agendas of influential stakeholders

Breakthrough has won numerous awards and accolades for its videos and media work. In 2016, Breakthrough was one of six recipients of the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Other awards include the Silver Lion, Cannes Film Festival, and Avon Global Award for Excellence in Communications.

Since 1999, our work has helped to support long term shifts to transform culture and norms that support values of human rights and dignity. Our highly visible and participatory multimedia campaigns and deeply transformative on-ground interventions, such as our global 2013 Ring the Bell campaign that reached millions worldwide. The campaign called on men to challenge gender-based violence. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the campaign as a “powerful way for men and boys to make a difference.” The follow up, “Ring the Bell: One Million Men. One Million Promises,” rallied men and allies worldwide to challenge violence against women, with participation from high profile people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart.

Breakthrough most recent major initiative, Our Stories: In Vivid Color (“Our Stories”) amplifies the lived experiences of girls and gender non-conforming youth of color featuring storytellers between the ages of 14-24 across the U.S. (and Puerto Rico), in collaboration with 70+ partners: grassroots organizers, artists and cultural influencers from BIPOC communities. Our Stories was born from an overwhelming demand from marginalized storytellers to see themselves reflected, and their stories heard -- the stories that we are not hearing, or only at a low volume, that need to be magnified, and broadcast to the larger culture.

Additionally, Breakthrough is growing fee-for-service media productions, in close partnership with movement leaders and social justice-minded philanthropists to bring stories of impact to life. For example, together with the Monarch Foundation, we are spearheading a dynamic storytelling campaign to document the impact of grantees and programs, such as a cash assistance program in New York City, directly benefiting low-income immigrant women and their families. In California and Texas, we are developing a powerful campaign featuring the stories and grassroots activism of Latinx, Afro-Latinx and Indigenous farmworkers advocating for labor and immigrant rights, sustainable agriculture, and an end to gender-based violence in the industry. Breakthrough not only produces and directs these media productions, but also provides strategic guidance based on decades of experience at the vanguard of narrative and culture change. Partners are increasingly seeking Breakthrough out for this expertise, and we look forward to deepening these partnerships in the coming years.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The general population, with a focus on youth and marginalized groups, such as BIPOC, women/girls and nonbinary/gender-nonconforming, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, immigrants, etc.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

LETS BREAKTHROUGH INC

Board of directors
as of 2/10/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sunil Savkar

Mallika Dutt

Michael Hirschhorn

Maggie Bangser

Darnell Moore

Netflix

Marilia Bezerra

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/06/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/28/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.