DEFINE AMERICAN

Louisville, KY   |  https://defineamerican.com/

Mission

Define American is a media and culture organization focused on the power of story to transcend politics and elevate the conversation on immigrants, identity and citizenship in a changing America.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director

Ryan Eller

Main address

822 E Broadway C/O Launch Louisville

Louisville, KY 40204 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-4610491

NTEE code info

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The urgency for changing the culture and the country's operating paradigm about who is American is more critical than ever before. Anti-immigrant hate groups have been waging a largely uncontested culture war to define “American” and define who does and does not belong. The four largest anti-immigrant organizations use their significant resources for anti-immigrant research, media influence, and political “education.” In 2018, an NPR poll found that the TV news that a person consumes is the strongest predictor of their feelings on immigration—stronger, even than that person’s political party. Through fear-mongering, divisive discourse, and inaccurate studies, these anti-immigrant groups have embedded a toxic narrative that paints immigrants as undeserving of human rights. We believe that in a truly inclusive society, culture must precede policy. To improve the politics of immigration, one must first improve the cultural lens through which immigrants are seen.

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?

Chapters

Define American’s Chapters Program creates welcoming communities to encourage culture change across 67 chapters in 23 states. The Chapters train young people to work with local media to shift conversations about immigrants, citizenship, and identity--building a new generation of leaders committed to a just and inclusive society.

Population(s) Served

Define American’s Entertainment Media program builds empathy and fills narrative gaps by providing platforms for sharing stories so people may become media creators, not merely subjects. Define American consults on top-rated media projects, educating Hollywood and embedding humanizing storylines, thus building empathy in millions of viewers each week. Define American also produces its own award-winning content. Define American also launched the first-ever undocumented artist fellowship.

Population(s) Served

Define American’s News Media program disseminates accurate data to journalists and mobilizes the public to counter unjust narratives born out of racism and xenophobia. Define American and its supporters have also compelled more than 44 news outlets to change their style guides, replacing non-fact-based identifiers for immigrants with humanizing language.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

Define American believes that culture must precede policy, and for this reason, it grew quickly to become the leading entertainment and news media industry expert on the topic of immigration as well as creating the fastest-growing immigration-oriented chapters program. Its media industry relationships and creative projects enable it to shape how millions of viewers across the country see and perceive immigrants. Define American seeks to overcome the anti-immigrant prejudice embedded in entertainment and news media, locally and nationally, and seed positive storylines. Specifically, it has identified narratives of “scarcity” and “invasion” as what xenophobic media seeks to embed in the American narrative fabric. Define American counters anti-immigrant narrative systems with narratives of “abundance” and “bondedness.” The country is not full, and all Americans, both old and new, make up the fabric of society. In doing so, Define American will help heal the fractured country and build a more inclusive America—home to all, regardless of country or circumstance of birth. With these narratives, Define American changes the trend in the culture-change field from reacting to xenophobic messages to proactively seeding positive messages.

Additionally, Define American will continue to provide its communities and partners with the evidence-based resources to activate its supporters. As mentioned previously, this year, Define American will conduct three studies, and the results of the studies will be released publicly. This information will be crucial to informing how Define American guides its partners and collaborators, as well as how it strategizes its own culture-change programs. Through efforts like this, Define American seek to amplify a national call to action and mobilize a large swath of the country to help protect and fight for the rights and inclusion of new Americans.

Define American is a media and culture organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigration, citizenship, and identity in a changing America. Define American believes that immigration is a racial justice issue, and in order to change the politics of immigration one must change the culture in which people see immigrants, documented and undocumented. Critical storytelling increases access to accurate information, raises awareness of the complex issues immigrants face and builds empathy that sparks dialogue and brings people together. Its work is nonpartisan, intersectional, and utilizes three primary strategies:

Define American’s News Media program disseminates accurate data to journalists and mobilizes the public to counter unjust narratives born out of racism and xenophobia. Define American and its supporters have also compelled more than 44 news outlets to change their style guides, replacing non-fact-based identifiers for immigrants with humanizing language.

Define American’s Entertainment Media program builds empathy and fills narrative gaps by providing platforms for sharing stories so people may become media creators, not merely subjects. Define American consults on top-rated media projects, educating Hollywood and embedding humanizing storylines, thus building empathy in millions of viewers each week. Define American also produces its own award-winning content.

Define American’s Chapters Program creates welcoming communities to encourage culture change across 69 chapters in 27 states. The Chapters train young people to work with local media to shift conversations about immigrants, citizenship, and identity--building a new generation of leaders committed to a just and inclusive society.

Financials

DEFINE AMERICAN
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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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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • 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.

DEFINE AMERICAN

Board of directors
as of 4/22/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Patricia Hyland

Maria Gabriela Pacheco

Suzette Brooks Masters

Peter Perl

Monona Yin

Michelle O'Grady

Jose Vargas

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 ? No
  • 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? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No