Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) Fundraiser

Sending our final THANKS and deep appreciation to all the donors and members for the support of Brown Girls Doc Mafia! Now that the #GoFundBGDM has wrapped, the real work begins getting work for our members, continuing to populate our public directory, launching our grantmaking initiatives, and so much more! We invite you to please stay involved - if you haven't joined our Ally List, do so here:

If you're reading this and missed the opportunity to support, you can still donate to our website directly. For sponsorship opportunities, connect with us at 

I just want to reiterate, this was a year full of uncertainty, but due to your generosity, BGDM is THRIVING. THANK YOU so much again and again.

Wishing everyone the best!
Iyabo Boyd Founder & Director
Brown Girls Doc Mafia

Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) is an initiative advocating for over 4,000 women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry from around the world! Our mission is to bolster the creative brilliance and professional success of our community, and to challenge the often marginalizing norms of the documentary field. We fight inequality and systemic racism by building community and sharing resources, by nourishing our creative brilliance, by demanding access and visibility in creative and professional environments, and by cutting through oppressive industry structures to advocate for our members.

Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) was formed in the context of the deep inequality many of our members continue to experience throughout their careers. Though many of our members have just as much potential, talent, and education, or may have worked just as long and hard as their white peers, many of us still find ourselves marginalized, undervalued, and powerless. 

As the film industry has been called upon to diversify, gatekeepers have tended to resist stepping up to the challenge. This ignorance, lack of research, and semi-conscious bias has put legions of film professionals of color at a disadvantage for generations, causing professional, psychological, and financial damage that has discouraged many film professionals of color, especially women and non-binary folks, from pursuing the careers they truly desire, and from seeking higher levels of support or positions of power. 

With the financial impact of COVID-19 putting the doc field's grantmaking abilities at risk, combined with the murders of many unarmed black people in 2020, BGDM and other BIPOC led organizations are refusing to ignore how systemic racism permeates the documentary community as well. BGDM has been fighting for change since our inception. Now is the best time to support us because, in light of the film industry’s increased interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion in response to these global calls to action, BGDM has a unique opportunity to catalyze this moment into deeper organizational sustainability, and to expand our ability to support our members financially through grantmaking.

BGDM is the breeding ground for the next generation of filmmakers of color.

But we are in dire need of funding, professional advocacy, and creative nourishment. As we battle the dual adversaries of COVID-19 and ongoing systemic racism in the film industry, this crucial time also presents huge opportunities for BGDM to invest in our members in new, impactful ways. 

Here’s how incoming funds would break out:

- 60%  will go toward the BGDM Sustainable Artist Grant, in which we'll fund 8 to 16 incredibly talented black and brown filmmakers in BGDM with grants of 10K each to have the stability to continue focusing on their creative work and building their careers.

- 20% will go towards building BGDM's organizational capacity and infrastructure for next year. That means future programs, growing our staff, etc.

- 15% will go to sustaining BGDM’s current 2020 programs, staff, and operations

- 5% goes to our fiscal sponsor, Walking Iris Media 

With your support of this fundraiser, we'll be able to further leverage community building and programming that enriches our members creatively and professionally, and further sustain our efforts to advocate for access, visibility, and power for BIPOC professionals in the film industry.


BGDM works year round to enrich our community and advocate on behalf of our members. 2020/2021 programming includes:

- Allocating funding to talented black and brown directors, producers, editors, and cinematographers  through our new BGDM Sustainable Artist Grant

- Pairing BGDM members with professional grant writers, consulting editors, and digital strategists to provide one-on-one feedback. 

- Roundtable meet/pitch sessions with funders and industry gatekeepers.

- Small group skill shares.

- Masterclasses featuring accomplished BGDM members and guest allies.

- Financial support for members to gain access and visibility at film festivals and industry conferences.


We are on the cusp of launching our public BGDM Member Directory that will serve the film industry as a destination to track, hire, fund, and collaborate with talented women/non-binary filmmakers and executives of color! As we continue to build the site’s functionality, we also plan to hire a Talent Coordinator to help facilitate the public’s use of the page and encourage deep engagement from the film industry with referrals and curated lists and to advocate for members for key opportunities. 

BGDM members are a diverse network of filmmakers and industry stakeholders ranging from veterans with long resumes to newly emerging professionals. Many members work in production as directors, producers, editors, cinematographers, and more, and others work on the institutional side as executives, funders, curators, administrators, academics, and more. Our community is populated by documentary film professionals who self-identify as both a person of color and as a woman or non-binary individual.

Our community is 100% self identified as people of color and as women/non-binary individuals. Roughly 36% are Black/African diaspora, 33% Asian (including South Asian), 11% Latinx, 8% Arab Diaspora, 8% Multiracial, 1% Indigenous. Our members speak over 29 languages, and are spread across the globe, representing 74 countries and 28 U.S. states. The majority live in the U.S. in urban areas that include New York, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, Austin, and Durham. Internationally, our most active members live in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, India, Pakistan, Iran, China, South Korea, Kenya, and Australia.


BGDM’s leadership is made up of Founder/Director Iyabo Boyd, and a Board that includes Tracy Nguyen (After Bruce PR), Nicole Tsien (POV), Denae Peters (Perspective Fund), and Ursula Liang (filmmaker, 9 Man). Our part time support staff consists of Community Manager MiaSarah Lai (Bad Feminists Making Films podcast) and Program Manager Emily Cohen Ibanez (filmmaker, Ashley’s Story).  

BGDM Founder/Director Iyabo Boyd has a long history of supporting women filmmakers with positions at industry institutions First Look Media, Points North Institute, Kickstarter, Good Pitch, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Film Institute, and IFP. Iyabo produced the feature documentary For Ahkeem for which she was a Sundance Creative Producers Fellow, and which premiered at the Berlinale and Tribeca Film Festivals. Iyabo is also a screenwriter, director, and producer of fiction and documentary projects that have screened at the Berlinale, Sundance, Tribeca, and Blackstar Film Festivals. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School with a BA in Film & Television.


Before Brown Girls, I'd spent much of my career being the only black person in the room. I felt isolated, tokenized, and undervalued. Five years ago, I was at Good Pitch NY, the Doc Society team had done a great job of making sure the room was full of filmmakers, gatekeepers, and investors of color. I looked around the room and saw a bunch of black women that somehow I didn't know already.  Shocked, I went around to each of them, introduced myself, and invited them all for a drink afterwards. After posting a photo of us to Facebook, some South Asian women reached out about forming a group. We came together, and Brown Girls Doc Mafia was born the next day. Five years and 4,000 members later, we are stronger and more capable than ever. I'm so grateful for your belief in this community and thrilled for your pledge of support!


Thank you for your consideration of support and/or partnership with Brown Girls Doc Mafia! Please SPREAD THE WORD to help us make this fundraiser a success! If you'd like to help in a deeper way, please reach out to us through our website, 

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Fundraising team: BGDM Members (79)

Iyabo Boyd
Raised $59,949 from 597 donations
San Francisco, CA
Walking Iris Media
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Erin Kökdil
Team member
Raised $8,547 from 14 donations
Chithra Jeyaram
Team member
Raised $5,019 from 68 donations
Raeshem Nijhon
Team member
Raised $4,841 from 23 donations
Victoria Chalk
Team member
Raised $3,912 from 68 donations
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