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The Village that Made a Video: The Story Behind ‘Money Transforms’

“If you know Deb Nelson, you know she plants the best seeds,” offered Amy Hartzler of Do Good Better. “Years ago she suggested — ‘what do you think about a video focused on the story of money? The way money can be a force for good?’ I was hooked.”

Just like a seed that responds to light and nourishing conditions, the idea took form and emerged over time, with the help and support of many caring hands. Key supporters of the idea committed resources to make it possible. Collaborators and thought leaders helped sort out concepts and weighed in on the script (for the full list of contributors please check out www.moneytransforms.com). And several of RSF’s Integrated Capital Institute Fellows shaped the resources available on moneytransforms.com to help people imagine ways to use their money for good.

“This was a real labor of love. The initial idea resonated, and it came to life after dozens of interviews and conversations with a community of financial activists and thought leaders. The end result is something we hope will inspire people to see the positive potential of money, and to activate it for good,” said Deb Nelson, RSF’s Vice President for Client and Community Engagement. “The process of creating this video was a bright spot in a daunting year.”

Ruben DeLuna, master storyteller, director and animator, led the creative team. “Animation can be a great way to visualize large systemic problems. As we explored ideas for the video, we knew we wanted that memorable visual metaphor, and also characters that could emotionally ground the story.”

Initial alternatives presented for character treatment and color palette

“The best work comes from slowing down, bringing in a range of voices, and checking assumptions. There were ideas we saw promise in, early on — but if they didn’t resonate with experts and advisors, and the audiences we hoped to engage, we quickly moved on,” said Hartzler. This meant adding time to the schedule for reviewing initial concepts for the video; evaluating the script; providing opportunities for feedback to visual styles and options for voices; as well as gathering and ultimately curating the content on the video’s landing page, www.moneytransforms.com.

RSF community member and donor Peter Vandermark was a key creative partner on the core team for the video, providing input and feedback at every step. “I’ve loved witnessing the birth of this little video. Working with such a wonderful team, juggling so many ideas, problems and solutions to our current system has been inspiring. In the end it’s really remarkable that an animation can bring forward so much in three minutes. It touches on the problem of accumulated wealth and the question of what’s enough, the wealth gap, the exploitative economy, tax policies and big banks but then weaves in solutions including the real return on investments and gifts we can all make.

Mariah McPherson, one of the ICI Fellows who worked on the project, said, “When Deb reached out, I knew I wanted to be involved. It seemed like a great opportunity to make some of the research I had done for my Fellowship project available to a wider audience. The point of my work as a financial activist is to help others examine what their money is doing, and take action. Being able to collaborate with a group of Fellows on the landing page was a great way to extend our connection and reach new people.”
Please enjoy and share the final video here and consider ways to transform your money at www.moneytransforms.com.

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