Today we’d like to introduce you to Max Rosenfeld, Steve Kaufman and Stebs Schinnerer.
Max, Steve and Stebs, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The three of us have been working in the entertainment industry for 10-20 years. Although we love what we do, sometimes the subject matter isn’t what we’re most passionate about. We didn’t necessarily dream of growing up to create commercials and reality television shows. As we talked to friends and co-workers in the industry, we realized that a lot of them felt the same way.
As production professionals, we want to volunteer our storytelling skills to make a difference in the world. To share stories and ideas that mean something, and can educate and uplift people. In the nonprofit world, there are so many amazing organizations out there, but they need help telling their stories and getting their messages out to the world.
So we started Crews for a Cause. We connect video and media professionals of all kinds to volunteer with causes they truly care about. After less than two years we have 250 volunteers in our Crew, from 15 different countries around the world. And we’re just getting started!
Storytelling is so important and helping to ensure nonprofits are able to is definitely a noble calling. Has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When we started Crews for a Cause almost two years ago, we had no real road map for how to go about it. We are always working to streamline our process, but one main struggle we have is that nobody is getting paid. Including ourselves.
As working professionals, a lot of us are doing this pro-bono work on weekends, or in between jobs. This makes it harder to hold volunteers accountable for deadlines, but we have come to realize that communication is key. Setting clear and realistic goals for projects is essential, but also being flexible and understanding of peoples’ constantly changing schedules is a must. If it all goes according to plan, the whole process should be a rewarding experience for everyone.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
Crews for a Cause is a nonprofit production group made up of production assistants, producers, makeup artists, directors, cinematographers and everyone in between. We specialize in creating short-form video content for great causes in need of telling their stories. Our goal is to bring together passionate and empowered entertainment professionals to produce, film & edit videos benefitting good causes and people in need—at little or no cost to them.
This is truly a labor of love for us. We have no interest in making money, and that’s what sets us apart from a typical production company, or even other nonprofits. Most nonprofits have to raise a fair amount of money just to pay for their staff, which is not a bad thing at all. We are 100% volunteer and have very low overhead, which makes it easier for us to focus on our mission.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Fun fact, Stebs and Max went to high school together in a town called Marblehead, Massachusetts. Stebs was a senior when Max was coming in as a freshman. As part of the high school mentorship program, they were paired together, and the rest is history! They remained friends and years later, across the country, who would’ve thought they’d partner up and start a nonprofit organization together. All thanks to Marblehead High School.
- Website: www.crewsforacause.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/crewsforacause
- Facebook: facebook.com/crewsforacause
All images taken with permission with Crews for a Cause, animated image by Gina Florio Sous