The Rogovy Foundation: Empowering Documentaries for a Better World

Since its inception, the foundation has provided over $2 million in grants to more than 70 projects.


by Carole Dean

Rogovy Foundation

Founded in 2015 by Hugh Rogovy, the Rogovy Foundation has established itself as a significant contributor to the future of our planet. With a primary focus on education, civics, and the environment, the foundation supports various projects, particularly documentary films, that aim to educate, inspire, and enrich audiences. Since its inception, the foundation has provided over $2 million in grants to more than 70 projects, showcasing its commitment to fostering a successful functioning democracy and promoting access to information.


Unveiling the Power of Documentary Films

Hugh Rogovy recognizes the crucial role of the fourth estate in a democratic society, where the freedom of the press is instrumental. He believes that documentaries have the power to captivate and engage a wide audience effectively.

By combining visual storytelling with critical thinking, documentaries can educate and inspire viewers, making them an ideal medium for the foundation’s mission. Through its support for compelling documentary projects, the Rogovy Foundation aims to contribute to the betterment of society.


From Bravery to Triumph: A Transpacific Journey

Losing Sight of Shore is one of the remarkable documentaries funded by the Rogovy Foundation which follows the incredible journey of four courageous women who rowed across the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia. This gripping film takes viewers on an emotional rollercoaster as they witness the hardships and triumphs of the team. The captivating storytelling and visual engagement of the documentary led to its quick acquisition by Netflix, demonstrating the foundation’s commitment to promoting impactful films.


Unveiling Elder Abuse

Another groundbreaking documentary funded by the Rogovy Foundation is The Guardians. This investigative film exposes the systemic abuse of elderly people in Las Vegas, Nevada, where vulnerable citizens are robbed of their life savings. By shedding light on this cautionary tale, the documentary raises awareness about the need to protect and empower the elderly. Through in-depth case histories, the film reveals the disturbing realities of the guardianship system, not only in Las Vegas but in jurisdictions with similar rules.


Promoting Excellence through Grant Applications

They receive around 600 applications annually for grants, making the selection process highly competitive. To ensure quality submissions, the foundation has identified specific criteria and red flags that they consider during the evaluation process. One key aspect is the log line, which many filmmakers fail to construct effectively. A concise and attention-grabbing log line is essential to capture the interest of the foundation.

Additionally, applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review the foundation’s website and guidelines to avoid common questions and misunderstandings.


Understanding Audience Impact and Distribution Strategy

For a documentary to be considered, it must not only entertain but also engage its potential audience. The Rogovy Foundation emphasizes the importance of selecting subjects that resonate with viewers and present them in a compelling manner. Filmmakers are also expected to have a well-thought-out distribution strategy, considering platforms like Netflix or Hulu for national exposure. Furthermore, non-English language films are welcomed, provided they include English subtitles.


The Role of Fiscal Sponsors

The Rogovy Foundation suggests that filmmakers seek fiscal sponsors, as it simplifies the funding process. Fiscal sponsors act as intermediaries between the foundation and the filmmakers, facilitating tax-deductible funding. By partnering with reputable fiscal sponsors, filmmakers can receive financial support more efficiently. The sponsor handles the transfer of funds while retaining a small fee. Notably, the Rogovy Foundation recommends From the Heart Production as one such fiscal sponsor.  Detailed information regarding this process can be found on their website.


Collaborating with Investigative Journalism

Extending its support beyond documentary films, the foundation has been partnering with the Center for Investigative Reporting and their radio show, Reveal. This collaboration aims to amplify investigative journalism efforts in the visual realm. By providing additional funding, the foundation assists in the development and advancement of journalism-focused documentary projects. Future partnerships with other newsrooms are also being explored, further expanding the foundation’s impact in the visual world.


Investing in the Power of Documentary Films

Established by Hugh Rogovy, the foundation continues to make significant strides in supporting documentary films that educate, inspire, and enrich society. With a focus on promoting democracy, access to information, and progressive values, the foundation has funded impactful projects, ranging from awe-inspiring transpacific journeys to exposing systemic abuses.

Through a rigorous grant application process and emphasis on effective storytelling and distribution strategies, the Rogovy Foundation empowers filmmakers to create documentaries that make a lasting impact on audiences worldwide. As the foundation expands its collaborations with investigative journalism platforms, its reach and influence continue to grow, reinforcing its commitment to a better future for all.


You can listen to the full interview here:



You can learn more about The Rogovy Foundation at


Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers.

She is creator and instructor of Learn Producing: The Ultimate Course for Indie Film Production.  26 classes which will teach indie filmmakers how to produce their films.

She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits

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