Category Archives: Local Nonprofit

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My name is Susi Walsh. I have been the executive director of the Center for Independent Documentary, a nonprofit organization based in Sharon, MA, for the past 34 years. Over those years, our organization has worked with hundreds of independent filmmakers in the creation of their work.

We have seen firsthand how the film tax incentive has completely revitalized the film industry in Massachusetts, providing jobs that sustain families and creating new opportunities for small businesses. We have watched students who normally might have left the state stay and find good, well-paying jobs and a future here in the commonwealth. Our filmmakers work not only on their own documentary work, but also doing commercial work, teaching in schools and universities, and being part of the broader film ecology that the tax incentive has helped to grow tremendously.

We urge you to continue to support this important economic engine.

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Boston Building Resources is a nonprofit building materials reuse organization whose mission is to keep good materials out of the landfill and put them in the hands of people who would not otherwise be able to afford them.

Let me tell you about the materials generated by the Massachusetts film industry, and how they end up in the hands of our members. We have been working with the film industry here in the Boston area for quite a few years now, and we have seen everything from tractor trailers of premium grade framing lumber (like the 2x kiln dried material, I-joists, lvl’s, steel, and more from Black Mass and The Judge), to exquisite lighting, plumbing fixtures, plywood, and masonry products (pavers from Grown Ups 2). And those are just a few of the productions we have collected material from.

Why is this so important to us? Because it means we can raise the bar on the quality of building materials we can offer our income-qualified members (at steep discounts so they can afford them), and that means they can live in better homes with higher quality materials, sourced from right here in the area.

Because of the film tax incentives, the production companies have just that much more of a margin to be able to afford the extra labor required to dismantle sets with reuse in mind — otherwise this material ends up in the landfill. So those few production companies that may remain if the credit is removed will likely go back to that scenario. We all lose if the Massachusetts film tax incentive goes away.

The difference this has made to our organization is real and palpable. Losing the incentive would affect scores of our members directly, and others indirectly as our organization as a whole would feel the effect if that pipeline were severed.

No doubt about it — the film tax incentive has affected our members positively, and it would be sorely missed. And it has positively affected the impact these productions have had on the environment, so it would be doubly missed.

PastedGraphic-1It is with great distress that I read about Governor Charlie Baker’s plan to eliminate film industry tax incentives in Massachusetts. It is a policy that is based on an illogical (to quote a famous movie star from Massachusetts) notion that removing the incentive will only affect the wealthy members of the film industry. It is a fact that states that do not give tax incentives to the film industry have no film industry presence. Therefore, a plan to eliminate the incentive does not take into account the many people who depend of the film industry for their livelihood — people who are not wealthy and are tax-paying citizens of the Commonwealth. Concomitantly, it is a misguided notion that taking away job opportunities for one group of citizens is the most beneficial way to fund the Earned Income Tax Credit program. Would it not be in the best interest of all citizens to find a win-win situation rather than a win-lose?

Why do I care? I am the founder and president of Project Home Again, a nonprofit based in Lawrence, MA. Our mission is to provide low-income families with new and gently used furniture, household goods, and appliances so they can live with comfort and dignity. Are you again asking yourself why I care about the film industry remaining in Massachusetts? It is because since being discovered by members of the film industry, Project Home Again has been the recipient of donations from many sets of movies and commercials filmed in the Bay State.

To put this is terms of human compassion, a domestic abuse survivor who had to flee her abusive husband in the middle of the night with her children and literally the pajamas on their backs, is now living in an apartment furnished entirely with furniture and household goods used on the set of the HBO miniseries, Olive Kitteridge. It means that hundreds of families received toiletries they could not afford because of goods we received from a “drugstore” set. It means that a family, transitioning from living in a shelter, was able to move into an apartment and furnish their child’s bedroom with the contents of another set. Hundreds of families have benefited from the generous donations of furniture and goods from the film industry. In addition, because we sometimes receive interesting donations, we have been able to rent out some of our goods to the movie industry. We use the funds we receive to purchase new twin mattress sets for children in need. To date, we have been able to purchase fourteen beds, which means without the film industry’s presence, fourteen children would still be sleeping on a cold, hard floor tonight.

These are but a few examples of what the film industry has meant to Project Home Again. It has touched the lives of hundreds of Massachusetts’ families for the better — changing their lives and helping them to live with the comfort and dignity they deserve. I urge you to speak out against this proposed tax break elimination. Speaking for those in Massachusetts who have difficulty speaking for themselves, please do not hurt the most impoverished segment of our society out of a desire to seek political gain.

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