Roddenberry Impact Award

Be different. Be bold. Be Unreasonable.

Roddenberry Impact Award

In light of the global spread of COVID-19, the logistics of everyday life have changed drastically for so many.

During these difficult times, there is a desire to return to "normal." It is important to remember, however, that for many communities "normal" was not yet equal or equitable. As we come out of this pandemic — and we will — we will have the unique opportunity to create a world that is more diverse, more equitable and more inclusive.

In the weeks ahead, we will all be rightly focused on relief and recovery. But at some point in the future, we will move on to reconstruction and repair. And, as has been true throughout modern history, stories — and television in particular — will have a critical role to play in moving us forward in a more positive and just direction.

Going forward, we have a choice to make about what stories we tell, who gets to tell them, and how. We have an opportunity to do something different. It’s a chance to work towards more diverse writers’ rooms, to write authentic portrayals of underrepresented communities, to develop more inclusive storylines, and to form narratives that reflect the nuance of the lived experience.

To accelerate this change, in partnership with A Day of Unreasonable Conversation, ten Roddenberry Impact Awards of $10K each will be granted to ideas and projects that are making strides in one of the following areas: Inclusive Futures, Authentic Content Creation, and Increased Representation.

Increased Representation

Talent is equal but opportunity is not. We seek ideas or projects that ensure diverse voices are being heard and valued throughout the entertainment and media industries. The goal is to increase the number of people of color, women, LGBTQ, and the disabled in the writers’ room, running shows, and leading production. Examples of ideas or projects that would be considered include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Support for assistants of color who are trying to break into writers’ rooms
  • Competitions between internal departments and with outside agencies — to incentivize progress toward inclusion goals
  • Paid internships for writers who are not typically represented in the industry
  • ”Meet and greets” with agents and agencies to hear from unrepresented content creators
  • Scouting trips to HBCUs for recruiting up-and-coming writers
  • An open, shareable roster of diverse writers, producers, crew, etc.

Authentic Content Creation

Ideas or projects that support stories that are reflective of real people and authentic narratives that go beyond stereotypical characters or depictions. Examples of ideas or projects that would be considered include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • A writers group of Asian and Black women to support peer-led content creation
  • Research projects with academic institutions to inform content and story creation
  • An advisory board of journalists, community members, and academics to inform script development
  • Mentoring program of established writers paired with rising female writers of color
  • Opportunities for community leaders to participate in Q&A sessions on specific topics with writers/producers
  • A program to market diverse content to international buyers and distributors.

Inclusive Futures

ideas or projects that promote community cohesion and equitable and sustainable futures for all. As the health and economic toll of the pandemic spreads, existing economic and social divisions within cities and across countries will be amplified. Examples of ideas or projects that would be considered include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Documentary on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities
  • Workshops for addressing the pandemic in meaningful and sensitive ways
  • Racial equity training for writers’ rooms
  • Resource guides focused on specific populations of people or relevant issues
  • Unscripted or short-form content aimed at historically marginalized communities focused on the census and/or vote-by-mail opportunities in 2020

Timeline and Application

Open call for proposals

April 6, 2020


Friday, May 8, 2020 at 5pm PT


May 11, 2020 to May 29, 2020


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Meet the Judges

The Impact Award judges are industry leaders who have driven significant change and have played essential roles around our key issue areas. We are honored to have such an esteemed panel of judges to guide the selection of the 2020 Roddenberry Impact Awardees.

Daniel Dae Kim
Glordia Calderón Kellett
Jaime Dávila
Sameer Gardezi
Sara Gilbert
Tanya Saracho

Impact Awardees

Roddenberry Impact Awardees are actors, producers, writers, and content creators who are striving for a more equitable and inclusive industry that reflects the diversity and richness of our communities.

Aizzah Fatima and Atheer Yacoub

Read More

Adnaan Wasey

Read More

The Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity

Read More

Heidi Basch-Harod

Read More

Nevin Millan

Read More

A.RAY.tv (Amy Kalafa & Alejandro Crawford)

Read More

Margin Films (Quentin Lee and Elizabeth Wilson)

Read More

Valerie Chow

Read More

RespectAbility (Lauren Appelbaum)

Read More

Young Entertainment Activists (Allison Begalman)

Read More


What are the Prize Awards?

Ten (10) Roddenberry Impact Awards of $10,000 will be granted.

Who can apply?

Eligible candidates for the Impact Award may be non-profits, individuals or teams of individuals 18 years or older who are members of the Writers Guild of America West, Writers Guild of America, East, Producers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit an application via the website.

When is the deadline?

The deadline is Friday, May 8, 2020, before 5 pm Pacific Time. Late applications will not be accepted.

Can I apply as a team with friends or colleagues?

Yes to both. Individuals and teams are welcome to apply.

Will I have to submit a report if I receive an Impact Award?

Yes. We require a simple narrative report, as well as a short accounting of how grant funds were spent.

What can I do with my 10k?

The Roddenberry Foundation will fund both direct and indirect costs for your initiative -- but the use of these funds must be for justifiably charitable purposes as described in Section 170(c)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

By when do I have to implement my project?

You have nine months upon receiving your funds to plan and begin implementation of your project.

Will you fund the production of my film/documentary/short/script or pay for my career development (guild memberships, festival entry fees, etc.)?

While we truly value the individual creator, this grant is meant to address the systemic barriers that under-represented communities encounter in Hollywood. Please consider whether your project has wider, direct outcomes beyond your own creative work.

How ought I to receive funds? How will this affect my taxes?

The Roddenberry Foundation is not authorized to provide any specific advice on your taxes. However, depending on how the awardee elects to receive funding, awardees may be required to pay taxes. Please consult a tax advisor to learn about whether you would be required by the IRS to pay taxes on your Impact Award.

Who is Eugene Roddenberry?

Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (August 19, 1921-Oct 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter, producer and creator of the original Star Trek television series, and its first spin-off The Next Generation.