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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Critical Exposure Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Civil Rights, Visual Arts, Youth Development Programs

Mission: To teach youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change.

Results: We have worked with over 800 students in five states and Washington, DC. The students and their images have helped partnering organizations and campaigns secure more than $400 million in new funding for underfunded schools and facilities in DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Target demographics: Low-income middle- and high-school students

Geographic areas served: DC, MD, VA, PA, TX, NM, LA

Programs: Dc school based and afterschool programs: critical exposure teaches students the basics of documentary photography and advocacy. Students are exposed to the work of a range of photographers and learn to "read" images, analyzing them to determine their subject, mood and message. They are also introduced to techniques for taking compelling photographs themselves. Students identify particular issues that impact their lives and document them through photography, writing, and multimedia. They then develop and lead campaigns to convince schools and communities to implement positive solutions to address those issues.

outreach/marketing & communications: critical exposure works with participating students to identify opportunities for their photographs and stories to reach both the community at large and targeted audiences such as public officials, school leaders, and community members. This outreach includes traveling exhibits and online displays of the students work. Exhibits take place at art galleries, conferences, coffee shops, libraries and other public spaces. The exhibits are an opportunity for youth

remote profects/train the trainer model: critical exposure partners with youth serving organizations and campaigns across the country to support their local, state and national efforts to improve public education or address other issues impacting youth.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Critical Exposure for the past 4 years and I cannot say enough about how much this organization makes a difference in children's lives. The greatest thing about this nonprofit is that it not only teaches children the skill of photography, but it also provides them with the support needed to be advocates for themselves and their schools, and ultimately create social change to better their lives. For a lot of children, this program and the staff's dedication, has transformed their lives, empowering them in a way that hadn't before. As a resident of Washington, DC, I can't think of a better way to help children in this city better themselves, and the school system, than Critical Exposure. Adam, the director, and his team are incredibly dedicated to the mission, and the children.

Donor

Rating: 5

What is unique about Critical Exposure is that it gives the students the tools they need to effect change for themselves. That approach provides them with a sense of empowerment that no handout can ever match.

Donor

Rating: 5

Watching Critical Exposure grow, I've been impressed by the organization's ability to combine the joy and power of photography with effective policy impact. By empowering students to tell their own stories, it inspires the students documenting the conditions in their schools, the policy makers who have acted to improve school conditions, and the many others who have viewed the work.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been inspired by the work they do to give inner city young people a voice. Most people only know about what it is like to grow up in a tough inner city neighborhood from what they see on TV. Through Critical Exposure I was able to hear directly from young people and see through their pictures what life is actually like. By lifting up these voices and connecting them to policy makers who can make a difference, Critical Exposure plays a powerful role in restoring the American dream.

Donor

Rating: 5

Critical Exposure (CE) has the unique ability to make a difference in one student's life while also working toward social change to improve the lives of all students. I am grateful that CE shares its passion for photography, education, and empowerment with youth and vulnerable communities.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known Adam for several years and have attended 4 or 5 critical exposure (CE) gallery/auction type events hosted by CE. The organizations work is certainly a worthy cause - helping to educate the public about the conditions of our school system and trying to secure add'l money to improve our school system. How they accomplish this one of the remarkable aspects of the organization. They recruit students and teach them how to use photography to capture school condition and use this to seek improvement - either through public awareness, increased funding, better safety, etc. If you're fortunate to attend one of the Galleries hosted by CE, I'm sure you will be shocked by the conditions that are shown by these school photographers, but also impressed by the professionalism and passion that is shared by the staff as well as the student photographers. I've also been able to spend some time speaking with a few of the students at these events and it is great to see what some students are trying to do to make a difference. I'm happy to continue to support critical exposure and wish them well.