Founder & Executive Director
Jeff McCarter is the Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media, which he created in 2001 in order to share his experience as a media professional (Emmy Award-winning producer, cameraman, director, and editor) with young people from under-resourced communities. Jeff witnessed the lack of diversity in both representation and opportunity in mainstream media. Now, Free Spirit Media transforms media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal and professional aspirations.
Jeff worked on feature films directed by Steven Soderbergh and Ron Howard, and on documentary television with ABC News, PBS, and WTTW Chicago. He earned a BA in Humanities and Film Production at the University of Colorado and has studied Non-Profit Strategy and Management at Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jeff is a founding co-chair of the Chicago Youth Voices Network and serves on the boards of Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV), the Advocate Bethany Community Health Fund, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chicago/Midwest Chapter. He is a thought leader in the fields of creative workforce development and youth media education, and has presented at multiple conferences, including Digital Media and Learning, the Alliance for Community Media, and the Alliance for Media Arts & Culture. Jeff is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Program, the National Arts Strategies CEO Program, and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Ideas Co-Op. He lives with his family on Chicago’s West Side.
Two Students from North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago go to the Democratic National Convention
"Will I Be Next?" is a film that explores the issue of gun violence. Five established experts and numerous young people were interviewed for their perspective on this complex and incredibly troubling problem.
RECAP: Chicago Community Trust President and CEO, Helene Gale, and COO, Andrea Sanchez, joined us at The Nichols Tower in Homan Square to have a conversation with local leaders about the North Lawndale community.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Free Spirit Media is so humbled and grateful to be a part of the MacArthur Foundation Jack Fuller Initiative. Jack Fuller, former Editor and Publisher of The Chicago Tribune and MacArthur Trustee, was a firm believer that good journalism and civic engagement are inextricably linked.
PODCAST: This week Free Spirit Media was asked to speak on the Teaching in the Arts Podcast!
PHOTOS: Slate House Productions, 720 Film Productions, and Free Spirit Media hosted the premiere screening of Chosen Foe Life at Facets Cinémathèque on Sunday, December 3rd at 7pm.
Free Spirit Media transforms media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal and professional aspirations.
The Urban Communication Foundation awarded Jeff McCarter and Free Spirit Media the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award for high quality urban media reporting
Free Spirit Media thanks Bank of America for renewing its support of our Pathways Portfolio. Bank of America's recent $12,000 grant to Free Spirit Media will help us enhance Real Chi Youth, Flash Forward, The Chicago Track and Free Spirit PRO over the next year.
WGN News has recognized Jeff McCarter, FSM’s Founder and Executive Director, as Chicago’s Very Own.
Free Spirit Media was honored to receive the Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Public Service Announcement at the 2010 NATAS Chicago / Midwest Emmy Awards held at the Park West on November 6, 2010
The winter of 2006 has been a special time for both FSM and me personally. On February 20, my wife delivered a baby boy – Roland Henry McCarter. The Free Spirit Media family is growing as well.