Center for Media & Social Impact selected for Kennedy Center Community Partnership Program

Transformative partnership will elevate the intersection of social impact and comedy in convenings and live shows that empower communities, artists, and cultural leaders

The Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI), based at American University’s School of Communication, is proud to be named as a Community Partner by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for its 2023-24 Social Impact and Comedy programs, which focus on empowering communities and amplifying voices through a diverse spectrum of co-created engagement initiatives. CMSI joins five other community partners chosen for their excellence and promise in social impact work, which include Only Make Believe, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, the Boulanger Initiative, Casey Trees, and Words Beats & Life Hip-Hop Ensemble. 

“We are thrilled to work closely with our colleagues at the Kennedy Center to build new social impact shows and programs that leverage artists, cultural leaders, and philanthropists for social good,” said Caty Borum, Executive Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact and Provost Associate Professor at American University. “Artists and creative people are the heart and soul of our society and how we shape its future, and we are absolutely aligned with the legendary Kennedy Center in this belief and mission.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome CMSI and their wonderful initiatives to the Kennedy Center family,” stated Kate Villa, Director of Comedy at the Kennedy Center. “Using comedy as a way to inspire real change is genius and we can’t wait to laugh along with them this year.”

The partnership between CMSI and the Kennedy Center reflects a commitment by both organizations to collaborate on presentation and community engagement opportunities – artist workshops, panel discussions, presentations and comedy performances – that advance the Kennedy Center’s five social impact pillars of community empowerment, artist empowerment, impact performance, cultural leadership, and activation of the REACH, the Center’s newest cultural landmark and interactive events space.

As a Kennedy Center Community Partner, the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) will convene and facilitate two community-based programs with the Kennedy Center’s Social Impact and Comedy departments. The first of these programs, under CMSI’s GoodLaugh comedy and human rights initiative co-directed by Borum and Bethany Hall, CMSI’s creative director of comedy initiatives, is the Comedy Saves for Democracy comedy show that will premiere at the Center’s Millennium Stage on October 21. The second engagement will be the return of CMSI’s national Story Movements convening, to be held at the Kennedy Center’s Justice Forum in March 2024; the conference brings together artists, storytellers, comedians, philanthropies, and media companies to learn about and celebrate the role of culture and narrative in building a just future.

More about the Kennedy Center’s Social Impact and Community Partnerships programs can be found at

About Social Impact at the Kennedy Center

Social Impact at the Kennedy Center is one of the first initiatives at a performing arts institution. It was launched in 2019 under the leadership of Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter and Vice President of Social Impact and Artistic Director of Cultural Strategy Marc Bamuthi Joseph.

The program is a steadfast commitment by the Kennedy Center, rooted in the belief that the arts possess a unique potency to shape communities, ignite joy, incite action, and fuel meaningful change within society. With an unwavering dedication to advancing justice and equity, Social Impact endeavors to leverage the arts to transcend traditional boundaries and catalyze non-arts outcomes. More information can be found at:

The Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI), based at American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C., is a creative innovation lab and research center that creates, studies, and showcases media for equity, social change, and social justice. Focusing on documentary and independent media, participatory and civic mediaentertainment and popular culture, and comedy and human rights, the Center bridges boundaries between scholars, producers and communication practitioners across media industries, social justice, public policy, and public engagement. яндекс The Center produces resources for the field and academic research; creates original media; convenes conferences and events; and works collaboratively to understand and design media that matter.

More information about CMSI is available at

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