The VII Foundation

Challenging complex social, economic, environmental and human rights issues through documentary non-fiction storytelling and education

© Kenya G./Youth Voices/YMCA

The VII Foundation was established in 2001 as an independent non-profit organization, in response to the challenges photographers, filmmakers, and writers faced in funding long-term investigative journalism projects. Since then, it has developed a genre of storytelling that moves beyond traditional journalism and into new narrative forms that bring together expert, diverse voices engaging in public discourse, seeking to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Addressing the intricacies involved in overcoming complex obstacles and hindrances, its work encompasses various photography and other media formats, integrating a progressive outlook with outstanding commentary and reportage.

© Kenya G./Youth Voices/YMCA

© Tamika Jancewicz/Lost Rolls America

© Tamika Jancewicz/Lost Rolls America

Acknowledging the difficulties associated with accessibility to education and training, the foundation created an educational branch, VII Academy, which provides tuition-free education to emerging professionals and students in both the majority world and marginalized G20 communities, in media practice, visual journalism, narrative, ethics, business, and entrepreneurship, cultivating an environment where large-scale ambitions can become feasible realities.

The VII Foundation partnered with Fujifilm to combine their resources through photography education and hands-on training, bolstering the foundation’s standing and reputation, and enabling it to continue its vital work in support of the journalistic community

© Leslie Laplante/Lost Rolls America

© Russell Gontar/Lost Rolls America

© Scott Ellerby/Lost Rolls America

© Valentina Zavarin/Lost Rolls America

© Ben Brody/Youth Voices/YMCA

© Kenya G./Youth Voices/YMCA

© Raina G./Youth Voices/YMCA

© Carly P. Youth Voices/YMCA

Gary Knight, CEO

As co-founder and principal architect of The VII Foundation, Gary deals with the company’s overarching internal processes, including editorial projects, business development, and fundraising. Gary’s career in journalism is long and diverse. He started work photographing the war in Indochina in the late 1980s, then went on to photograph the wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many others in the Middle East and Africa. He worked in over 100 countries while a photographer for Newsweek magazine in the 1990s and 2000s. He is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, founder of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice at Tufts University – where he taught for nine years – on the board of the Frontline Club in London, twice chair and president of the World Press Photo Contest, and has judged many industry awards. His photography is held in collections worldwide and has received multiple peer-reviewed awards.

Ron Haviv, Director

Ron Haviv has dedicated his life to documenting humanitarian conflicts across the globe. Co-founder of The VII Foundation, he’s spent three decades photographing crisis zones. Working in over 100 countries, Ron has published four critically acclaimed photography collections. His work has been featured in a multitude of galleries and museums worldwide.

Fiona Turner, Producer & Director

A five-time Emmy-winning documentary producer, Fiona joined the organization as documentary filmmaker. As director of The VII Foundation film department, she currently creates and supervises a variety of media projects. Fiona has worked extensively in war zones and areas of conflict, including Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the wars in Somalia and Bosnia with NBC and ABC News. Currently based in Boston, she focuses on films and large scale mixed-media projects concerning social justice and human rights issues.