Starting Now! 8 Day Challenge for Ella Jenkins Doc
Dear Ella Jenkins fans,

We need your help.

In just 8 days we will EITHER be ready to seize our window of opportunity, swing into action, and tell Ella's story, inspiring generations to come;

... OR, if we haven't reached our goal by Sept 30, the film will have to be put on hold while we regroup. We'll have to halt production in order to search and apply for grants and private donors, but that process can take months, and even years. We don't have time to waste. Ella and our team are ready to make this film now, and we need your help.

We have almost 300 online contributors and more still who have sent checks, and who donated at Saturday's 90th birthday event. I want to sincerely thank you for all of your help thus far. But we're not done yet.

If just 80 of Ella's supporters raise $500 this week amongst their friends, family and colleagues we will exceed our goal of $65,000, which would allow our team to continue making this film. (Or 160 backers raising $250, or 40 at $1000, etc.)

I challenge each of you to help us find financial support for this film now. Find 5 friends who can donate $100, or 10 who would give $50 before Sunday, 9/28.
We've had fantastic media attention. We have great promo videos. Airtime, radio interviews and lots of great press to excite new donors. But YOU need to ask them for their donation.

It's the person-to-person connection that makes people take action.

Here's how you can help find donors who will make a commitment to take action immediately.
  • Follow up right away by phone. Ask for a donation, and see if they have any questions. Let them know you will check the website to make ensure that their donation went through.
  • Talk with the decision-makers at your place of worship, your workplace, your labor union, your school, and request a speedy donation.
  • Host a fundraising event -- a casual happy hour, brown bag lunch, afternoon tea, coffee break. Use the links here and explain your commitment to getting this documentary made. Play Ella's music.

A backer in Washington D.C. is saying this on her calls:

"Hi ___. It's Valerie. I'm calling with a very special request for a donation to a great project. May I tell you about it?

Do you remember Ella Jenkins, the First Lady of Children's Music? She was a regular on
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and lots of other shows. She played for kids on all continents, including Antarctica, and even has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award!

My friend is making a documentary about Ella Jenkins and the project needs funding now to get the key production completed.

Ella's 90. Her story is incredible. She's made a difference in the lives of thousands of children and in the lives of musicians who have followed in her footsteps. She fought for civil rights, education and has carved out her own unique place in history.

In just 8 days we will EITHER have the funding to tell Ella's story, inspiring generations to come;

... OR, if we haven't reached our goal by Sept. 30, the film will go into limbo while the production is forced to regroup.

I've committed to raise at least $50 each from 10 people in the next three days. There are a bunch of special gifts for the various donation levels. Would you like to know about them?
Can you help? Great!

Can you do it now? Thank you!

Go to and you can make your donation there.

The film team will be in touch after you make your donation. You can contact me if you have any questions, and I'll check to make sure your donation went through.

Thank you!"


We're also still on the lookout for match donors Executive Producer and level contributors. To arrange to make a sizable tax-deductible donation to the film, contact me, Tim Ferrin, directly at


In addition to the new perks including "Ask Ella" at the $500 or more level, and "Lunch With Ella" for  $5,000 or more, we've reduced the donation amount for an 'I Heart Ella' shirt to $50.
Cameraman Jake Jarvi and DP Aaron Hui wear their heart for Ella.
The harmonica donation has been reduced to $45 for this final week as well. (Backers who already donated at the higher level will receive a download as well.)
Hand signed poster for Ella's 90th Birthday Party. Designed by Brian Fitzgerald
We also have a very limited quantity of beautiful, first-run event posters promoting Ella's 90th Birthday Party, which have been printed on heavyweight paper and hand-signed by Ella. They are available for a $75 donation here

More Love for Ella

Friday saw some more great articles about Ella and the film. You can read Paul Biasco's DNAinfo interview with Ella and yours truly here, and Judy Sutton Taylor's Tribune article is posted in full here. (It will appear in print in next Sunday's Chicago Tribune, just as our campaign wraps up.)

Ella leads the crowd at Bauler Park on 9/20.
Photo by Robert L. Segal

You can see Bob Segal's fantastic photos from Ella's 90th Birthday Party on Saturday on the film's facebook page here.

Backer Contests

This weekend's winner of a signed "I Heart Ella" t-shirt is Scott Hedlund, of Chicago, IL!

Our next contest is for a signed copy of Ella's award-winning latest release, More Multicultural Children's Songs. Any $50 or more backer to the Indiegogo campaign between now and Thursday is eligible to win.

Thank you
again for all of your support, previous and forthcoming.
Help us finish strong!

Tim Ferrin
Producer/Director Ella Jenkins: We'll Sing a Song Together
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