Acton Institute’s ‘Poverty Inc.’ Wins Templeton Freedom Award
Religion & Liberty Online

Acton Institute’s ‘Poverty Inc.’ Wins Templeton Freedom Award

Poverty Inc., the new documentary that has grown out of the Acton Institute’s PovertyCure initiative, was awarded Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award at an event last night in New York.

Brad Lips, chief executive of the Washington-based Atlas Network, which administers the award, said the documentary is “without question” worth the attention it is receiving. “Shining a light on an uncomfortable side of charity — where a paternalistic mindset puts the aid industry at the center of efforts to rescue the poor — Poverty, Inc. calls on us to embrace a different mental model,” he said. “The film makes a persuasive case that the most effective solutions to poverty lie in unleashing entrepreneurs to find new, innovative, and efficient ways to meet people’s needs.”

Acton Executive Director Kris Mauren said the award recognizes that the entire business of international development and foreign aid is at a tipping point. “While entrenched interests remain, mounting evidence is causing people of all political stripes to question whether their actions are really helping the poor,” he said. “This is where Poverty, Inc. comes in. Operating under the conviction that thoughtful documentaries change culture, we designed Poverty, Inc. to spearhead a broad reconsideration of poverty that is nonpartisan but pro-market.”

Established in 2004, the Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The award annually honors his legacy by identifying and recognizing the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and the public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition. The award is generously supported by Templeton Religion Trust and was presented during Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner last night in New York. Acton will receive a $100,000 prize and the runners-up will receive $5,000.

Poverty, Inc., which covers topics such as international orphanages, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the 2010 Haiti earthquake, TOMS shoes, Bono, and U.S. agricultural subsidies, has already been screened on more than 150 occasions to more than 10,000 people in 16 countries and 22 U.S. states. The film has earned official selection honors at nearly 40 domestic and international film festivals, collecting more than 12 awards in the process. To attend a local screening, or schedule one in your area, please visit this page.

On Nov. 2, Russ Roberts, the host of the EconTalk podcast, talked with Michael Matheson Miller, Acton research fellow and producer of the documentary. “I encourage people to see it,” Roberts told Miller. ” … there are many, many places where I was moved; and I confess that there were parts where I cried–which could have been just for the mood I was in that day. But it’s very moving.”

John Couretas

is a writer and editor based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.