Dale Bell is a storyteller with a camera who has raised, or helped to raise, some $80 million from foundations, corporations, and individuals for global media projects that reflect his—and their!—lifelong commitment to the clamoring issues of social justice, inequity, race, climate, public health, and journalism. He began while still an undergrad at Princeton when elected President of Theatre Intime. His diverse broadcast and film projects have won the Academy Award (Woodstock), the Peabody, 2 Emmys, 4 BAFTAs, and two Christophers. On his journey to tell stories reflecting the curious spirit of humankind through the inspired lens of civil and human rights, he has been extremely fortunate to work with Gordon Parks, Sir John Gielgud, Robert Kennedy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Odetta, Harry Wiland, Dame Judith Anderson, Hillary Clinton, Martin Scorsese, Beverly Sills, Nancy Reagan, Jerry Brown, Marta Istomin, Thor Heyerdahl, Hal Holbrook, Thelma Schoonmaker, Erich van Daniken, Leonard Bernstein, Betty Freidan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Gardner, Arthur Mitchell, Fred Rogers, Aubrey Singer, Mary Nichols, Aaron Copland, Rosalynn Carter, Roger Stevens, Leontyne Price, Mstislav Rostropovich, Joe Williams, Zoe Caldwell, Andre Previn, Sarah Vaughan, Bill Drayton, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Barbara Boxer, Robert DeNiro, Jim Henson, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Mikulski, Jeremy Irons, Eubie Blake, Robert Putnam, Bob Whitehead, Igor Stravinsky’s son Soulima, Peter Falk, Jay Inslee, Kevin Starr, Charlton Heston, George Segal, Shari Lewis, Kenneth Emory, and the first crew of the double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hokule’a, on its maiden non-instrument voyage to Tahiti in 1976 that catalyzed a Polynesian renaissance. The lesson? Trusted media builds community. Throughout, Dale created working relationships with McCarter Theatre, BBC, National Geographic Society, Folger Theatre, Pittsburgh Symphony, The Henson Company, Kennedy Center, Polynesian Voyaging Society, KON TIKI Museum, CPB, PBS, ITVS, NBC, ABC, A&E, Discovery, TBS, and History Channel.
In 1999, Dale and his NYC colleague, Harry Wiland, formed a business partnership that led to the co-founding of the Media Policy Center. (It was Harry’s production, Johnny Cash: the Man, His World and HIs Music, that first brought them together in 1968.) MPC, the new 501c3, was soon honored by the Ashoka Fellowship of 3,800 global social entrepreneurs as the only media professionals and business partnership. Together, wearing many interchangeable hats, they have created and taught a two-year media for social justice Masters-level curricula, while continuing to produce, over two decades, multiple-platform media initiatives that represent their enduring passion for equity and social change.
Caring for elders and frail? AND THOU SHALT HONOR. Sustainable community pioneers? EDENS LOST & FOUND. Education? GROWING GREENER SCHOOLS. A new model for elder homes? THE GREEN HOUSE PROJECT. Community health? DESIGNING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES. The worst ever man-made public health epidemic…The Opioid Epidemic? DO NO HARM. Community building for elders? HOMES ON THE RANGE. Climate change and corporate accountability? BACKFIRED: When VW Lied to America. Thirty million children on the edge of poverty in this country? OUR KIDS, Closing the Opportunity Gap with Dr. Robert Putnam. Each initiative supported by community outreach, curricula, some local/televised town hall meetings, four books, multiple community action plans: … these projects have started— or become a part of— the national discourse.
Now, in COVID, Dale and Harry spotlight IMAGINE DEMOCRACY, a multi-part media initiative, to humanize through the eyes, ears, and journalistic curiosity of young people nationally, with the HBCU Clark Atlanta University and Harvard College, new storytelling for PBS and additional streaming platforms. Goal: to augment the arsenal of democracy for our societies. This project represents an ongoing media alignment opportunity for communitarianism with the group from Inclusive Capitalism, bending the arc of moral justice still more.
He, Dale, is still haunted—and deeply motivated—- by Jimi Hendrix’s prophetic version of our National Anthem played on the morning of August 18, 1969 at Woodstock. Dale has written 4 books, speaks 3 languages, has 4 sons, 6 grandchildren, and lives with his wife, Lizbeth M. Bell, in Santa Monica, CA.