The Genesis Initiative is one of the country's leading Catholic non-profits working in Hollywood today.
It's really that simple! Genesis has a volunteer staff and board whose sole mission is to help encourage and promote entertainment reflecting Catholic values and Catholic inspired themes for the movies, television and other outlets for media.
Over the past few decades it has become increasingly obvious that we live an in anti-Christian era driven by heavy sentiments of anti-Catholicism. Making things worse is the fact that Catholics have often been loosing the battle to counter this trend in the arts and especially in media today. Most of the impetus for this trend comes from Hollywood.
Hollywood moviemakers dramatically shape our culture. That is why Genesis aims to help support and encourage the development and production of great Catholic inspired movies and documentaries.
Steve is the Founder and CEO of SJW Strategic Solutions. The firm is headquartered in Northeast Ohio, but advises clients throughout North America.
Prior to launching SJW Strategic Solutions, Steve was the Chairman of Plasticolors, Inc., a manufacturer of high performance liquid colorants and additive for the plastics and coatings market.
Denys is founder and CEO of R&M International located in Fort Washington, PA. R&M International is a private, family-run business which includes son Dominic and daughter Elena. It is a full-service importing, exporting, and trading company with clients in more than 40 countries.
Thomas Mengler is the 13th president, and second lay president, of St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. Before joining St. Mary's on June 1, 2012, Mengler was dean of the law school at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis for 10 years. Before that, he served at the University of Illinois, where he was dean of the University of Illinois College of Law as well as interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
For the past several decades Dick Lyles has devoted a significant amount of his life's energies into projects that will make a positive difference for Catholics and our culture. As CEO of Leadership Legacies, LLC, he spearheaded the development of a comprehensive leadership development program for Catholic priests that is being delivered through the Catholic Leadership Institute in Exeter, PA. More than 1000 priests in 36 dioceses around the country are benefitting from this program. In support of the program he wrote a popular parable to introduce priests to the concepts of day-to-day leadership entitled, Good Leaders, Good Shepherds, published by Ascension Press.
As a founding member of the Board of Directors of The Act One Program in Hollywood, Dick has worked alongside Barbara Nicolosi for the better part of a decade to train Christians for writing careers and executive careers in television and movie making. The Act One Program is having a powerful positive impact on both Hollywood and the broader culture.
Dick is past CEO of Relevant Radio, a thirty-three station Catholic radio network serving parts of the Midwest, South and Eastern portions of the United States. Relevant radio played a key role in these markets in evangelizing, education, and nurturing Catholic values in support of our bishops.
Dick has been a member of Legatus, an international association of CEOs and their spouses for more than a decade, having served as president of the San Diego Chapter for two years. He is a sought after speaker on the Legatus circuit, having addressed more than three dozen chapters and delivered a keynote at their International Summit.
All of these experiences point to Dick's commitment to causing positive changes in the culture that are rooted in Catholic teaching and true Christian philosophy. This is a point of view that has been lost in Hollywood, where 75% of the world's media is produced. Dick is thus an excellent person to lead Genesis in its goal to re-establish Catholic values and world view as a normal and accepted element in mainstream movie making.
Impassioned by his pursuit of faith in the work place, David Fischer has raised millions of dollars in donations and investments to support innovative efforts aimed at transforming culture through faith-based initiatives. David began his career in a unique environment surrounded by the arts and entertainment. With aspirations to perform, David pursued professional theatre in the early 1990'ss where he acted in hundreds of performances at the nationally acclaimed Guthrie Theatre and Children's Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. David was educated at the University of St. Thomas and in 2000 on a year's stay in Rome, Italy, David was contacted by the Vatican to personally sing for His Holiness, Pope John Paul II at a private audience in His Holiness's personal chapel.
After earning his Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Catholic Studies and Classical Language and Literature, David enrolled in law school and joined the Minnesota State Bar in 2006. Shortly after earning his Juris Doctorate, David was offered a position with the largest community Foundation serving Catholic philanthropy in the United States. From 2007 through 2011 David worked and ultimately served as the Director of Gift Planning and Legal Affairs for the Catholic Community Foundation in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Here David began to specialize in fundraising and investment opportunities. With over 200 million dollars in capital raised at the Foundation, David directed the gift planning and strategic legal analysis that helped to sustain a distribution of nearly 10 million dollars annually though endowment funds and other tax sheltered charitable vehicles. David helped hundreds of people with their philanthropy, crafting estate planning techniques and charitable intentions that not only aligned with their faith based values but also created the best financial returns for their investments and donations.
With a well-developed sense for raising capital, an outstanding network and a strong desire to impact the culture through the arts, David joined The Genesis Initiative as its Executive Director. This dynamic mission will help to leverage the investment and fundraising experience that David brings to the table. His experience in the Church, law and entertainment make for a wonderful calling to serve The Genesis Initiative and create exciting new possibilities for national exposure to the unique and transformative entertainment The Genesis Initiative is proud to present. David resides in Woodbury, Minnesota where he and his wife Laura are raising five children. David is actively involved in several non-profit organizations including: Serra International, where he serves as the President of the St. Paul Midway chapter; Saint Paul's Outreach, where he consults the board on alumni affairs and development; NET Ministries; University of Saint Thomas School of Law; the Alliance Defense Fund and the Archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life.
Martha brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge to the Genesis Initiative team. Martha has been a long-time advocate for Catholic causes, and has worked in various political campaigns and media drives to bring Catholic values and traditions to the forefront of our culture. Martha was Catechist at St. Gabriel's parish in Poway for 13 years before serving as Director of Religious Education for another 9 years. She currently serves as Director of Development and teaches adult Bible study. She and her husband Dick have three grown children who have brought five grandchildren into the world. It is for them that she and Dick are volunteering their time and committing their resources to the success of The Genesis Initiative.
In 2010 Genesis partnered up with The Magis Institute for Reason and Faith to produce Cosmic Origins. Along with Fr. Robert Spitzer (former President of Gonzaga University) Genesis produced this 48-minute documentary, which examines questions such as "did the universe have a beginning?" and "if so, what are the implications for each of us?" The reaction to this documentary has been overwhelmingly positive and in 2012 Ignatius Press has launched a major campaign to distribute this documentary around the world.
The Waiting Room
Genesis has been raising donations for a short drama entitled The Waiting Room. It is based on a short story by Dale Francis, which first appeared in the book "Handbook on Abortion," 1972, Dr. J.C. Willke. Genesis hopes to commission the writing of this story into a screenplay by renowned screen wright Barbara Nicolosi. This powerful story will shape a relevant and current argument against the euthanasia culture of death and will point our audience to the dignity of every human life from conception to naturala death.
Mary Mother of Christ
In 2011, Genesis helped to secure financing to develop the feature-length movie Mary, Mother of Christ. This film is being promoted as the prequel to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. The same writer of the Passion, Benedict Fitzgerald, teamed up with one of the greatest Catholic screenwriters of our time, Barbara Nicolosi, and wrote this screenplay. Genesis owns an equity share in this project due the great generosity of many donors who made it possible for Genesis to help develop this movie. Mary Mother of Christ will be distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment and looks to hit theaters in 2013.