When professional photographer Katie Jenkins Norris got a call from a tearful mother, desperate to have professional photos made with her dying child, Katie quickly said yes. Katie, a 2003 graduate of Lake Highlands High School, calls the photos “a gift of memories”, and she was inspired to set up a non-profit organization to donate similar photo sessions to other families going through what Katie calls “hard times”.
Now, Fotolanthropy, as she calls it, has recruited other photographers and filmmakers, and they’re using their cameras to tell inspiring true stories.
The first movie, produced by Katie and directed by Jonathon Link, is the story of an American soldier critically injured in Afghanistan. In April of 2012, the explosion of an IED made Travis Mills a quadruple amputee. The young husband and father is now living a life different from the one he had imagined, and Katie’s movie, fully funded via Kickstarter, shows the bravery and resilience of the soldier and his loving family.
You can view the movie’s trailer here.
To fund her ambitious idea, Katie admits she didn’t want to rely solely on asking for charitable donation. After reading Start Something That Matters, a book by Blake Mycoskie, she had a brainstorm. Katie designed a line of unique and colorful camera straps (you can check out the options here). When you buy one of Katie’s Fotostraps, which can be monogramed with a name or business logo, a portion of the profits is used to fund Fotolanthropy projects.
Katie’s Fotostraps have captured the attention of the national press, and she appeared on two Fox News’ Small Business Spotlight segments earlier this year. Calling the straps “beautiful” and the idea “a great concept”, Fox host endorsements gave her a boost and widespread exposure.
Katie’s mom, Donna Jenkins (known to many in LH as The Rose Lady for her floral business), says Katie’s work is an inspiration. She proudly shared the trailer for the Travis Mills movie with buddies in her “boot camp” exercise class, who joked they’d never be able to complain about early morning workouts again.
If you’d like to nominate a person or family to be featured on Katie’s Fotolanthropy site, click here to share details via her easy info form.