Jeff McCarter Founder & Executive Director
Jeff McCarter is the Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media, which he created in order to share his experience as a media professional (cameraman, editor, and Emmy Award-winning producer) with young people from under-resourced communities. In mainstream media, Jeff witnessed the lack of diversity in both representation and opportunity. Now, Free Spirit Media cultivates diverse youth voices to transform media and society. Jeff was a founding co-chair of the Chicago Youth Voices Network and serves on Chicago’s Committee for Media Access. He is a thought leader in the fields of youth media education and digital media and learning, and has presented at multiple conferences, including DML (Digital Media and Learning), ACM (Alliance for Community Media), and Media Rise.
Jeff has worked on feature films directed by Steven Soderbergh and Ron Howard, and on documentary television with ABC News, PBS, and WTTW Chicago. He earned a BA in Humanities and Film Production at the University of Colorado and has studied Non-Profit Strategy and Management at Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jeff is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Program and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Ideas Week Co-Op. He lives with his family on Chicago’s West Side.