ChangeMaker Finalist: Christy Pipkin
Executive Director, The Nobelity Project
Christy Ellinger Pipkin is the Executive Director of The Nobelity Project – a global education non-profit that is building classrooms, competence and connection for communities around the world. Christy works to bring the non-profit’s initiatives to fruition— creating motivating documentaries and short films, helming educational outreach in the US and abroad, and maintaining oversight on development projects that are bridging gaps in education with information and infrastructure.
Born (’58) and mostly raised in Austin (and D.C ’63-’73), Christy met and later married Turk Pipkin (’84) while attending the University of Texas. Combining their performing careers, Turk and Christy toured under the banner of the Texas Commission on the Arts (’83-’85). A move to Los Angeles brought opportunities to leave the stage, and work behind the scenes as a film and television producer (‘85-89).
With Austin calling (as well as Willie Nelson with a job offer ’89-‘91) she and Turk moved back home to be closer to family and to raise their own. Two kids (’90, ’94), hundreds of film productions (’90-’00) and 10 years later, Christy was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (‘00) and things came to a bit of a halt. Reassessing her priorities, production took a back seat to recovery and launched her into a new high-powered career as…a yoga teacher (‘00-‘08).
But world circumstances (‘01) soon replaced personal ones and she agreed to produce a film, with Turk directing, called “Nobelity” (‘05). It was the words and work of the film’s Nobel Laureates that put the Pipkins on the non-profit path, to help address some of the global issues profiled. One film led to another (‘09, ’11), the projects kept growing, and today The Nobelity Project is Christy’s full-time focus, improving education for thousands of school children at home and abroad every year.
“I believe local acts have global impacts, and together we are a powerful force for change. One of my favorite parts of our work is getting to share these inspiring stories that connect people so that “others” become “us”.
In addition to many festival awards for filmmaking, Christy received the 2013 International Women’s Day Humanitarian Award from Ten Thousand Villages, and in 2015 was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of America.