Posted by PBS Publicity on

$1.25 Million Awarded to Highlight the Pioneering Work
of Individuals Solving Societal Problems

First Recipient of Grant Won National Business Emmy

Arlington, Va., March 27, 2008 - PBS and the PBS Foundation today announced the winners of the second round of competitive grants from the PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund. The $1.25 million grant will support segments of THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER and FRONTLINE/WORLD, as well as two one-hour documentaries, MILKING THE RHINO from Kartemquin Educational Films and Ironbound Films' THE NEW RECRUITS. All of the projects will profile people who are using innovative methods to solve problems in their communities and around the world, as well as extensive outreach components and a Web presence that promotes awareness of social entrepreneurship.

The PBS Foundation's Social Entrepreneurship Fund was established in 2006 with a $2.5 million grant from the Skoll Foundation. The purpose of the grant was to highlight the work of social entrepreneurs - people acting as change agents, improving systems, inventing new approaches and creating sustainable solutions to better society. In both rounds of the grant, filmmakers, documentarians and other journalists created on-air programs and online components for PBS that promoted pioneering approaches that address far-reaching social issues.

"An important part of our mission is to use media to inspire people and help them connect with their community," said John Boland, PBS Chief Content Officer. "Profiling everyday people who are actively engaged in addressing some of our society's most complex issues is a powerful way for PBS to serve the American public. We are grateful to the Skoll Foundation for their ongoing support to make these projects possible."

"We are excited about the power of solution-oriented journalism to drive positive change, and pleased that PBS has chosen such worthy vehicles to illustrate the scope and impact of the social entrepreneurship movement," said Sandy Herz, Senior Advancement Officer at the Skoll Foundation. "The combined reach of established programs and in-depth independently produced content has the potential to accelerate the tremendous work that is being done in the field."

The second-round competition began with an open call to producers, garnering nearly 50 proposals. The field was then narrowed down to seven finalists whose projects were reviewed by a panel of entrepreneurial experts. The four winners were chosen by the PBS Programming team.

NOW, the weekly PBS public affairs program and first-round winner, achieved great success through its SEF grant. Series producer JumpStart Productions used the awarded funds to launch a new report entitled "Enterprising Ideas."

The first of these segments, "Health Care Franchise," won the National Business Emmy for "Outstanding Coverage of a Current Business News Story." The Enterprising Ideas Web site on the series (www.pbs.org/now/enterprisingideas), which the producers call an "interactive window on the world of social entrepreneurship," profiled social enterprises, hosted an online contest and a blog, and provided information for people who want to get involved.

"Social entrepreneurship is such an important topic and we are proud that NOW's coverage of the subject has garnered an Emmy. We are tremendously proud of them," said Cheri Carter, Executive Director of the PBS Foundation. "We are equally pleased about the new projects covered under this grant and have amazing gratitude to the Skoll Foundation. We will value this partnership for years to come."

THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER (MacNeil/Lehrer Productions) and FRONTLINE/WORLD (WGBH Boston) will use the grant to continue with and, ultimately, expand their efforts to report on social entrepreneurship. NEWSHOUR will produce 10 segments that will be aired on the nightly broadcast, chronicling the work of five national and five international social enterprises.

FRONTLINE/WORLD has always shown keen interest in the power of social innovation; the additional funding will allow producers to deepen their already in-depth coverage of the movement, both on-air and online.

Both of the winning documentaries chronicle individuals in Africa and Asia as they strive to create tangible social changes. MILKING THE RHINO takes a look at the complex themes of community-based conservation through three experimental programs and their African leaders. THE NEW RECRUITS follows the latest class of Acumen Fellows, who journey each year to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India and Pakistan through a program dedicated to providing young professionals the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in effecting social change.

About PBS

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches nearly 73 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of digital learning content for pre-K-12 educators and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (www.pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at (www.pbs.org) one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About the PBS Foundation

The mission of the PBS Foundation is to enlist philanthropic support of public broadcasting through establishing special initiatives funds and a permanent endowment to ensure PBS' continued excellence, and to promote and enhance outstanding public broadcasting programs and services. Working collaboratively and cooperatively with member stations, the Foundation will secure the extraordinary funding necessary to maintain and enhance its commitment to serving the American public. The PBS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and a 509(a)(3) supporting organization of PBS. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/foundation.

About the Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world. Today the Skoll Foundation advances systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs - individuals dedicated to innovative, bottom-up solutions that transform unequal and unjust social, environmental and economic systems.

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the foundation's flagship program. There are currently 50 organizations represented by 59 remarkable social entrepreneurs in the program, working individually and together across regions, countries and continents to evolve the field of social entrepreneurship into a global movement for social change. The Skoll Foundation connects social entrepreneurs and other partners in the field via an online community at www.socialedge.org, and through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.

The foundation also celebrates social entrepreneurs by telling their stories through partnerships with the PBS Foundation, Public Radio International and the Sundance Institute, with the goal of promoting large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship. www.skollfoundation.org.



PBS Jennifer Daddura, jedaddura@pbs.org, 703/739-5223