PBS Foundation and Skoll Foundation Establish Fund to Produce Unique Programming on Social Entrepreneurship

Posted by PBS Publicity on

The PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund to Support New Work
by Filmmakers, Journalists

Arlington, Va., and Palo Alto, Calif., September 20, 2006 - The PBS Foundation and the Skoll Foundation announced today the establishment of the PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund with a three-year, $2.5 million grant from the Skoll Foundation. The PBS Foundation will use the funds to enable filmmakers, documentarians and other journalists to produce work that promotes large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship, and highlights individuals who are pioneering innovative approaches that address far-reaching social issues.

The PBS Social Entrepreneurship Fund will provide independent producers with grants on a competitive basis to develop original content for dissemination by PBS across a variety of distribution platforms, such as full-length documentaries and independent films or shorter segments on PBS television programs, Web sites and digital services.

Each project supported by the fund may include an outreach initiative, which will be determined by the applicant. This component could include community screenings, Web sites and podcasting, and classroom materials, among other possibilities. Guidelines for applying for a PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund grant from PBS can be found at http://www.pbs.org/producers/funding.html.

"PBS and its member stations provide the Skoll Foundation with an unparalleled opportunity to introduce social entrepreneurs and their compelling stories to millions of people on the air and online," said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. "Social entrepreneurs and PBS share a special mission to inform and enlighten their publics and to bring to life stories that demonstrate how one person can make a difference. This partnership clearly supports that mission in a creative and collaborative manner. In fact, it is our hope that this partnership will be the impetus for many other collaborations, especially those between filmmakers and social entrepreneurs who can access this funding and extend the reach of their impact."

"One of the top goals of the PBS Foundation is to help provide funding for new and interesting content that PBS can distribute to its member stations. The new PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund helps us achieve this goal," said Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS and a founding member of the PBS Foundation Board of Directors. "It will give PBS the seed money it needs to begin working with content producers and help them explore the fascinating phenomenon of social entrepreneurship, which is reshaping communities across the world."

The PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund represents the most recent collaboration between public television and the Skoll Foundation. In 2005, the Skoll Foundation provided major funding for "The New Heroes," an acclaimed four-hour documentary series that presented 12 compelling stories of social entrepreneurs who bring empowering solutions to the most intractable social problems around the world. Oregon Public Broadcasting, in association with Malone-Grove Productions, Inc., produced the series, which Robert Redford hosted.

"Our long-term plan is to make the PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund part of a broader program venture fund that filmmakers, documentarians and journalists can tap when creating unique and innovative content. We want the PBS Foundation to support PBS' role as a laboratory where independent producers and producing stations can explore the future of public media - a forum where new ideas and concepts are tested in the pursuit of PBS' mission to provide groundbreaking content that citizens will not find anywhere else," said Cheri M. Carter, Executive Director of the PBS Foundation.

The PBS Foundation, formed in 2004, has raised almost $17 million to date. The PBS Foundation focuses its fundraising efforts on creating an endowment, special initiatives and funding for programming and content.

About the PBS Foundation
The PBS Foundation was formed in 2004 to enlist philanthropic support on behalf of PBS, a nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 354 public television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. The PBS Foundation secures extraordinary gifts and grants at the national level. The PBS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and a 509(a)(3) supporting organization of PBS. For more information, visit http://www.pbs.org/aboutpbs/pbsfoundation/

About the Skoll Foundation
Headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, the Skoll Foundation was created by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to fulfill his vision of a world where all people, regardless of geography, background or economic status, enjoy and employ the full range of their talents and abilities. Today the Skoll Foundation benefits communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs - individuals dedicated to pioneering new innovations that result in lasting solutions to complex social problems.

The Skoll Foundation supports social entrepreneurs with the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship - multi-year grants awarded to individuals whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on six key issues: environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, economic and social equity, and peace and security. The foundation connects and celebrates social entrepreneurs through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University and through an online community at socialedge.org, and via media projects that feature social entrepreneurs such as the PBS documentary series The New Heroes and a series of short independent films called Uncommon Heroes. For more information, visit www.skollfoundation.org.

Media contacts:

Jan McNamara, 703-739-5028, Director, Corporate Communications, jmcnamara@pbs.org

Skoll Foundation:
Terry Nagel, Communications Officer, 650-331-1020 or 650-678-7082, tnagel@skollfoundation.org