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PBS AND THE PBS FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE FIRST RECIPIENT OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP FUND GRANT


PBS Programming to Begin Accepting Proposals for Second Round of Funding

Arlington, Va., March 19, 2007 – PBS and the PBS Foundation today announced that the critically acclaimed public affairs series NOW has been selected as the first recipient of a competitive grant from the PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fund. The fund was established in 2006 with a $2.5 million grant from the Skoll Foundation 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. NOW, which airs on PBS each Friday at 8:30 pm (check local listings), was awarded $1.25 million to produce up to 20 reports over the next two seasons through 2008 focusing on social entrepreneurs across the globe.

Following an open call to producers, PBS received a total of 97 proposals for consideration during first round of funding. The field was then narrowed down to 5 finalists whose projects were reviewed by a panel of experts in the field of social entrepreneurship. The final winner was chosen by PBS Programming team.

JumpStart Productions, the producers of NOW, will use the awarded funds to launch a new report entitled “Ideas That Work,” which will air approximately twice each month. The segments will highlight people, communities and corporations that are acting to make the world a better place. Each edition of the “Ideas That Work” series will be shown on PBS stations across the country and include extensive online elements such as interactive Q&As, slideshows, timelines, extended audio and video clips as well as customizable tools that enable people to act upon their own ideas in their communities.

“We reviewed impressive proposals from all over the world that featured social entrepreneurs of every kind - from the environment to education to health to myriad issues in Africa, South America, Asia and the United States, and believe that NOW presented the best concepts and offered a rich, integrated online component” said John Boland, PBS Chief Content Officer. “We are looking forward to seeing additional thoughtful, innovative proposals in round two.”

“None of this would be possible without the generosity of the Skoll Foundation. In establishing the PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund, we worked closely with Skoll to ensure that both their philanthropic interests and PBS' needs were met” said Cheri Carter, Executive Director of the PBS Foundation. “We are proud that the Social Entrepreneurship Fund is our first Program Venture Fund for programming and content and we are thrilled that NOW has been selected as the recipient of Round 1 support.”

“This is an amazing opportunity and real honor for NOW,” said John Siceloff, Executive Producer for NOW. “This is the chance to tell the compelling stories of social entrepreneurs around the globe as they try to stretch the confines of traditional philanthropy by applying business skills in original ways to make the world a better place. The generosity of the Skoll Foundation in conjunction with the PBS Foundation will allow people in local American communities to observe the power of social impact around the world.”

A call for proposals for the second round of funding through the social entrepreneur grant is available beginning today on PBS’ Web site (http://www.pbs.org/producers/funding.html). As before, the applications will be reviewed by PBS Programming, which determines all the grant winners. Proposals from independent producers of television and online content are sought.

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

About PBS

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches over 75 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 educational materials for K-12 teachers, 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 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 over 76 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/

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