Skip to main content
About PBS
PBS Makes Multi-Million Dollar Commitment to Advance the Work of Mid-Career, Diverse Creators
Email share

ARLINGTON, VA; January 18, 2022 — At the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour today, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced a new partnership with Firelight Media, the non-profit filmmaking organization founded by Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith. 

PBS is committing $3.6 million over the course of three years to support mid-career nonfiction filmmakers through Firelight Media’s William Greaves Fund, which resources talented storytellers from diverse communities in the United States. The Fund is designed to address the persistent structural challenges many filmmakers face after producing their first films, so that they can remain in the field and continue to create vital stories focused on underrepresented people and topics. Within the Greaves Fund, Firelight Media and PBS will hold a joint open call for filmmakers to submit projects for potential funding by PBS. 

The fund is named in honor of William Greaves, the longtime mentor of Firelight Media's founder, Stanley Nelson. Greaves' legacy in the documentary field includes producing the seminal television newsmagazine Black Journal along with 200-plus documentaries throughout his 60-year career. 

“This funding from PBS will help us expand our programs serving underrepresented documentary filmmakers and support their integration in the public media system, connecting filmmakers with stations and mentoring them at every level,” said Marcia Smith, President, Firelight Media. “We are grateful for the support from PBS to expand and diversify this pipeline of documentary filmmakers for public media.”  

“Sharing stories that reflect the full range of the American experience is core to PBS’s work, and these initiatives are another example of PBS’s commitment to amplifying diverse stories and perspectives,” said Sylvia Bugg, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “PBS is proud to partner with Firelight Media as we continue to advance the work of underrepresented makers and offer more diverse content across our platforms.” 

PBS has long-standing partnerships with public media organizations such as Latino Public Broadcasting, Black Public Media, Vision Maker Media, Pacific Islanders in Communication, Center for Asian American Media, The WORLD Channel, ITVS and American Documentary. With initiatives like the funding of Firelight Media’s artist programs and the Greaves Fund, PBS will continue to expand its roster of diverse creators and program offerings. 

About Firelight Media 

Firelight Media is a premier destination for non-fiction cinema by and about communities of color. Firelight Media produces documentary films, supports filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work. Firelight Media’s programs include the Documentary Lab, an 18-month fellowship that supports emerging filmmakers of color; Groundwork Regional Lab, which supports filmmakers in the American south, midwest, and U.S.-controlled Territories; and the William Greaves Fund for mid-career nonfiction filmmakers of color. Firelight Media also produces digital short film series, including In the Making, with PBS American Masters, and the recently announced “Homegrown: Future Visions” series with Reel South and the Center for Asian American Media. In addition to a focus on excellence in filmmaking, Firelight Media develops strategies, partnerships, and materials to reach and engage diverse audiences and maximize the impact of documentary films. 

About PBS 

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Communications on Twitter

– PBS –