FRONTLINE Receives $4.2 Million MacArthur Foundation Grant

May 18, 2016

As part of an expanded grantmaking push in the journalism and media space, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced that FRONTLINE — the PBS investigative journalism series based at WGBH — will receive an unrestricted, five-year general operating grant totaling $4.2 million.

FRONTLINE is one of 12 nonprofit journalism organizations that will receive completely unrestricted MacArthur Foundation grants, totaling nearly $25 million, as part of what the Foundation called a recommitment to “the core values of accurate, in-depth journalism and documentary storytelling, while also supporting innovation and experimentation and building diversity in the field.”

The other grantees include NPR, PRI’s The World, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, among others. The announcement was made by MacArthur President Julia Stasch at PBS Annual Meeting.

“The kind of in-depth investigative journalism we practice at FRONTLINE is thoughtful, rigorous, and time-intensive,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE Executive Producer. “It requires us to constantly seek untold stories, and to give our producers and reporters the time and resources to dig into them deeply.”

“That’s why unrestricted funding like this generous MacArthur grant is so critical to FRONTLINE’s future,” adds Aronson-Rath, who will speak on a MacArthur Foundation panel in Chicago tonight. “It allows us to support our team in pursuing new ideas, sustains our commitment to developing those ideas into original, clear-eyed journalism, and enables us to keep telling important stories with the sort of depth and complexity that has always set our reporting apart. We are deeply grateful to the MacArthur Foundation for this important support, and we congratulate all of the other grantees.”

Today’s operating grants were made as part of the MacArthur Foundation’s commitment to accountability and explanatory reporting — reporting, the announcement said, that might not happen without unrestricted support.

“Unrestricted funding is especially vital to helping well-led nonprofit news organizations experiment and innovate, and enables journalists and editors the independence to pursue important stories that do not make commercial sense, particularly in the costly realms of investigative and international reporting,” Kathy Im, MacArthur’s Director of Journalism and Media, said in the Foundation’s announcement.

This five-year grant is just the latest chapter in the Foundation’s support for FRONTLINE: The series’ primary funding is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but the MacArthur Foundation has long served as a major funder.

Read the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s full announcement here.


FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 75 Emmy Awards and 18 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. Founded by David Fanning in 1983, FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Patrice Taddonio, Assistant Director of Audience Development,

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