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MASTERPIECE Announces 50th Anniversary Challenge Fund

Lead Gift from Darlene Shiley is $5 Million Toward $20 Million Goal 

Darlene Marcos Shiley
Darlene Marcos Shiley

Pasadena (January 31, 2019) – MASTERPIECE on PBS, the iconic drama series that sparked Americans’ passion for British drama, has announced an ambitious fundraising initiative in support and celebration of its 50th Anniversary in 2020.

With a goal of $20 million, the MASTERPIECE 50th Anniversary Fund has received an extraordinary lead gift of $5 million from philanthropist Darlene Marcos Shiley, chair of the Shiley Foundation, and longtime supporter of public media. The gift is the largest to date to the MASTERPIECE Trust, a fundraising partnership between MASTERPIECE’s producing station WGBH Boston and PBS member stations nationwide and includes support for Shiley’s local station KPBS in San Diego. As a component of this gift, Shiley has put forth a $2 million 1:1 challenge in support of the Fund.

The MASTERPIECE Trust 50th Anniversary Challenge Fund is established in honor of the series’ five decades of beloved programming, including the renowned Upstairs Downstairs, The Forsyte Saga and Prime Suspect and recent hits Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Victoria, and is designed to further the series’ legacy.

“MASTERPIECE has enriched my life for so many years,” said Shiley. “If you give to something you believe in, what you hope is that people will join you in supporting a particular cause. I’m hoping my challenge will inspire others. What’s better than being a part of something terrific like MASTERPIECE?”

“50 is fabulous. How many television series can say that?” says MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “Darlene’s amazing gift means that MASTERPIECE programs will be available for viewers to enjoy for years to come.”

Under Eaton’s visionary leadership, MASTERPIECE has begun to look toward the future, expanding the series’ content beyond the boundaries of broadcast television: fans can listen to the award-winning MASTERPIECE Studio podcast, featuring in-depth interviews with acting and producing talent from the shows, engage with the series’ content across social media platforms, and watch online. MASTERPIECE is by far the most viewed series on PBS’s “Passport” – a member streaming service for local public television stations.

Shiley has been a contributor to the MASTERPIECE Trust since its inception in 2011. With the addition of this historic $5 million gift, Shiley has donated more than $10 million to the Trust.

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