Frontline receives nearly $6 million in two grants

By Dru Sefton

Frontline, public television’s investigative news showcase, announced two major donations Wednesday, including the largest grant from individuals in its 30-year history.

Frontline's July 15 show, "Separate and Unequal," explores the return of school segregation in America. (Photo: Frontline)

Frontline‘s July 15 show, “Separate and Unequal,” will explore the return of school segregation in America. (Photo: Frontline)

Most of the $5 million from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler, longtime supporters of producing station WGBH, will create a reporting endowment for the program to ensure the series’ long-term sustainability. The remaining $1.5 million will support existing programming and digital efforts over four years.

Meanwhile, a two-year, $800,000 gift from the Ford Foundation will back a new cross-platform Enterprise Journalism Group. The funds will pay for initial recruits for the in-house group of digital journalists and producers. The gift brings the Ford Foundation’s 55-year support of WGBH to almost $20 million.

The Haglers and the Ford Foundation “are giving us a remarkable chance to not just expand our original investigative journalism, but to innovate it,” said Frontline Deputy Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath in an announcement. The new funds will enable the program’s journalists to “report and tell stories that matter in new, creative ways, and to reach a digitally native audience.”

“These two gifts are a vote of confidence in Frontline’s ambitions for the future,” said David Fanning, series creator and executive producer.

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