Lead Gift from Darlene Shiley is $5 Million Toward $20 Million Goal
Boston, MA (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. The Challenge Fund is an initiative of The Campaign for WGBH, a $175 million capital campaign scheduled to be completed by 2020.
“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.
‘For almost fifty years, MASTERPIECE has been a flagship program of WGBH, beloved by public television audiences in Boston and across the country,” said Jon Abbott, President and CEO of WGBH. “Darlene’s tremendous generosity will support the series for years to come as part of an ongoing fund for the future.”
About MASTERPIECEWinner of 83 Primetime Emmys® and 16 Peabody Awards, MASTERPIECE has been essential Sunday night viewing for millions of fans since 1971. Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer of the series. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust. Presented on PBS by WGBH Boston, MASTERPIECE is known for recent hits such as Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Victoria, and beloved classics such as Upstairs Downstairs, Prime Suspect, The Forsyte Saga and Poldark.
About the Campaign for WGBH: Leadership in the Digital CenturyThe Campaign is a five-year, $175 million-dollar capital campaign aimed at expanding WGBH’s base of philanthropic support to meet the challenges of the digital age and advance WGBH’s mission in children and youth educational media, journalist, science, and history, art and culture. About WGBHWGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including MASTERPIECE, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH,
Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys®, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars®. Find more information at wgbh.org.