Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s educational media organization behind Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, and Peg + Cat, has secured a two-year $600,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) for its newest series, Alma’s Way and Donkey Hodie. AVDF’s mission is to support institutions it views as pillars of American society, and Fred Rogers Productions is one of a few producers of public media receiving continued support.
The newest series in Fred Rogers Productions’ slate, Alma’s Way and Donkey Hodie launched in 2021 with critical acclaim and popularity among viewers. Alma’s Way and Donkey Hodie focus on core messages and learning goals to support children as they develop things like problem-solving skills, resilience, empathy, and other life skills. Both properties have since developed successful educational digital games, landed major book deals and licensing partnerships, and were each nominated for Emmy Awards in their first seasons. Season Two for both will premiere later this year on PBS KIDS.
“The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations is one of the nation’s foremost patrons of public media for viewers of all ages and a valued supporter of Fred Rogers Productions,” said Paul Siefken, president and CEO, Fred Rogers Productions. “Their funding enables us to provide a range of innovative and enriching programming to children and families every day.”
“By working with Fred Rogers Productions, we are supporting the very best in children’s media,” said Michael Murray, president and CEO, AVDF. “The company continues to lead the way with quality content that fills the gap and raises the bar in educational and prosocial children’s programming, and we’re delighted to help ensure that Alma’s Way and Donkey Hodie remain sources of learning and growth for young viewers.”
Alma’s Way follows 6-year-old Alma Rivera, a proud, confident Puerto Rican girl who lives in the Bronx with her family among a diverse group of close-knit friends and community members. In every episode, Alma models self-awareness, responsible decision-making, and empathy, while encouraging kids to develop critical thinking skills and value their own ideas and questions. The series is created by Sonia Manzano (“Maria” on Sesame Street), and produced by Fred Rogers Productions in association with Pipeline Studios (Elinor Wonders Why). Ellen Doherty and Manzano are executive producers. Jorge Aguirre (Goldie & Bear) is head writer and co-executive producer. Additional co-executive producers are Luis Lopez and Juan Lopez. Supervising Producer for Fred Rogers Productions is Olubunmi Mia Olufemi.
Inspired by characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Donkey Hodie is an imaginative puppet series that follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic and charming go-getter who takes on each day with curiosity and resilience, and her pals Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. Set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else, the series is designed to empower children ages 3-5 to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, work hard and persevere in the face of failure, be resourceful, and discover they can solve problems on their own—and laugh themselves silly along the way. Donkey Hodie is produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures. The series is created by Adam Rudman and David Rudman of Spiffy Pictures and developed by Ellen Doherty, chief creative officer of Fred Rogers Productions. Executive producers are Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman. Supervising Producer for Fred Rogers Productions is Kristin DiQuollo, and Caroline Bandolik serves as Supervising Producer for Spiffy Pictures.