Fred Rogers Productions was awarded $1 million in grant funding from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) to support production of its shows Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Donkey Hodie (which premiered May 3), and Alma’s Way, which premieres this fall.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has become a favorite for preschoolers and parents since debuting in 2012, with stories centering on 4-year-old Daniel Tiger and his friends as they explore their Neighborhood of Make-Believe and sing songs highlighting the theme of each episode. Producers on the animated series include Angela Santomero, Chief Creative Officer at 9 Story Media Group; Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer at Fred Rogers Productions; and Vince Commisso, President & CEO of 9 Story Media Group.
Donkey Hodie is a new puppet series inspired by characters from the original Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, featuring new original music along with reimagined versions of Fred Rogers’ Songs. Now in production on 40 half-hour episodes, Donkey Hodie is created by Adam Rudman and David Rudman, co-founders of Spiffy Pictures, and developed by Doherty. Executive producers are Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman.
Donkey Hodie is the new series inspired by characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Alma’s Way is the eagerly-awaited show created by Sonia Manzano, known to generations of viewers as “Maria” on Sesame Street.
Alma’s Way — created by Sonia Manzano, who portrayed Maria on Sesame Street — follows 6-year-old Alma Rivera, a Puerto Rican girl who lives in the Bronx with her family among a diverse group of friends and community members. She encourages kids to develop critical thinking skills by valuing their own ideas and questions. 40 half-hour episodes are currently in production and executive producers are Manzano and Doherty.
“The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have been a valued, longtime champion of Fred Rogers Productions and public media, and we are very grateful for their support,” said Paul Siefken, President and CEO, Fred Rogers Productions. “The Foundations have helped us reach children with engaging, educational, and pro-social content that positively impacts their lives every day, and we are happy to continue our longstanding partnership.”
“Public media sets the standard for excellent children’s programming, and Fred Rogers Productions continues to be a leader in this space,” said AVDF President and CEO, Michael Murray. “We are proud to support this high-quality programming that advances the social and emotional well-being of children, and also contributes to their appreciation of diversity and inclusion.”