WGBH Unveils $175M Capital Campaign to Advance Mission

November 2, 2018 — The WGBH Educational Foundation, a Boston nonprofit that operates WGBH television and radio and is the largest producer of content for the Public Broadcasting Service, yesterday announced that it is conducting a five-year, $175 million-dollar capital campaign, the largest ever for a public media organization.

The WGBH Educational Foundation said the campaign will support expansion of its base of philanthropic support "to meet the challenges of the digital age and advance WGBH’s mission in education and children’s media, journalism, science, history, culture and drama."

“Serving our public media mission in the dynamic digital landscape means having flexibility to seize new opportunities, invest in research and development, and leverage new tools to empower our visionary storytellers, journalists and producers,” said Jon Abbott, President and CEO of WGBH. “Strengthening our financial future will advance WGBH as a media innovator and trusted provider of honest, educational content that includes and empowers all of our citizens.”

To date, $122 million has been raised from individual and institutional donors.

WGBH completed five previous major campaigns, in 1982, 1986, 1989, 1996 and 2003, according to a report in the Boston Business Journal, with the two most recent campaigns raising $43 million and $64 million, respectively.

With the unveiling of the public phase of the newest campaign, called Campaign for WGBH: Leadership in the Digital Century, WGBH is expanding its effort to garner wider participation as it aims to complete the campaign by the end of 2020.

“One of the goals of the campaign is to reach new generations of philanthropists to help sustain and create compelling content that supports an informed citizenry and ultimately a strong democracy,” added Rick Burnes, chair of the board of trustees and campaign co-chair.

As digital innovations transform media habits and platforms, WGBH said it want to provide content to audiences through emerging technologies, streaming video and audio podcasting, partnerships with leading digital platforms, and expanded online education resources.

Through its Emerging Platforms Initiative, WGBH said it is seeking to experiment with new forms of storytelling to expand audiences via new formats, including app-based services and social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Snapchat.

WGBH is also developing new tools for the classroom to support a level playing field for learning. A partnership with PBS has built PBS LearningMedia, a next-generation digital media platform designed to help re-imagine classroom learning, transform teaching, and more creatively engage students.

The WGBH Educational Foundation made its first radio broadcast 1951 and first television broadcast in 1955. The station's call sign—WGBH— refers to Great Blue Hill in Milton, the original site for WGBH-TV's transmitter and from where WGBH radio currently transmits. It also owns PBS stations WGBX-TV in Boston and WGBY-TV in Springfield and public radio stations WGBH and WCRB in the Boston area, and WCAI (and satellites WZAI and WNAN) in Cape Cod.