Arthur Vining Davis Foundations: Grants for Film

OVERVIEW: The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations make grants for film in the area of public broadcasting only.

IP TAKE: The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations funding for film grants is very narrow; Davis only supports the production of shows to be broadcast on PBS or a similar high-quality distributor.

PROFILE: Founded in 1952, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations were established under a living trust by Arthur Vining Davis. The foundations support the production of "programs of enduring value on subjects such as history and science" that are guaranteed to be aired nationally on PBS or a similar high-quality distributor. These grants are to "provide partial support for major series with lasting educational value that are assured of national airing by PBS." Occasionally the foundation considers single, stand-alone programs of "exceptional merit."

The foundation funds film grants through the Public Educational Media grantmaking program. These are usually between $250,000 to $400,000. The foundation prioritizes projects that propose: a children's series “focused on literacy, character development, or science;” educating the public through programs with “enduring value;” and using “technology to enhance community outreach and educational use in classrooms.” These grants are intended to be capstone grants to complete production of a series.

Programs whose primary purpose is advocacy, topical news coverage, or entertainment are not likely to secure funding, nor are programs that try to influence elections or legislation. Past recipients of Arthur Vining Davis grants include WGBH – Nova: Mystery of the Monster Black Holes, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a children’s literacy program for PBS which helps "children develop skills that are the building blocks of school readiness, mental health, and character development."

There are no deadlines for proposals for these grants and applications may be submitted at any time. Grant seekers can visit the grantee portal to submit a proposal directly.  

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