Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s entertainment company, has secured one million dollars in grant funding from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) to support the production of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood as well as the launch of two new PBS KIDS series, Donkey Hodie, which premiered on 3 May, and Alma’s Way, coming this fall.
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.
Fred Rogers Productions president and CEO Paul Siefken said, “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, 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 long standing partnership.”
AVDF president and CEO Michael Murray commented, “Public media sets the standard for excellent children’s programming, and Fred Rogers Productions continues to be a leader in this space. 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.”
Here’s the official synopsis of the series:
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood centers on four-year-old Daniel Tiger, who invites viewers to join him and his friends on their adventures as they explore the colorful Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Irresistible musical strategies reinforce the unique theme of each episode.
The executive producers of the popular animated series are Angela Santomero, Ellen Doherty, Paul Siefken, and Vince Commisso.
Donkey Hodie is set in the whimsical world of Someplace Else. The imaginative puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, a “can-do” yellow donkey, and her pals Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. The show features new original music, along with reimagined versions of Fred Rogers’ songs, that underscores the stories’ positive messages.
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 Ellen Doherty, Paul Siefken. Executive producers are Ellen Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman.
Alma’s Way follows six-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 are currently in production are 40 half-hour episodes. Executive producers are Sonia Manzano and Ellen Doherty.