Foundation Support and Production Funding

The Foundation and Community Development Department secures grant funding for television and radio productions, education and outreach, as well as for equipment and building needs.

Funders who are interested in productions or initiatives are encouraged to contact us to receive details about programs in need of funding.

Current projects include:

Production Support and Production Funding icon

Television (In Production):

The Warrior Tradition

This is a one-hour documentary on the story of the involvement and contribution of Native Americans in the military throughout American history. The project will contain an extensive website and a content-rich educational component.

The Rebirth of a Buffalo Architectural Treasure

The largest and most influential design by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, today the Richardson Olmsted Complex is being reimagined as a cultural destination for the Western New York region. This is a 30-minute broadcast television documentary on the fascinating history, ongoing rehabilitation, and future of Buffalo’s Richardson Olmsted Complex. Corresponding digital components, including digital videos and online educational materials, will allow for increased engagement opportunities.

Funder: Peter C. Cornell Trust

Relationship Violence Awareness

Relationship violence affects one in three adolescents in the U.S., and there are few resources to bring this issue to the forefront of educating children and teens about the danger signs of an unhealthy relationship. To address this issue, WNED PBS will work with the Family Justice Center to create a 30-minute TV program as well as online resources and learning experiences designed for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Funder: West Herr Auto Group

Television (Currently Airing):

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

This national broadcast documentary explores the critical issue of painkiller abuse and addiction. Part of this project includes developing outreach materials which will focus on the issue of prevention for middle and high school students.

Funder: BlueCross Blue Shield Association

The Ralph Wilson Story

This program will share the story of Ralph Wilson, Jr., former owner of the Buffalo Bills and well known philanthropist, in a television documentary celebrating his life, love for football and commitment to the people of both cities.

Co-funder: New Era Cap Co. Inc.


Great Lakes Today

Great Lakes Today, a public radio collaborative, increases coverage of the iconic lakes and the people who live in the region. The initiative develops in-depth reports focused on three areas: use and quality of this freshwater resource, economic importance of the region, and future challenges and opportunities.

Funder: Corporation for Public Broadcasting

WBFO News Desks

As a way to enhance, expand and focus WBFO’s new coverage, the station has established several content specific Desks. Each of these Desks focuses on a specific subject. Current News Desks include: Arts and Culture; Business and Economy; Education; and Health and Wellness. Desks seeking funding: Science and Technology and Military and Veterans.


  • Arts and Culture – Art Services Initiative of Western New York and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
  • Business and Economy News Desk – M&T Charitable Foundation
  • Education – KeyBank Foundation
  • Health and Wellness – BlueCross Blue Shield of Western New York

Digital Projects:

PBS Kids Writers Contest

This national-local contest is designed to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning. The Contest encourages children in grades K-3 in communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original pieces.

Mental Health Initiative

There is a need for better understanding among the general public of the subtleties and significance of mental illness within our community. Through reporting on WBFO, digital video segments on the web and shared on social media, Facebook Live discussions, and the creation of educational tools, we will work to normalize the conversation about mental illness and destigmatize this issue through sustained informational and educational efforts.

Funder: Patrick P. Lee Foundation

Racial Equity

In recent years, Western New York has experienced a significant economic and cultural resurgence, resulting in an increase in some residents’ quality of life. As the city continues to experience this growth, it is imperative to address concerns of racial equity. We envision a Buffalo where everyone has the ability to access, experience, and participate in all that our region has to offer, and to achieve this goal there must be a greater understanding of how the issue of racial equity impacts all of us on a daily basis. Through radio broadcasts, Facebook Live events, and digital content, we will provide substantive and engaging stories and discussions meant to educate the community and collectively search for solutions.

Funder: Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo


Lori Bannister

Sr. Director/Foundation & Community Development


Kelly Sheldon

Manager of Foundation and Community Development

716-845-7000 ext. 352

Previous productions include:

Watch The War of 1812

Rating: TV-PG

The War of 1812

With stunning re-enactments, evocative animation and the incisive commentary of key experts, this national PBS documentary presents the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent.

Funders: The National Endowment for the Humanities; The Wilson Foundation; Warren and Barbara Goldring; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; The Arthur Vining Foundations; Philip B. Lind; The Annenberg Foundation; The Baird Foundation, Niagara Falls Bridge Commission; and The Jackman Foundation.

Watch Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America

Rating: TV-G

Frederick law Olmsted: Designing America

This national PBS documentary explores the life and legacy of America’s greatest landscape architect. The film explores the enormous contributions of Olmsted to the American landscape, as well as his marked failures and loss.

Funders: National Endowments for the Humanities; The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation; HSBC, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation; C.E. and S. Foundation, The Peter C. Cornell Trust; and Mass Humanities.

Watch The Adirondacks

Rating: NR

The Adirondacks

The story of the Adirondacks is told through a series of passionate characters, each with a distinct perspective on its past, present and future. This national PBS program explores this remarkable region and reveals, at its very heart, a delicate and dynamic relationship between progress and preservation.

Funders: The Kevin T. and Betty Ann Keane Family; The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; PBS; Adirondack Council; I Love NY; The Lyme Timer Company; and Ted and Lisa Pierce.

Watch Chautauqua: An American Narrative

Rating: TV-G

Chautauqua: An American Narrative

Over its 135 year history, Chautauqua has been home to an educational, cultural, and recreational renaissance. This four-part series covers the region’s storied history, its prominent figures, and the influences it still holds today.

Funders: The John R. Oishei Foundation. The Erie Insurance Group, Eric and Marianne Laine and the CUTCO Foundation, The Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development and Gary and Willow Brost.

Watch The Canadian Rockies by Rail

Rating: TV-G

Hockey: More Than A Game

This documentary celebrates one of the fastest, most challenging games in the world, relaying its Canadian spirit, traditions and dramatic human stories. Exploring hockey history and culture, this national program offers an insightful look at the game described as “Canada’s gift to the world.”

Funders: New Era Cap Co., Inc.; NOCO; Frank L. Ciminelli Family Foundation; the Consulate General of Canada in Buffalo; and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Watch The Klondike Gold Rush

Rating: TV-PG

The Klondike Gold Rush

Tracking the rise and fall of Canada’s Dawson City, The Klondike Gold Rush details the luck and loss at the heart of the 1896 gold rush. With input from historians and an award-winning author, the program offers a new perspective on the three-year rush and how those years continue to impact the town and its residents.

Funders: The Wilson Foundation, The Cable Public Affairs Channel, with additional funding provided by The Rogers Documentary Fund, and The Rogers Cable Network Fund. With the participation of The Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC and the assistance of The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

Watch Underground Railroad: William Still Story

Rating: TV-PG

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story

In a span of fourteen years, Philadelphia clerk William Still helped nearly eight hundred fugitive slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. Through Still’s diaries and records, his incredible influence as the leader of a string of abolitionist networks is detailed in this hour-long PBS documentary.

Funders: CN Railway, Rogers Cable Network, Canada Media Fund and the Rogers Documentary Fund. Additional support by David W. Pretty, Vernon Achber and Phil Lind, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Watch The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain

Rating: TV-G

The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain

The Shaw Festival, home to one of North America’s most critically-acclaimed theater companies, hosts an annual series of plays at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario this April. The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain takes viewers behind the scenes to see the season’s preparations.

Funders:The John R. Oishei Foundation, Rogers Documentary Fund, and Rogers Cable Network Fund. Additional support from Martha & Tom Hyde, Margaret & Jim Fleck, The William and Nona Heaslip Foundation, The Peter C. Cornell Trust, and Susan B. and Richard V. Lee. With participation from The Government of Canada - The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program and The Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Watch If Our Water Could Talk

Rating: TV-G

If Our Water Could Talk

A WNED PBS docuseries, If Our Water Could Talk examines the issues facing Buffalo’s waterfront—from pollution to conservation and the effects of industrialization—and possible steps to reconnect the community to the Buffalo River.

Funders: HSBC and Honeywell. With additional funding from The Joy Family Foundation, Lawley Insurance and The Baird Foundation.