KERA’s PBS KIDS Commitment Translates to Grant Funding for Existing Services

Posted by Anna McDonald on
A young attendee enjoys a KERA family event
Courtesy KERA

KERA-TV launched more than fifty years ago in Dallas as a children’s education station, and over the last five decades, KERA’s commitment to childhood education has remained steadfast.   With a consistent daytime PBS KIDS schedule, strong online content, extensive tools and resources for parents and educators, and regular educational outreach services to at-risk families, KERA has successfully positioned itself as a valued, visible go-to resource for all local families worthy of community support. 

A Visible Commitment to Children and Families

KERA broadcasts PBS KIDS programs every weekday from 6am-6pm and supplements this schedule with a robust online presence for kids and families on KERA.org. KERA’s dedicated Ready for Life website goes beyond broadcast to support parents, teachers and caregivers, offering online resources and training modules to help them raise children who are socially, physically, and emotionally healthy and ready to succeed in school and in life. KERA complements its Ready for Life commitment with a variety of programs on-the-ground to engage families with PBS KIDS and KERA content, such as the station’s multiyear Fitness and Nutrition initiative, in partnership with AVANCE-Dallas.

KERA’s consistent commitment to children and families proved key in the station’s ability to secure multi-year grant funding for its local PBS KIDS services from The Crystal Charity Ball  a local nonprofit committed to aiding, supporting and making contributions to children's charities in Dallas County. Among other things, The Crystal Charity Ball grant supports two family events each year to serve underserved families.  For most attendees, the KERA events have offered families their first visit to a science museum, zoo, or children’s theater. This testimonial of a mother who attended a KERA event at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science – in partnership with Family Gateway serving homeless families – encapsulates the empowerment these events offer:

“I loved going with my 3 daughters to experience a part of Dallas I have never seen and probably will never get the opportunity again to see. I felt like a kid myself. We went from one amazing room to another learning about snakes and bubbles and my kids loved Curious George and we had a screen that let us fly like eagles and feel like we are in an earthquake and see how a tornado form, I can go on forever. Thank you KERA for allowing myself and my 3 girls to feel like normal regular people and forget for a moment we are homeless and could have NEVER done this. God bless you!”

Keys To Success

KERA attributes the following factors to its success in securing major grant support for its local PBS KIDS programming and services: 

  • Leveraging Board Member connections to granting organizations      
  • Positioning PBS KIDS as a local cause
  • An emphasis on the deep-rooted, existing PBS KIDS service, as opposed to “following the funding”

Internalizing the Value of PBS KIDS

Notably, the success KERA had in securing The Crystal Charity Ball grant for its PBS KIDS services had the incidental benefit of re-energizing KERA staff around the station’s commitment to PBS KIDS.  To earn the Crystal Charity Ball grant required a full and focused team effort, including presenting the case to over 100 people.   Once everyone had “the case” in mind, they saw how to use the bullet points about the value of the children’s service in many other settings.  The pride in the children’s service at KERA thus remains strong, and directly contributed to the station’s ability to earn additional multi-year grants, including grants from the National Recreation Foundation and the Hamon Charitable Foundation.  These funds allow KERA to continue to offer quality educational experiences that positively impact area families and prepare children for success in school and in life.

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