January 10, 2007 08:00 ET

Award-Winning Education Series Goes Nationwide With Help of BP'S Additional $15 Million Commitment

"A Place of Our Own" & "Los Niños en Su Casa" to Air Nationally on PBS Stations Beginning in 2007

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 10, 2007 -- BP America and the BP Foundation have committed more than $15 million to KCET, the west coast flagship station for PBS, to support the national distribution, production, websites and outreach for "A Place of Our Own" and "Los Niños en Su Casa," KCET's Peabody Award-winning series for parents, grandparents and caregivers of preschool age children.

The additional BP grant, motivated by BP's desire to help prepare children to succeed as they enter kindergarten, is the largest single commitment that KCET has received in its 42-year history. BP was one of the original funders of the series with an initial grant of $10 million. For the first two years, the series aired exclusively on California public television stations.

Speaking about the national support for the series, Bob Malone, BP America Chairman and President, said, "'A Place of our Own' and 'Los Niños en Su Casa' have made a remarkable contribution to the lives of young children and caregivers in California. BP's commitment is focused on the objective of ensuring all young people have the same chance at scholastic success. These programs are key to empowering our next generation."

Malone added, "I'm proud that BP's ongoing commitment to education -- from pre-school through college -- will make a difference in the communities where we operate, and will mean the series has the chance to benefit many more children across the country."

Al Jerome, President and CEO of KCET, said, "Research confirms that we are providing important support for those who care for our young children. We are reinforced by the positive response to the series, the workshops and websites. BP's extraordinary funding, along with new support from Corporation for Public Broadcasting and First 5 California, will allow us to reach out to a much wider television audience, impacting child caregivers and parents in communities across the United States."

The national launch of the series is also made possible by a major $3.8 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the authorization by the First 5 California Commission for $6 million over the next three years of production.

"A Place of Our Own" and "Los Niños en Su Casa," and their websites, provide parents and caregivers of young children with information about helping their children develop social, emotional and cognitive skills. Kindergarten teachers estimate that one in three children is unprepared for the challenges of school.

Since its launch in 2004, the show has won recognition from the broadcasting industry, community leaders and childcare experts, including a George Foster Peabody Award and the prestigious Japan Prize.

BP's additional $15 million will underwrite production, as well as an innovative national outreach program developed by KCET to create community engagement throughout the United States. As part of the plan, KCET will develop special support teams to reach out and help individual stations facilitate community awareness of the series through workshops, events and caregiver acknowledgements.

BP: BP is one of the world's largest energy companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services, renewable and alternative energy sources, and petrochemical products for everyday items. BP America employs more than 37,000 in the United States. BP's family of brands includes Amoco, Aral, ARCO, BP and Castrol. More information about BP America can be found at

BP Foundation: The BP Foundation is a non-profit charitable foundation funded through gifts from BP. It supports educational institutions and programs of other non-profit organizations in communities where BP operates.

KCET: KCET, the West Coast flagship station of PBS, is public television for southern and central California. KCET is watched by four million viewers a week in 11 counties, the largest broadcast reach of any public television station in the United States. The station also serves as a content provider for national and regional PBS member stations.

Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has garnered hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, and its outreach and community services. Series produced from the station's Hollywood studios include "Life & Times," "Visiting with Huell Howser," "California Connected," "Tavis Smiley" and "A Place of Our Own"/"Los Niños en Su Casa."

About the Series: " Place of Our Own" and "Los Niños en Su Casa" are produced as part of KCEd™, the education initiative at KCET. Since the series launch, viewing studies conducted have shown that 80 percent of participants report increased knowledge in tested areas such as managing aggressive child behavior, sharing and the importance of learning through play, as well as changes in their own attitudes and behavior as childcare providers. More information is available on the series' extensive websites and

"A Place of Our Own" and "Los Niños en Su Casa" are produced by KCET, in association with Sesame Workshop. The series are also produced in association with 44 Blue Productions Inc. Stephanie Drachkovitch and Mary Mazur are executive producers. Joyce Campbell is executive in charge of production.

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