Two public media companies are celebrating the successful competition of a five-year, multimillion dollar fundraising campaign that worked to transform public radio in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and American Public Media (APM) announced the successful completion of “Inspired by You,” a campaign designed to better serve audiences in Minnesota by making some transformative changes to public radio.
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The campaign, which launched in summer 2015 and had a goal of raising $75 million by December 2020, passed that goal by raising $98.3 million in all. The funds raised were a combination of cash gifts and planned gift commitments to help transform the organizations’ public service priorities.
“The ‘Inspired by You’ campaign has changed our trajectory as a media organization and accelerated our progress toward being a more equitable, inclusive, diverse and accessible public service,” said Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media Group.
Even through the pandemic and recession, “the extraordinary gifts from individuals and institutions enabled us to invest in new ways of connecting with larger and more diverse audiences and with each other,” McTaggart said.
MPR and APR used $53 million in cash gifts to invest in new digital programming, technology and innovation efforts. According to the organizations, advancements in digital technology and on-demand programming have positioned the two organizations to deepen their relevance and connect with audiences in new ways. Planned gift comments that totaled $45.5 million will further strengthen the organization’s endowment.
The impact of the “Inspired by You” campaign has served audiences in many ways including expanding investigative journalism projects and better reflecting audiences in Minnesota. Specifically, campaign support allowed Classical MPR to identify new ways to introduce young people to classical music while the opening of the Glen Nelson Center, an innovation hub and co-working space, worked to boost diversity in Minnesota media.
The funding also allowed the organizations to raise awareness about critical issues impacting APM and MPR audiences through programs like The Water Main, which focuses on a variety of water issues, and the program “Call to Mind,” which fosters new conversations about mental health. Funding also allowed the organizations to increase media coverage of key issues including a program called “Color of Coronavirus,” which calculates the disproportionate effect that COVID-19 was having on people of color.
“I am amazed and humbled by the generosity we’ve seen since launching ‘Inspired by You’ five years ago,” said Randi Yoder, senior vice president and chief development officer of APM. “This is a recognition by our community and funders across the nation of the importance of public media in our daily lives and longevity of its mission.” In turn, Yoder said, this generosity allowed APM to redefine the role that a public media organization can play.
“We have the potential to form connections, introduce new voices, and inspire change — we are so much more than a radio station,” Yoder said. “This period of national rebuilding is when our public service is needed most.”