MPR Announces Capital Campaign to Make Transformative Investments to Deepen and Expand Its Public Service

Feb 28, 2018

Ambitious campaign – “Inspired by You” – slated to raise $75 million over five years

St. Paul, Minn., February 28, 2018 – As it begins its next 50 years of public service, Minnesota Public Radio has embarked on an ambitious capital campaign to invest in new programming, talented people, new technology, innovation and endowment that will enable it to serve more people who are consuming media in new ways. The campaign, “Inspired by You,” is slated to raise $75 million by 2020 and, to date, has raised $63.4 million. 

Emerging digital technologies are fueling a media revolution that’s upending much of traditional broadcasting and journalism, to which MPR must respond. This campaign will address the demand for trusted content available anytime on an ever-expanding array of platforms and devices.

“Change has been a constant in our first 50 years and it continues to drive our innovation in the digital age,” said Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of Minnesota Public Radio. “Our commitment to being an essential service for our changing audiences and communities compels us to make significant transformational investments, now, so we can serve more people in more ways. We’re making investments in three areas – people with new talents, new programming, and new technology. This campaign is fueling the big changes that will ensure our future.”

Funds Already at Work

The “Inspired by You” campaign already has supported more than $15 million in new work at Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media (APM) over the past three years, including investments in MPR News and Marketplace to expand journalism, especially on digital channels, and new storytelling, sense-making and civil discussions. The campaign has helped launch the new investigative journalism group, APM Reports, a team that recently earned a Peabody Award and a Murrow Award for the In The Dark podcast series. 

Early campaign gifts are also amplifying the reach and impact of APM’s award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults, Brains On!, and exploring compelling ways to inspire a whole new generation to love great music through broadcast, in-person experiences and digital channels, including creating new kinds of online content.

“We are expanding Classical MPR for audiences who have listened for decades, and we’re investing in new services from The Current for audiences who are the youngest listeners in all of public radio,” McTaggart said. “We’re working with partners across the state to help make Minnesota a place where more musicians and artists want to live and make their living.”

As the “Inspired by You” campaign succeeds, MPR will increase its focus on issues most important to Minnesotans. Through multi-year, multi-channel initiatives focused on the topics of water, mental health and early childhood development, MPR will measurably raise the public’s awareness and understanding of these complex issues through new reporting, storytelling, events, podcasts, cultural programming and online activities.

Donor investments in the campaign are funding a dedicated innovation center, the Glen Nelson Center, to invest in entrepreneurial ventures that serve new and diverse audiences while strengthening public media. Investing in a belief that trusted content comes from credible research and analysis, campaign gifts have established the APM Research Lab and Analyst Group. Because an important part of MPR’s future is the ability to attract, nurture and retain diverse talent, campaign funds also are building a new, organization-wide internship and fellowship program.

Early Support Generates Success

Led by MPR trustees, Brad Anderson, Ian Friendly and Rick King, the campaign launched in late 2015 and is currently in the Leadership Phase, raising $63.4 million to date in outright gifts, planned gifts, and pledges. Lead gifts include a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor, and 20 gifts and grants of at least $1 million from individuals and foundations including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations.  Members of the MPR Board of Trustees have already pledged and given more than $24 million.

“Throughout our history, our listeners have believed in what we’re doing and have expressed their confidence in us through their generous and sustaining support,” McTaggart said. “Our audiences inspire us every day. So, as we look to the future, we’re inspired by all those who have helped build MPR into what it is, today, and by those who will help transform MPR’s essential public service for the next 50 years. That’s what this campaign is all about.”

MPR leaders hope to raise the remaining $11.6 million in cash and pledges by the end of 2020 to achieve campaign priorities and accelerate MPR’s strategic plan. Learn more about the campaign at


About Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio® operates a 46-station radio network serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states. Reaching more than 1 million listeners each week, MPR and its three regional services—MPR News, Classical MPR and The Current®—produce programming for radio, digital and live audiences. Programs produced by MPR’s national programming division, American Public Media®, reach more than 20 million listeners via 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, Live from Here, The Splendid Table, and the leading classical music programming in the nation. APM also offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on MPR, visit For more information on APM, visit

Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio. Data are estimates only