Minnesota Public Radio Awarded $250,000 by Otto Bremer Trust to Enhance Cultural Fluency and Broaden Community Engagement

Nov 2, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 2, 2020 — Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the Otto Bremer Trust to build on work being done at MPR to increase cultural fluency within the organization and support new and expanded engagement with Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities across Minnesota. This project, entitled Minnesota Diverse Communities, will contribute to transforming how MPR advances its mission – to enrich the mind and nourish the spirit – by looking inward and improving cultural fluency of its staff, and in turn, better serving diverse communities across Minnesota.

“We are immensely grateful for this grant and know it will be an important contributor in moving us forward on this journey,” said Duchesne Drew, MPR President. “The past year has been a stark reminder that MPR has a lot more work to do, starting within our own organization, to be more equitable, more diverse and more inclusive. Our audiences deserve storytelling that is authentic, accurate, and representative of their experiences. This generous grant from the Otto Bremer Trust will enable us to strengthen our own cultural fluency and produce content that is meaningful to our communities.”

In partnership with a group of Minnesota-based community organizations, MPR began laying the groundwork for this transformative work in 2019 with the planning and implementation of the Truth & Transformation: Changing Racial Narratives in Media conference, which helped Minnesota media members uncover their own racial bias and assumptions, while amplifying community solutions to change the narrative. As a part of Truth & Transformation, MPR conducted listening sessions in communities throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. As these listening sessions continue, the Otto Bremer Trust grant allows MPR to expand and build sustainable community engagement.

The Otto Bremer Trust grant will make it possible for MPR to facilitate additional listening sessions, with a special emphasis on deepening connections with – and understanding of – communities that have been largely underrepresented in media coverage. By sharing their perspectives and lived experiences,  participants in these listening sessions will help MPR provide more relevant and accurate reporting on issues that affect BIPOC communities. These listening sessions will be held virtually and will be planned in cooperation with local community partners.

American Public Media Group’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, Nam Provost, will engage MPR staff in continued cultural fluency training as part of the organization’s ongoing work in support of its blueprint for Equity, Inclusion, Diversity & Access (EIDA). The training will focus on racial equity, organizational culture, and specific training for newsroom staff.


About the Otto Bremer Trust
The Otto Bremer Trust is a bank holding company and a private charitable trust based in Saint Paul, Minn., that works at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. Created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, it is today one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations and is committed to supporting a better quality of life for residents of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. OBT is the majority owner of Bremer Financial Corporation, a regional financial services company, and manages a diversified investment portfolio. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $805 million in people, places, and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Visit ottobremer.org for more information, including a list of grants and program-related investments.

About Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio® operates a 46-station radio network serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states for more than 50 years. 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®, 17 million listeners via approximately 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, and produces award-winning podcasts spanning the best in investigative journalism, food, business and entertainment.

For more information on MPR, visit minnesotapublicradio.org

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