Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media Complete the Inspired by You Campaign with Over $98 Million Raised, Exceeding Five-Year Goal
Mar 1, 2021
ST. PAUL, Minn., March 1, 2021 – Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and American Public Media (APM) announced today the successful completion of Inspired by You, an ambitious five-year campaign designed to address the rapidly changing digital landscape and make transformative changes to better serve audiences in Minnesota and beyond.
The campaign was launched in the summer of 2015 with the goal of raising $75 million by December 2020. At the completion of the campaign, Inspired by You raised more than $98.3 million in outright and deferred gifts to MPR and APM. The campaign total represents a combination of cash gifts that were immediately invested to transform the organization’s essential public services and planned gift commitments that represent future revenue for the organization.
Over the course of the five years of the Inspired by You campaign, nearly $53 million in cash gifts were invested in new digital programming, technology and innovation, and people with new talent and skills to support this work. Advancements in digital technology and on-demand programming made possible by this support positioned APM and MPR to deepen our relevance and connect with new audiences in new ways, even through a year of unprecedented isolation, remote work, and distance learning.
Planned gift commitments totaling $45.5 million will further strengthen the organization’s endowment for years to come.
“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. “The pandemic and recession of this past year confronted us with the greatest financial challenge in our history. We could not have predicted the final year of Inspired by You would be under these circumstances, but 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. The investments fueled by the Inspired by You campaign proved invaluable in preparing us for this time of unprecedented disruption and distance.”
Leading with facts amidst uncertainty: Launched with support from Inspired by You, the APM Research Lab has informed journalists and news consumers around the globe with important data-backed context to major issues including gun violence, voter analysis, and COVID-19 mortality rates by race. With the Color of Coronavirus project, the Lab was the first outlet to regularly track the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on people of color. Color of Coronavirus has since been cited in Congressional testimony, academic journals, and hundreds of national and international news stories.
Expanding our cultural fluency: APMG’s Director of Equity and Inclusion Nam Provost is leading cultural fluency training as part of the organization’s ongoing work in support of its blueprint for Equity, Inclusion, Diversity & Access (EIDA). With campaign support, cultural fluency trainings and experiences are underway for employees, including the staff of MPR News, who are empowered to apply their learnings in the reporting of communities across Minnesota.
Reaching new communities: As part of efforts to serve more Minnesotans, MPR News – with Inspired by You support – was able to partner with and support former MPR News journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim as he launched Sahan Journal, which covers the stories of Minnesota’s immigrant communities.
Reflecting the communities we serve: Inspired by You allowed for MPR’s Impact & Community Engagement team to conduct a series of listening sessions across Greater Minnesota, providing space for communities of color to share their perspectives on what accurate representation in media would look like to them. The insights garnered from these discussions led to positive impact by inspiring new media narratives, forming new connections, and influencing MPR News content, including its election coverage.
Knowing our audience: Campaign support allowed Classical MPR to identify new ways to introduce young people to classical music. With campaign-backed audience insights guiding its efforts, Classical MPR was able to reach kids and their families through new digital programming and outreach to new communities and educators. This resulted in a significant lowering of the average age of Classical MPR’s listenership.
Revealing injustice: Investigative journalism unit APM Reports was founded with support from Inspired by You. APM Reports’ In the Dark podcast uncovered significant holes in the death row case of Curtis Flowers, a man tried six times for the same crime. After more than 21 years behind bars and on death row, and a Supreme Court reversal supported by the podcast’s findings, Flowers walked free in September 2020.
Innovating for the future: Campaign gifts provided seed funding to open Glen Nelson Center, a media innovation hub and coworking space that identifies, elevates and invests in emerging media and journalism startups led by diverse, visionary founders.
Inspiring the next generation: The Brains On! podcast suite for kids and curious adults has grown to be an award-winning education program, including special series around debate and history, that inspires the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learners. The Brains On! podcast, which has recently launched a Spanish language version, has also received support from the National Science Foundation to study how kids can learn via podcasts.
Expanding digital offerings: Campaign investments were instrumental in launching several new podcasts and APM Studios and vastly expanding our digital offerings in order to better serve diverse audiences who are consuming media in new ways.
Rebuilding the Main Street economy: Campaign funds helped transform Marketplace from a radio broadcast into a robust digital media organization, launching new radio programs and popular podcasts including Make Me Smart, giving audiences new ways to access their favorite Marketplace shows online and on-demand.
Raising awareness about critical issues: Campaign gifts enabled us to launch and contribute to three multi-year, in-depth examinations of topics highly relevant to APM | MPR audiences. The Water Main builds public will around a variety of water issues; Call to Mind fosters new conversations about mental health; and Little Moments Count raises awareness and inspires action related to early childhood brain development.
Fostering new talent: Campaign funds made it possible to hire a new full-time manager for MPR and APM’s Interns & Fellows program and provides salary support for dozens of talented, diverse professionals who are passionate about pursuing careers in public media.
In celebration of the campaign’s success and the generous support of its contributors, MPR and APM marked December 2020 as a Month of Gratitude, which featured a series of remarkable performances, virtual events and special programming including:
Beethoven’s 250th Birthday Bash from Classical MPR
The Current’s virtual music festival Sounds Like Home IV
The Warming House, a new program presented by MPR News and The Current, airing Sundays at 7 p.m.
Call to Mind and MPR News’ In Focus event: Black youth resilience in Minnesota
An interview between MPR News’ Angela Davis and Wesley Morris
“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 APMG. “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. And in turn, this generosity has redefined the role that we as a public media organization play in this transformative time for our country. We have the potential to form connections, introduce new voices, and inspire change – we are so much more than a radio station. This period of national rebuilding is when our public service is needed most.”
More information about the Inspired by You campaign and impact it has made can be found at mpr.org/gratitude.
About American Public Media
American Public Media® (APM) is the national programming and distribution division of American Public Media Group and reaches nearly 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, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, and the leading classical music programs in the nation. APM offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on APM, visit americanpublicmedia.org.
Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio, Nationwide DMA data, Persons 12+, average of Fall ’19 and Spring ’20.
About Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio® (MPR) 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. For more information on MPR, visit minnesotapublicradio.org.
Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio. Data are estimates only.