Today, we announced an inspiring investment in our work: $17 million in grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, Ford Foundation and individual philanthropists.
These grants will both deepen and extend NPR's coverage of key issues, and support work by NPR and six Member Stations to reimagine the public radio experience for digital listening. It's transformative work that will empower audiences to experience public radio however they want it - delivering news, music, culture, insights and ideas to tens of millions in words, images and sounds.
In choosing to support public radio, these organizations and individuals - like the millions of listeners who become station members each year - are standing solidly behind the quality of NPR's journalism, our strategy for innovation and our future vision. They understand the importance of the role NPR plays in today's media environment, and in defining the culture of the country. And, they know how far their support will go.
To put today's announcement in context, here's what $17 million has bought other investors over the past year or so:
- A forged Jackson Pollock painting
- Four ads during the 2013 Super Bowl
- Taylor Swift's new house in Rhode Island (she paid cash)
- Bachhanal Buffet at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
- A severance package for former American Airlines CEO Thomas Horton
- Half of Crocodile Dundee's (officially Paul Hogan) missing assets
- Half of a U.S. military base in Afghanistan (that the Pentagon won't be using)
But, as mentioned earlier, $17 million in funding to NPR and our Member Stations will fuel all of these projects:
- A new platform that will better connect you with the NPR and local programming you love, and shape the future of public media journalism. With this investment, NPR and Member Stations will continue to build a cohesive listening experience for news, arts and culture, transforming public radio for the next generation.
- Expanded coverage of education, and global health and economic development, two areas at the heart of some of the world's most significant challenges for the future. NPR will build strong, distinctive voices on these topics — offering depth and authority.
- More Code Switch, the news unit covering race, ethnicity and culture, that brought you the Bro-Map. That means more of the thoughtful, sometimes uncomfortable dialogue, about issues touching all of our lives.
This considerable $17 million is more than just a number. It's a stake in our future. It's an exciting opportunity to appreciate the hands (and mics) that have helped us get where we are today and to really help us build a vibrant public media for the next generation. This means local and national reporting that meets audiences where they are listening, reading, watching, dancing and living. And even more stories that inspire, surprise, delight and perhaps in some cases challenge what you know and what we know.
Perhaps you could even call it a two-for-one match.
Anna Bross, Emily Hellewell and NPR Broadcast Librarian Lauren Sin contributed to this post.
Editor's Note: This post was updated on January 3, 2014.