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For immediate release
January 13, 2003
NPR: Laura Gross
MacArthur: Sarah Holt

NPR Receives $14 Million from MacArthur Foundation
$4 Million for Endowment Support, $10 Million for News/Public Affairs Programming

WASHINGTON -The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded a $14 million grant to NPRŽ, the nation's leading provider of news, information and entertainment programming to public radio stations. This is the largest grant in NPR's 32-year history, coming at a critical juncture as NPR expands domestic operations with the opening of NPR West and increases its commitment to international reporting.

"This extraordinary, historic commitment by the MacArthur Foundation, a supporter of NPR and public radio since 1985, gives NPR enormous new reserves, at a crucial time, to carry us forward and expand our service," said Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO. "Over the years, MacArthur Foundation has been NPR's most generous funder, with contributions totaling more than $31 million including this latest grant. The NPR Board, staff and the 714 public radio stations broadcasting NPR programming are deeply appreciative of MacArthur's visionary commitment to community-based nonprofit public broadcasting in the US."

Of the $14 million grant, $4 million will be given immediately to the NPR Endowment Fund for Excellence, which was established to help ensure NPR's long-term financial stability, continued innovation and ability to take full advantage of new opportunities. This is the MacArthur Foundation's second gift to the NPR Endowment; they provided a $3 million challenge grant in 1999. The grant announced today brings the NPR Endowment to a total of more than $32 million in gifts and pledges.

The remaining $10 million in general operating funds, given over the next 10 years, will provide essential support for NPR's award-winning reporting on domestic and international issues and public affairs. Over the years, NPR has devoted considerable resources to foreign news coverage, and not only in times of crisis. International news constitutes one-third of NPR's total news coverage-considerably more than most commercial network news. On the home front, NPR's domestic reporting explores issues ranging from education to the environment, from health policy to neighborhood development and housing, in addition to ongoing coverage of politics and public affairs.

"From its founding just over 30 years ago, NPR has established itself as one of the most important sources of news and public affairs programming available to the American public and to listeners throughout the world," said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. "Good information is critical to a well-functioning democracy, all the more so as citizens confront complex issues of domestic and international policy. NPR is a reliable source of objective information and thoughtful analysis which places American issues and interests in a worldwide context."

NPR's service to the nation during the 9-11 crisis and the months that followed inspired a phenomenal gain of four million listeners to public radio almost overnight. With a weekly audience of nearly 20 million listeners, NPR programming today reaches more people than the combined circulation of the top 35 U.S. newspapers. On the Web, is growing quickly, now registering 2.5 million users and logging more than six million accessed audio files each month. This growth is a giant step forward in NPR's mission to provide news and cultural experiences to as many citizens as possible, as economically as possible.

In 2002, NPR received several major awards. Its extended coverage of 9-11 and its aftermath was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award, an Overseas Press Club Award and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. In addition, NPR's weekly Jazz Profiles with host Nancy Wilson won a George Foster Peabody Award, underscoring our cultural programming strength.

Since its founding 32 years ago, NPR has won 39 George Foster Peabody Awards, 18 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, 14 Overseas Press Club Awards and virtually every other major award in journalism for news and cultural programming. In 2000, NPR received America's highest arts award, the National Medal of Arts. It was the first media organization to receive this award since Congress established it in 1984.

Two other notable distinctions were bestowed on NPR recently. The January 2003 month's issue of Worth magazine saluted NPR as one of the 100 most effective charities in the country (out of America's total of 800,000 non-profits) and, once again, The Chronicle of Philanthropy included NPR in its Philanthropy 400.

NPR is a private, non-profit organization supported almost entirely by its member stations and private contributions. NPR member stations provide approximately half of NPR's $100 million operating revenues. Private foundations and corporate sponsors contribute most of the balance. NPR receives no direct, general operating support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or any national or local government source. Competitive, special project grants from federally funded entities such as the CPB, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts typically account for less than 2% of NPR's revenues in any given year. Public radio stations receive an average of 13% of their revenue from the CPB.

Today, NPR serves a growing audience in the United States through 714 public radio stations and on the Web at It also serves audiences in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide; is heard at military installations overseas via American Forces Network; and reaches Japan via cable. Headquartered in Washington, DC, NPR includes more than 35 bureaus and offices throughout the world and NPR West, a new production center in Los Angeles. More than 700 people work at NPR, including 28 people on its foreign affairs desk.

The MacArthur Foundation, which marks its 25th anniversary in 2003, announced special grants today, with the $14 million grant to NPR being the largest grant in a series of grants totaling $42 million. Among them were grants totaling $21.5 million in support of arts and cultural institutions in Chicago, the Foundation's hometown. Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, and its public television station, WTTW, each received grants of $500,000. MacArthur awarded grants of $1 million each to the World Resources Institute, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Global Fund for Women and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. In Florida, where the MacArthurs lived for many years, local organizations have been given a total of $2.5 million in grant support in honor of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via 714 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information. NPR's several hundred awards include a 2000 National Medal of Arts.

One of the nation's ten largest private philanthropic foundations, MacArthur has awarded more than $3 billion in grants since it began operations in 1978, and today has assets of approximately $4 billion. The Foundation believes its grantmaking is most effective when focused upon a relatively few areas of work, combined with sufficient resources over a long enough period of time to make a measurable difference. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of new knowledge, nourishes individual creativity, helps strengthen institutions, participates in the formation of effective policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.

The Foundation makes grants through four programs. The Program on Human and Community Development supports organizations focused upon issues primarily affecting the United States, including community development, regional policy, housing, public education, juvenile justice, and mental health policy. The Program on Global Security and Sustainability supports organizations focused upon issues primarily related to international issues, including peace and security, conservation and sustainable development, population and reproductive health, human rights, the economic consequences of globalization, and initiatives in Russia and Nigeria, particularly concerning improving higher education. The General Program supports public interest media, including public radio and television, and the production of independent documentary films; it also makes occasional large institutional grants. The MacArthur Fellows Program awards five-year, unrestricted fellowships to individuals across all ages and fields who show exceptional merit and the promise of continued creative work.

John D. MacArthur (1897-1978) developed and owned Bankers Life and Casualty Company and other businesses, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife Catherine (1909-1981) held positions in many of these companies and served as a director of the Foundation.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.