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Grant Center 2016: Year in Review

February 27, 2017

Each year, public television and public radio stations across the country work hard to secure federal and foundation grant funding for exciting projects and initiatives. The Grant Center for Public Media knows that most development teams, no matter how big or small, could use an extra pair of hands or additional insight. At the Grant Center, we provide our members with the tools, resources and expertise to facilitate grant success. Here is a review of the resources and services our members had access to during 2016.

Connecting You with the Key Federal Funders for Public Media

Our fifth annual analysis of federal grants to public media for 2016 revealed $49.2 million in grants to public media in addition to CPB funding, an increase of 13 percent over 2015. Of this total, the top three agencies by giving to public media (excluding the Department of Education’s Ready To Learn funding) were the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a trend consistent with previous years. While federal grant applications are famously challenging, they are not impossible, as many of our intrepid stations have proven. The key is knowing the best program and approach for your project. In 2016, the Grant Center invited decision makers from NSFNEH and NEA to meet with you on webinars to take your questions and offer tips about how to write successful grants. We remain in conversation with these agencies year-round to keep you up-to-date on funding trends, educate program officers about your work and make sure that your questions get answered! These webinars and more are available on-demand for current members.

Our Research Helps You Identify Most Fundable Projects in the Foundation World – and Top Foundations to Approach

As we did when the first report was released, in July 2016, the Grant Center shared information from a joint Media Impact Funders/Foundation Center study that found $5.5 billion in foundation funding to media projects between 2009 and 2013. Later in the year, we took a deep dive into the study’s data, identifying over $697 million in funding to public media in the study’s five media project categories and highlighting the top funders to public media in each of these categories. Needless to say, this is big money. We developed resources to help our members take advantage of these opportunities, including a step-by-step guide to successful foundation funding, a special session at PMDMC in Boston and a webinar focused of providing tips for better grantseeking and relationship-building. We also share best practices that we learn from you, as we did in our recent success story of a station that secured an annually recurring grant that helped them develop an adult education program. And of course, we’ve remained focused on providing high-quality custom prospect research services to help your station find the best foundation funding prospects for its projects.

We also continue to develop and update funding guides based on the development priorities of our members, including:

Taking the Long View: Sharing Funding Trends

We are vigilant in responding to what research is showing us is important in the funding world by providing resources our members need to take advantage of these opportunities. But we are also identifying long-term trends that will impact stations so that your planning and partnership conversations can begin today and your project will be ready when a grant competition opens.

  • In February 2016, we looked at President Obama’s final budget and where funding will exist for public broadcasters later in the year.
  • In June 2016, Allyson Knox from Microsoft spoke with our members about computer science education and how stations can take advantage of this policy direction through programming and convening services.
  • Of course, we have also kept our eyes open for new opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by exploring the trend of social-emotional learning and helping stations learn about the family engagement plan under ESSA.

While we are busy planning more services like these over the current year, we also want to do what we can to respond to the specific needs of our members. We are excited to hear more about your station’s development priorities and initiatives so we can help your station fulfill its mission through grant funding in 2017. To learn more about how we work together or to fill us in on a new need at your station, visit, or contact Meegan White and Anthony Collebrusco


The Grant Center Announces a 2017-2018 Webinar Series on Evaluation
Learn more and register for our three-part evaluation webinar series.
Through the Looking Glass: Distribution and Reflections
Date and time TBA. The final webinar in our evaluation series will help attendees understand how to communicate their impact to potential funders.


Read the Grant Center's October 2017 newsletter.
Read the Grant Center's September 2017 newsletter.