PACIFICA GOES FOR THE BIG BUCKS
by Jeffrey Blankfort
The following (which was posted to the FreeKpfa list at its inception) might help to explain what is happening in KPFA and in other Pacifica stations across the country. This report appeared in Pacifica's "A Strategy for National Programming" that was prepared for the Pacifica National Board in September, 1992. It was followed by a chart showing the status of funding applications for $250,000 or more to the Pew Charitable Trust, the Ford Foundation, and the John and Catherine MacArthur Fund. It was written by current Pacifica Development Director Dick Bunce.
It should be noted that the Pew Charitable Trust, which was one of the Big Three foundations solicited by Pacifica is well-known as a funder of such right-wing operations as Herman Kahn's Hudson Institute, for many years a major force in planning US nuclear warfare strategy, as well as the ultra-right Heritage Foundation, the Inst. for Contemporary Studies, a Bay Area based right- wing "think tank," and the Center for International Private Enterprise.
None of this should be surprising, since as late as 1990, Pew's stated goals were "renewing the program's commitment to its historic values: democracy and the FREE-ENTERPRISE system, values critical toward shaping A NEW WORLD ORDERI A key thrust of the reformulated program has been to develop new strategies to support the development of free markets linked to free political institutions at home and abroad." Among its religious goals is "developing CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP for sub-Saharan Africa."
Not a word of Pacifica's attempts to get huge sums from Pew and other large foundations was reported to the listeners of its five stations. In fact, when the issue was raised by Programmer Maria Gilardin and myself at the Pacifica Board meeting in January. 1993 and on futile call-in efforts to KPFA, David Salniker, then Pacifica Director and Station Manager Pat Scott, now Pacifica Director, acted as is they were being accused of soliciting funds directly from corporations, and denied any such nefarious activity was going on.
Not surprisingly, given its radical reputation, Pacifica's first attempt to gain funds from these folks was unsuccessful. Perhaps, the latest shift to the mainstream is designed to show the likes of Pew that Pacifica has begun to "clean up its act."
(ALL CAPITALIZATION HAS BEEN ADDED FOR EMPHASIS)
This following is transcript of the original Pacifica document:
APPENDIX FOUNDATION GRANTSEEKING National Programming Assumption for Foundation Fundraising
The national foundation grantmaking arena has changed enough in recent years to make activity in this arena potentially worthwhile -- FOR ORGANIZATIONS PREPARED TO BE BE PLAYERS AND PARTNERS ON THE SAME FIELD AS NPR, APR, maybe some others. Partners, as in DEVELOPING A TRUSTING WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GRANTOR AND GRANTEE, which is open to evaluation and candor, and grows over time in understanding and level of support.
The foundation funding of interest is in gifts of $100,000 or more a year, for several years. (Smaller grants - especially those under $25,000, are levels more efficiently sought from individual funders.) Impact, innovation and parity would appear to be the three most important determinants of attractiveness to the grant makers.
Impact: how much of an audience does it affect , what difference does it make, what is the impact on community radio, public radio? Innovation: what can we help you achieve, that you couldn't otherwise? Parity: what we have been willing to do for NPR, APR, we might be willing to do for you, on a relative scale .
Three of America's six largest foundations (Ford. MacArthur. Pew) have begun to fund public broadcasting. public radio in particular. and evidently intend to continue doing so. Pacifica requested meetings with each of these foundations earlier this year. and was treated seriously enough in subsequent meetings to give us some hope of securing funding. possibly from all three. A "Report Sheet" on this work is included as Appendix 3.
Beyond these three foundations there are no others among the country's 100 largest which have made substantial grants to public broadcasting. So the second tier of foundation prospects looks substantially different from the first tier. requiring more work on our part to open doors, ESTABLISH " STANDING". and FIND A WORKABLE " FIT.
There are nonetheless a number of interesting prospects - in some cases only because of particular people who are currently involved, or because of FORMAL CRITERIA WHICH WE COULD TRY TO FIT. The second tier list includes several from the top 100 -- Rockefeller, Irvine, Surdna, George Gund. -- Nathan Cummings -- and a number of smaller foundations. but still capable of 6 figure grants: Aaron Diamond, Revson, Rockefeller Family & Associates. New World. Winston Foundation for World Peace.
Once we drop to the $35,000 to $75,000 grant range, the list enlarges. but these take as long to cultivate as the bigger ones. so it makes sense to START FROM THE TOP.
Foundation fundraising at this level has extraordinary payoffs -- but it takes senior staff time, not in "grantwriting". but in communicating. It is therefore expensive. and not successfully done as an afterthought to everything else in the day . It also requires " VENTURE CAPITAL VISITS" to the foundations to open doors and conversations that lead to partnerships.
In initiating three top level contacts in April. May and June, and attempting to capitalize on the opportunities apparent to us , we have already been stretched beyond our capacity to really interface effectively with these funders -- although admittedly much of the problem to date has been due to the fact that we don't yet have a clear business plan for national programming.
Foundation grantmaking will most likely proceed as short-term funding. Funders will want to "fund projects. not operations". We should presume that we can succeed in raising serious money to launch or establish new programs, etc.. but not sustain them beyond start-up. The standard of self-sufficiency will be required for many proposals we submit, and our own planning will be most successful if we relate to this funding source accordingly.
Short-Run Strategies for Developing a Foundation Grantseeking Program
Seek Development Committee leadership in planning for Foundation grantseeking.
Pursue 3 "anchor" grants to acquire funding beginning in FY'93 from the Big 3 foundations we've already begun to work with.
Long Range Strategies for Developing a Foundation Grantseeking Program
Initiate an informal "feasibility inquiry" of foundation support for Pacifica's objectives by requesting visits with the dozen top prospects to shape proposals and establish relationships.
Working with the Development Committee. design (1) an Endowment Campaign for National Programming and (2) a National Production and Training Center capital campaign that would also serve to provide Pacifica - owned first-rate studios and offices for WPFW.
Foundation Grants Summary: Late this spring we began our first efforts in national foundation grantseeking on behalf of national programming. We have a good chance of securing six figure grants in the coming fiscal year from any or all of the 3 foundations we're working with, but our approach is still dependent upon our own organizational progress toward a business plan that we are committed to following through on.
The second tier of foundation prospects is more challenging, and will require increased staff resources, a modest feasibility inquiry. and active planning with the Board Development Committee. ###