New Sources of Capital Emerging to Advance Public Radio and Others
In a first for noncommercial radio in the United States, three leading groups - the Calvert Foundation, the Ford Foundation and Public Radio Capital - announced the creation of the "Public Radio Fund" (PRF), which gives individual and institutional investors an entirely new opportunity: a vehicle for investing directly in public radio stations to promote independent, plural and local public media ownership across the U.S.According to a press release from the Calvert Foundation, "Interest rates offered will be 0-3 percent for three-year notes, and 0-4 percent for five-year notes. The notes will be collateralized by the stations' assets and from the proceeds arising from the sale of the station license." PRF targeting $15 million in the next 12 months starting with $3 million from Calvert's small individual investors and $1.5 million from Ford.
We recently learned that the Ford Foundation has also engaged Nonprofit Finance Fund (NPP) to provide financial and business management guidance for this effort. NPP is headed by Clara Miller who was recently named to the Nonprofit Times Top 50 Power and Influence. The NP Times wrote, "She is arguably the most influential voice in the ongoing effort to reshape thinking and practice about nonprofit capitalization."
What's important about this story is not necessarily a new investment vehicle or Public Radio as much as the fact that a new breed of thinkers (add NPP's George Overholser to the list) is tapping new sources of capital needed to take innovative efforts in the Nonprofit Sector to the next level.