National Public Radio is being awarded the largest grant in its history, $14 million, as part of $42 million in gifts announced today by the philanthropic John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
In its announcement, the foundation lauded NPR as "a reliable source of objective information and thoughtful analysis."
The NPR Endowment will get $4 million immediately, and the network's operating budget will receive the remaining $10 million over 10 years.
The grant will help insulate the network from economic fluctuations, which can shrink donor rolls from year to year, NPR President and Chief Executive Kevin Klose said.
"This is just stupendous," he said. "It helps us enormously in shaping our future plans. Fourteen million is a lot of money in the world in which we live."
NPR relies on grants from private foundations and corporate sponsorships for almost half of its annual $100-million operating revenue. Most of the rest comes from the 714 local stations that pay to air the network's programs.
Although public radio stations nationwide get about 13% of their annual revenue from the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, NPR gets no operating money directly from the corporation or government sources. But NPR does receive grants for special projects from the corporation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources, totaling about 2% a year.
"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," MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan F. Fanton said.
The organization has given to NPR since 1985, "and we are proud to continue our tradition of support for this important institution."
In celebrating its 25th anniversary, the foundation also announced grants today for public radio and TV stations in its hometown of Chicago, as well as several other organizations.