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Funding FAQs

Funding FAQ

Funding is a commonly misunderstood element of public media. Our funding FAQs are here to help you better understand how local stations like VPM fund our operations so we may continue to serve our local communities.

"If VPM receives federal funding, why do you need donations?”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private nonprofit corporation that is fully funded by the federal government. Eighty-nine percent of CPB's federal funds are distributed directly to local public media stations. Less than 10% of VPM’s annual operating budget comes from federal funding through CPB.

The generosity of individuals like you literally keeps our doors open. Financial support from our community goes directly to funding VPM operations, keeping us on the air and in our communities.

“Don’t you receive grants?”

Yes. VPM receives a few select grants to support specific projects each fiscal year. For example, in 2023 we received a Robins Foundation grant for our Early Years Matter Campaign.

Less than 1% of VPM’s annual operating budget comes from external grant funding.

“What is the Virginia Foundation of Public Media for? What does it do? Where does that money come from?”

The Virginia Foundation for Public Media (VFPM) was created in 2017 following the one-time sale of VPM broadcast spectrum through an FCC-sponsored auction. The spectrum that was sold served Northern Virginia, which is not VPM’s core audience.

The VFPM was created to support VPM and ensure it will serve its mission for generations to come. The Foundation mainly funds content and other projects that advance VPM’s mission and is not intended to provide significant support for annual operating expenses.

“I thought you were PBS and NPR?”

VPM is a community licensee of programming via television and radio, respectively from the Federal Communications Commission and broadcasts both the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). VPM and other member stations pay annual dues for the rights to programming, content, digital distribution streaming, and more. In addition to dues, VPM pays fees for the individual programs we choose to broadcast that are not distributed by PBS or NPR, such as American Public Television (APT) or the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). VPM thoughtfully crafts our broadcast schedules for radio and television based on the interests and needs of our local community.

VPM also creates and produces our own programs, right here in Virginia! Your donations help support a variety of locally-produced television and radio programs PLUS a growing library of original podcasts and digital video series.

So, what does this all mean?

We have a deep appreciation for the support of our community. The generosity and passion of individuals in our community, like you, make public media possible.

Have a question that isn't listed here? Let us know at [email protected].

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