The Michigan Radio Future Fund

Piggy bank

Achieving a More Certain Future
The Michigan Radio Future Fund

The Future Fund is our largest and most unrestricted endowment that secures significant funds to protect the station and ensure that this service for news, information, analysis, and discussion is here long into the future.  Distributions may be applied annually to the neediest area of the station.

An endowment is a permanent fund in which your gift is invested in perpetuity, while quarterly distributions provide a steady, reliable source of financial support to the station.

To learn more contact Larry Jonas, Director of Development at (734) 763-3416 or or


Some Questions You May Have

How are endowed funds managed?

Michigan Radio’s endowment funds are pooled with the University of Michigan endowment, and all investment decisions will be under the control of the Office of Investments at the University.  The endowment’s ability to return an average of 9.6% annually since 2000 has been the result of wise and prudent choices reflective of a fiscally sound organization.  This financial management and planned giving service gives us immediate access to planned giving experts, including attorneys, taking much of the burden off the station.

Aren’t fund drives enough?

Fund drives only provide money for ongoing operations.  The endowment is a resource for the future and is a reflection of the fiscal responsibility of the station.  Presently, Michigan Radio and other stations across the country are making or exceeding their annual goals each year.  However, this is happening in a world where government and other funding is still feeding the system, allowing for the production of quality national programming that serves everyone.  Once the model changes, and smaller stations no longer have the resources to contribute both on the editorial and financial level, many stations doing well today will be forced to shoulder more of the costs.  We must add a more guaranteed sources of funding.  Endowment satisfies that.


Why is it so important to protect the future of public broadcasting?

1) Quality journalism is being threatened at a time when news is profoundly critical

Michigan Radio stands out as a bastion of accurate, impartial information, providing clarity and context in a complex world.  We have become the primary information source for thousands of people who expect meaningful, quality journalism that goes beyond the headlines and takes the time to tell the whole story on important issues facing our state.  

2)  Lifelong learning and an informed citizenry are mutually dependent

Michigan Radio is for the curious mind.  To be an informed citizen leads to a greater ability to participate in democracy.  Greater civic engagement strengthens the fabric of our state by creating a truer and stronger society for all.  

3) We are one community working together to solve the state’s problems

The Michigan community is not hundreds of cities and towns separated by geography or economics.  We are a whole unit that cares about what is happening in and around our state and our world.  Michigan Radio is an outlet for discussion that provides numerous points of view in our community through conversations about where we are and where we are going.

4) New media offers new ways to understand our world

The delivery methods for public media are changing as new distribution platforms emerge every year making it possible for us to pave the way for a new type of public media audience.  As the world becomes more connected through digital means, Michigan Radio is poised, both geographically and editorially, to be the chief content provided to the entire state’s network of public radio stations.  


What will my gift do?

Your contribution to the endowment will build the future of the station; providing the wherewithal and confidence for us to invest in multi-year programs in news coverage, program development, journalism education, and technology upgrades that ensure you and your community remain informed by the most accurate sources.  A gift to Michigan Radio’s endowment is an investment in the future of democracy.

What form can my gift take?

  • Make a gift of cash, securities or other property
  • Leave a bequest to the station’s endowment
  • Establish a Charitable Remainder Trust
  • Establish a Charitable Lead Trust
  • Make a gift of Life Insurance
  • Establish a tribute fund


What are some examples of the impact of my gift?

The level at which one can play a role in the future of public media is one that reflects personal commitment as well as financial capacity.  A gift of $5,000 for instance, will begin distributing nearly $250 annually in perpetuity; effectively endowing an average listener’s membership.  As a rule, you can count on about 4.5% of your original gift’s value to be distributed in the first year, compounding after that.


Can I restrict my gift to a specific fund within the endowment?  

Yes.  You can direct your gift to the main Future Fund, or for a minimum gift amount, establish your own named fund for a purpose of your choosing.