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The Changing Face of Philanthropy in Minnesota:
a radio series on giving in the New Economy.
   O P E N I N G   R E M A R K S

by William Kling
President and CEO, Minnesota Public Radio

Good evening and welcome to the Sharing the Wealth Summit: Charitable Giving in Prosperous Times. I'm Bill Kling, president of MPR. I am very pleased to be able to welcome audiences here in the History Center; our broadcast audience; as well as those of you participating interactively via the web.

That's a pretty interesting statement - and a big change.

A couple of years ago MPR concluded that public radio has one of the most powerful audiences in the media world. Not the largest - but the most active. People who run things, who are active decision-makers, who hold corporate, governmental, or volunteer offices - people who vote.

We began to understand that someone in our audience almost always knows more about any subject we choose to cover, than we can possibly know ourselves. And we made a conscious effort to draw you in - both through physical convening, and through electronic systems like the Internet.


What is the biggest obstacle to your charitable giving - what prevents you from getting more involved or giving more, and how could this be overcome?
Participate in the Forum


Since we made that decision we have found that not only do you come. But you add value. You tell us more about any given subject. And you interact with each other and in the process - almost in the way that a breeder reactor works - you build more and better content. That makes our broadcasts, our Web pages, and our national programming more valuable, more interesting, and higher in quality.

And that's what we hope will happen today and tomorrow. Over 100 of you are here in person from around the country. People with all sorts of interests relating to philanthropy will be interacting with you through the Web, using content derived from your discussions.

The results of all of that debate will be packaged into a special version of our weekly national broadcast of Sound Money as well as into daily reports to Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Finally the major content will be archived and available on the MPR Web site (in text and on-demand audio), for the foreseeable future.

Philanthropy and the future of philanthropy is particularly important to MPR. As the nation's strongest, most developed public radio system, we look back at the individuals and the foundations that enabled us to demonstrate the potential of public service media. Whether it's the 90,000 contributing members, the long-term support from major foundations, or the individual gifts like Netscape's Jim Clark who donated $1 million by email to support our online development - we've benefited in above average ways. That's why we are particularly pleased to be able to explore the future of philanthropy with the leadership audiences joining us tonight.

Your host for the next couple of days is Chris Farrell, one of the nation's top economic journalists. Chris is also a contributing economics editor at Business Week magazine and host of Minnesota Public Radio's weekly national broadcast, Sound Money. We'll be in good hands with Chris as he guides us through the implications of changes in philanthropy that you - those of you here and those of you listening on radio and on the Web - join us in exploring.

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