Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MPT's New Initiatives Fund

If you haven’t heard about it yet, MPT has an exciting new opportunity to help fulfill its mission. Through the generosity of Irene and Edward H. Kaplan, MPT will have $1 million to use over a four-year period to take risks, both on and off-air, that it has not been able to until now. Funds will be used to respond more rapidly to regional concerns with innovative projects, and, according to its stated intent, “to positively impact the quality of life in Maryland and beyond through high quality initiatives that will serve and benefit the citizens of Maryland, including MPT viewers and members.”

What this means to us is that we will be able to create productions and community initiatives that we otherwise might not be able to do. The criteria that will guide the selection process are:

▪ Quality & Excellence
▪ Public Service Value
▪ Synergies
▪ Boldness & Creative risk

An internal committee has been established to oversee the fund and decide what projects will be funded. The committee is made up of seven senior MPT managers that will meet on an as-needed basis to review submissions. The committee is chaired by MPT’s President & CEO Robert J. Shuman. Decisions will be based on established criteria (mentioned above) and will be directed primarily toward the following core service areas:

▪ Kids & Family
▪ Environment
▪ Perspectives
▪ Health & Wellness

We anticipate that the committee will review several requests in August. While nothing has been chosen yet, we know the projects requested will include a Maryland Generations (similar to what we did with Ken Burns' The War last fall) companion piece for Burns' upcoming National Parks series (scheduled to air fall 2009) and a community initiative around financial literacy. These are just two examples of the varying types of projects that will be reviewed. We hope that this fund will provide seed money for exciting new projects, and that the fund can be replenished by others seeking to make significant and meaningful investments in MPT’s public service.

This is truly a transitional gift for MPT. It will allow us to do more great things, and take risks that we otherwise may not have been able to take.

Larry Unger
Chief Operating Officer

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