It’s Hard Out Here for a Public-Radio Fund-raiser

It’s not easy soliciting money for a good cause, and, indeed, a recent e-mail exchange among execs at WNYC, New York’s public-radio station, exposes the delicate art of not-for-profit fund-raising. Under discussion was a press release to announce a fund-raising campaign for the station’s new Varick Street headquarters. The first draft of the release lacked a statement from Dawn Greene, widow of philanthropist Jerome Greene, whose $6 million gift was the largest ever made to a public-radio station. “Why not include a quote from Dawn?” wonders Laura Walker, WNYC’s president and CEO, in a leaked e-mail. “[It would] allow someone else to say nice things about us.”

It continues: “Shouldn’t I say something nice about Dawn?” And while the draft under discussion mentioned “city and federal funding,” Walker advises: “Talk about LMDC [Lower Manhattan Development Corporation] separately — they are technically city funds being funneled through a state agency and I don’t think the state will like us referring to it as federal funds.” The final press release includes a complimentary quote from Greene about the station, a quote from Walker noting the generosity of “individuals like Ms. Greene,” and a list of donors including the city and LMDC. And everyone, it seems, was happy.
Emma Rosenblum

New Facility’s Street-Level Performance Center to be Named After Philanthropist Jerome L. Greene []
Earlier: WNYC Unveils Its New Home, Tastefully