Public Media Network launches initiatives focused on media reflective of our community

Public Media Network is the recipient of three major grant awards supporting the organization’s ongoing work towards Narrative Change in Kalamazoo County. 

For immediate release:   

Contact:  D. Neil Bremer, Public Media Network, Director of Development and Communications, 269.343.2211 x113, dbremer@publicmedianet.org

Public Media Network launches initiatives focused on media reflective of our community

 

[KALAMAZOO, December 17,2020]— Public Media Network is the recipient of three major grant awards supporting the organization’s ongoing work towards Narrative Change in Kalamazoo County.

In 2018, Public Media Network made a strategic decision to increase efforts to shift existing narratives in media to be more authentic and reflective of the community.

“This support from our local foundations leverages the existing resources provided by our local municipal partners to help traditionally underrepresented and unheard voices in media to share their stories,” said Executive Director Matt Schuster. “The funding allows us to increase programs co-designed by members of our community to challenge dominate narratives that shape our understanding and perspectives.”

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the John E. Fetzer Institute Fund have combined to award a $40,000 grant to Public Media Network to facilitate media-centric education and authentic narratives through nonprofit partners focused on social and human services.

Public Media Network’s narrative change work is also being supported through a generous grant from the Stryker Johnston Foundation.  The partnership between Public Media Network and the Stryker Johnston Foundation through a 3-year grant of $760,000 provides resources for ongoing efforts in supporting Black residents of the North and East sides of Kalamazoo who want to change existing narratives.

Starting in March of this year, Public Media Network joined the OF/BY/FOR ALL change network of international civic and cultural institutions to work with consultants to become more of, by and for our communities. Public Media Network is using this framework to guide work in collaborating with people to shift the constructed narratives that dominate commercial media.

In conversations with Black residents in Kalamazoo, started this past spring, Public Media Network understood that Narrative Change will have a wide-reaching impact on quality of life. Black residents indicated they want more of their positive stories and uplifting successes shared because much of commercial media is sensationalized and narrow in focus. They want to see an increase of authentic representation.

The goals for Public Media Network’s OF/BY/FOR ALL initiative aligned with the Stryker Johnston Foundation’s mission to invest in and collaborate with organizations working towards the elimination of intergenerational poverty in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Social change needs a shift in the narratives embedded in our systems and influenced by those in power. The funds will allow a deeper involvement with residents who will determine the direction and path towards success for their community in collaboration with PMN.

With the impact of COVID-19 on local arts organizations, the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation granted funds to assist Public Media Network’s partnerships with nonprofit Arts groups in Kalamazoo County. The funds, for use through June 30, 2021, provide resources for media productions initiated by the local Arts groups.  With the pandemic causing many Arts groups to pivot and create an online presence or convert their live performances to broadcast/online distribution, the grant is providing important resources at this critical time.

“The media created in part through these funds is helping our local arts organizations reach and connect with traditional and non-traditional audiences during the pandemic.  While the experience may not be the same experience as in-person, the content is helping them to stay connected with their audiences in a new way”, stated Schuster.

The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation previously granted funds when Public Media Network partnered with the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Cultural Center to expand and renovate the Epic Center in 2014. This is the first grant PMN has received from the Stryker Johnston Foundation.

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Mission

Public Media Network empowers people through media to amplify creative expression, community dialogue, and cultural understanding.

Our Vision

Is for a vital civic media hub that builds an engaged community.

Public Media Network is a Public, Education, and Government (PEG)  501c3 media arts organization founded in 1983 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Our partner communities include: City of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Township, Oshtemo Township, Comstock Township, and the City of Parchment.

Public Media Network
Epic Center
359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 300
Kalamazoo, MI, 49007
(269) 343-2211