Appendix A: On-Air Acknowledgment of Funding from Station-Owned Endowments
As endowments become a major focus of station fundraising efforts, we have begun to receive inquiries from producers as to how station endowments, or major donors to station endowments, may be acknowledged on programs when income from these endowments is used to finance program research, development and/or production.*
For these purposes, the term "station endowment" means a sum of money where access to the principal is prohibited, but where endowment income is received by a public television station and the use of the income is left to the discretion of station management. Also included in this definition would be cases where endowment income may be limited in some respect; for example, to the support of "science" or "dramatic" or "educational" programming, but where station management retains full discretion as to exactly which science or which dramatic or which educational program will receive endowment support.
By contrast, in the unlikely event the income from an endowment were restricted solely to funding a specific, named program (e.g., "The Newshour Endowment"), this would be regarded as a conventional underwriting grant subject to the normal requirements of the PBS National Program Funding Standards and Practices.
Assuming, however, a reasonable degree of station discretion as to the use of endowment income, there is no requirement to identify an endowment as a program funder. However, we believe a permissive approach makes the most sense and would agree that under certain circumstances, it will be appropriate to acknowledge that support has been provided by an endowment or a major contributor to an endowment. To that end, producers may give a funding credit to an endowment, or to a major donor to an endowment, provided there is a clear and direct connection between the source of the funds and the resulting program.
For example, when a program receives support from an endowment created explicitly to finance the production of television programming or some genre of television programming, it would be permissible to credit that endowment, or a major contributor to it. Conversely, it would probably not be appropriate to credit an endowment, or a major contributor to it, when the endowment was established explicitly to fund the replacement cost of the station's production equipment or to help meet the station's general expenses. While a program might benefit indirectly from these contributions, the connection to the specific program is too attenuated to warrant a funding acknowledgment.
When there is a clear and direct connection between an endowment and a program, there are two ways in which credits can be included: as a conventional funding credit, or as a "special thanks" credit incorporated into closing production credits. The choice will depend on the amount of the contribution relative to other funders, and how direct the connection is between the endowment and program itself.
* Underwriting provided by third party endowments must always be disclosed pursuant to the PBS National Program Funding Standards and Practices.