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FAQ: KUOW Reserves

We recently received a number of questions about KUOW’s operations, specifically about the state of our finances. Here are some responses to those questions.

How much is KUOW’s reserve?
As of June 30, 2015, KUOW’s reserve is $16.2 million:

  • $2.8M for operating reserves (3 months),
  • $3.8M for property and equipment replacement,
  • $3.9M for the endowment (an investment fund held for our future strength and resiliency),
  • $5.7M for the building fund and enterprise/major project fund.

What is the "Undesignated" Reserve?
Funds currently "Undesignated" are subsumed within the "Enterprise/Major Project" category.  They are spent as approved by the PSPR Board on strategic business plan objectives toward better and more service to the citizens of Puget Sound. No direct fundraising is used to augment these funds. This fund reserve grows only as a result of PSPR's investment portfolio and/or prudent financial management that generates small annual operating margins.

Please note: This information is updated annually on our website on our About KUOW page.

Why is your reserve that amount?
A stable nonprofit organization needs to have a certain amount in reserves in order to be sustainable. Our reserves have developed over the almost 65 year life of the station because of increases or decreases to net assets earned in given years and investment income from our reserves.

Public broadcasters are distinct in the world of nonprofits in that we are a vital community information service, especially in the event of natural disaster or civil emergency. We must continue to broadcast even during times when fundraising might have to be suspended, and we must be prepared to quickly replace damaged equipment and/or move to alternative transmission sites.

Furthermore, a healthy reserve affords KUOW flexibility to invest in initiatives and assets that connect us with the next generation of public radio listeners.

Do we fundraise for this reserve?
No. There are no donations made to reserves. Individual donations, grants and underwriting are budgeted for and used each year to fund the operations of the station. Investment gain and market action can also help build our reserves.

We do not budget for investment activity nor do we count on these for operations as they are not predictable. 

Were listener donations used to build the reserves the station is using to acquire 88.5?

No: Our financial reserves contain no listener donations. KUOW has two major sources of unrestricted revenue: listener donations and underwriting from corporations and other organizations. We spend the listener donations on program services. In years when there is a surplus of unrestricted revenue, we deposit it in the reserve, but the amount has never approached the total of underwriting money. 

Still have questions?

Email us at engage@kuow.org with your thoughts.