A bride holding a "Abolish ICE" sign and a groom with a "Expand Sanctuary. End PARS" sign, stand on a street partition in front of City Hall

Our Story

The Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) is moving resources within the Philadelphia region toward community-owned media and internet, and catalyzing movements for justice through narratives that educate, inspire, and encourage action toward a more liberatory future.

Our Vision of a Liberatory Future

We see a future where media accurately represents the diverse, complex lived experiences and imaginations of Black, Indigenous, people of color, and other communities harmed by systems of oppression and media erasure. We envision a local media ecosystem fueled by communities who produce and distribute their own media narratives. In this ecosystem, media technologies advance social justice movements and people over profit. We imagine a world where media are tools of liberation, joy, memory, and accountability.

See our glossary for definitions of terms we use to describe our work

Our Unusual Path Into Philanthropy

IPMF, which was founded in 2019, was preceded by WYBE Channel 35, formerly a public broadcaster operating in the Philadelphia market. As a small public television station WYBE had a creative, artistic vision for the role that media can and should play to strengthen communities. It was known, in particular, for programming and staff that represented the rich diversity of the Philadelphia region.

In 2017, WYBE relinquished its broadcast license as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadcast Incentive Auction and received a one-time payment of $131.5 million. WYBE was the only station in the country to seize the opportunity of the auction and transform itself from a broadcaster into a private foundation—Independence Public Media Foundation—believing it could have far greater and longer-lasting impact on communities as a funder.

WYBE's legacy as a small community-led public television station is at the core of IPMF's commitment to support community-owned media and media making. IPMF made more than $50 million in grants in its first five years as a foundation, honoring and carrying forward WYBE’s legacy and vision for media-making in the region, while also exploring new ways that media can build community power and catalyze social change.

Values that Guide Our Work:

  • Courage – we lead with courage, by choosing to do what is right in partnership with our communities, over what is comfortable, fast, easy, or protects our own power and resources.
  • Equity – we seek to shift our power to communities by sharing our funds, time, and connections with them, amplifying their voices and knowledge, and supporting their self determination.
  • Justice – we commit to use our power to disrupt white supremacy and other systems of oppression and be accountable to our community partners while collectively building systems and support needed to achieve and sustain justice.
  • Belonging – we embrace everyone’s inherent worth and right to fully participate in society without fear or bias, and to have meaningful say in decisions that shape their lives. This value suffuses how we build and nurture relationships and co-create with Communities.
  • Joy – we cultivate joy in our lives, our daily work, and our relationships by practicing celebration, gratitude, and imagination.

See our glossary for definitions of terms we use to describe our work

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