Population Media Center, Inc.

A Creative Solution for a Sustainable Planet

aka PMC   |   South Burlington, VT   |  www.populationmedia.org

Mission

To use entertainment-education and mass media to promote social and cultural change by addressing the interconnected issues of the full rights of women and girls, population, and the environment. Our goals are to empower people to live healthier and more prosperous lives and to stabilize global population at a level at which people can live sustainably with the world’s renewable resources.

Ruling year info

1998

President

Mr. William N. Ryerson

Vice President for International Programs

Ms. Kriss Barker

Main address

30 Kimball Ave., Suite 302

South Burlington, VT 05403 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

03-0358029

NTEE code info

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Reproductive Health Care Facilities and Allied Services (E40)

International Environment, Population & Sustainability (Q38)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Population Media Center (PMC) is a global sustainability non-profit known for storytelling. We create life-changing, popular entertainment for a more sustainable world. Sustainability depends on stabilizing our global population, which grows by more than 220,000 people every day. The planet’s resources are finite, and every person deserves sufficient land, water, shelter, food, and energy for a decent life. These are basic human rights. The solutions also revolve around a progressive human rights agenda: empowering people, especially women and girls, with choice. We must raise the social status of women around the world and end things like gender-based violence, forced prostitution, and child marriage. Population Media Center addresses fundamental threats to global sustainability – enabling girls’ to pursue an education and giving them agency over their own reproductive health. We inspire entire communities to choose a healthier, more equitable, and flourishing world for all.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Umurage ("Inheritance for a Better Future")

PMC produced Umurage ("Inheritance for a Better Future") in Rwanda. This 156-episode radio serial drama aired from June 2017 through June 2018 in Kinyarwanda, one of Rwanda’s official languages. This show was strategically designed to address issues of sexual and gender-based violence, adolescent reproductive health, and child protection.

Adolescent listeners of this show were 3.9 times more likely than non-listeners to say they have discussed safe sex with their peers in the last six months. Listeners were also 2.5 times more likely than non-listeners to state that a parent is not justified hitting their children if they perform badly in school, disobey their parents, are impolite, or embarrass the family.

Population(s) Served
Families
Women and girls
Adolescents
Children

PMC produced Agashi 2 (“Hey! Look Again!”) in Burundi. This 208-episode radio show aired from August 2016 to August 2018 in Kirundi, Burundi’s national language. Agashi 2 followed the first season of Agashi, which ran 208 episodes from January 2014 to January 2016 and reached more than two million people at a cost of $0.74 US per loyal listener. Agashi 2 built on that success, addressing family planning, maternal and child health, and gender equality. Listeners were 1.5 times more likely than non-listeners to believe that couples in their village approved of couples using contraceptives to determine when they had children.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families
Parents
Women and girls

PMC produced East Los High in association with Wise Entertainment as a Hulu original series for hulu.com. The 24-episode first season aired on June 3, 2013; the second season aired on July 9, 2014; season three aired on July 15, 2015; and season four aired on July 15, 2016. The finale aired on December 1, 2017.

East Los High rose to be one of the top five shows on hulu.com during its first season and has received six daytime Emmy nominations. Because PMC hires producers, writers, and actors from the community we’re trying to reach, East Los High was Hollywood’s first and only series with an all Latino cast. It has drawn more than one million unique visitors to Hulu’s Latino page each month and has been written about in publications like the American Journal of Public Health for its impact on issues like adolescent sexual and reproductive health. StayTeen.org’s website traffic doubled on the day East Los High launched and 22 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total “the check” widget visits during the first season were accessed through the East Los High website.

PMC built East Los High based on PMC’s approach to entertainment-education hoping to help address teen pregnancy and other health and social issues.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
People of Latin American descent

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Navigator 2012

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

Awards

Non-profit innovation 2009

The Drucker Institute

Changemakers Innovation Award 2006

Ashoka Foundation

Global Media Award for Best Electronic Communications Service 2007

Population Institute

Global Media Award for Best TV Show - East Los High 2013

Population Institute

Global Media Award for Best Social Media Campaign - East Los High 2013

Population Institute

Resolve Award for Ethiopia 2012

Aspen Institute

World Changing Ideas Awards: Media and Entertainment Finalist 2020

FastCompany

Affiliations & memberships

ECOSOC 2013

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Population Media Center’s vision is a sustainable planet with equal rights for all. We want to transform societies by transforming relationships. Population Media Center (PMC) understands that with current population growth (more than 220,000 people per day) and constantly increasing consumption, people are destroying the planet. Climate change, ocean levels, increased natural disasters – they all demonstrate the increasingly volatile nature of our world.

Population Media Center focuses on global sustainability – not only to prevent devastating losses for people and planet from staying this course – but also to build and celebrate the possibilities presented if we are able to change this story.

Our worldwide team of scientists, artists, and advocates turn popular entertainment – wisely, compassionately, and always justly – into a force for global good. The world we’re working toward is equitable and flourishing. People have the power to change their lives and communities for the better.

The stories we create change the way we see ourselves and each other. We focus on women and girls because empowering women and girls is imperative for their own rights and well-being and it will also stop population growth. It will also enable powerful new ideas and implementors to get involved and contribute to the global sustainability movement.

Celebrating girls around the world – recognizing their dreams, their potential, their value – will fundamentally change the fabric of our society. Imagine a world not threatened by their greatness, by the unknown potential that begs to be discovered within them. Imagine a world drawn to that greatness. This is the transformation, piece by piece, we undertake with our shows. We reach huge audiences, striving to make sure that women and girls can make their own decisions, determine their own futures.

Trained in the art and science of storytelling for social impact, we are working to build a world where all people are valued. A world where extreme social and economic disparities are understood to be detriments and mindfully and immediately remediated. A world where everyone has their basic needs met and people can live in harmony with each other and the natural world. We make the shows that remake our world, beginning with the treatment of women and girls, focused on equality and global sustainability.

We’re raising global sustainability through community empowerment on the most human level—by telling transformative stories.

Our award-winning, locally produced radio and video series—featuring transformational characters, familiar communities, and very real choices—have inspired planet-positive behavior change. Trained in the art and science of storytelling for social impact, we partner with local talent and production teams in countries around the world to create award-winning, popular entertainment for TV, radio, and the web that is life-changing.

Humans have always told stories as a way to understand, share, and shift beliefs and behaviors. Since 1998, PMC’s award-winning, locally produced radio and video series have combined behavioral theory, media industry insight, and character-driven, culturally relevant storylines. Our transformative approach empowers by entertaining—at scale, by popular demand, and for global good.

Our Theory of Change is a reproducible formula for creating hit entertainment works across people, places, and media environments and it’s designed to impact multiple social, health, and environmental challenges. We engage audiences, change ideas, and empower people to make better-informed decisions.

Our theory of change is based on extensive formative research that allows us to work with in-country production teams made up of individuals from that community to build an entertainment property that truly centers the audience. We build in multiple pretests — including the first episodes, marketing materials, and the show's brand — to get feedback before launch. During broadcast, which often extends over many months or years so that the audience can grow and change at a reasonable rate of change along with their favorite characters, we create multiple channels for audience engagement. We want to continuously learn from the audience to understand how the show is being understood, how the characters are resonating, and where the audience is in what is called the "stages of change." We must understand and track the audience's progress in order to understand what is needed and correctly model within the show.

To date, we have entertained people across more than 50 countries, in more than 30 languages. Our scientifically proven approach to transformative storytelling has helped more than a half billion people — and counting — change their lives, communities, and environments for the better. We have worked with schools, clinics, crisis and help hotlines, and other service providers to drive people toward essential resources that prior to our show were "taboo" or "not trusted." We work collaboratively alongside fellow nonprofits, foundations, governments, and UN agencies.

As we've said before, addressing the most pressing, fundamental threats to global sustainability where it matters most—in human hearts and minds—we inspire entire communities to choose a healthier, more equitable, and flourishing world for all.

We have worked across 30+ languages, 50+ countries, and impacted 500+ million lives. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough. Population Media Center (PMC) is dedicated to continued and increased impact — learning from every project, every failure, and every success. Our staff, at headquarters and in the writing and production teams around the world, are incredibly talented. And our theory of change, which drives our entire methodology in creating our powerful entertainment that transforms lives, is reproducible and successful across people, places, and media markets. These three things make up the heart of our organization and our ability to succeed: a dedication to constantly learning, talented people, and a powerful intervention. We've been telling stories and creating impact for more than 20 years.

Population Media Center's niche — impacting hearts and minds — builds a clear understanding of how and where to work. We work on social norms. All people are immersed in, and contribute to, the dominant social norms of their community. PMC works on deep-seated, harmful norms and behaviors. We specialize in catalyzing change with long-running entertainment, effecting change where isolated service provision or direct messaging cannot. All too often, many or most times actually, a school or a clinic or some other important service already exists within a community — but people do not use it.

What we do is not easy. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes a deep curiosity and humility. Every place, every audience, and every issue is different. But our learning, our people, and our formula for social impact entertainment allows us to understand an audience, a media landscape, and service provider landscape to determine how we can impact interpersonal relationships and social norms. We can help make it "normal" for women to have a say in how many children she has with her husband. We can help make it "normal" to use a clinic.

PMC produced East Los High as a Hulu original series and the show rose to be one of the top five shows on hulu.com during its first season and received six Emmy nominations. Because PMC hires producers, writers, and actors from the community we’re trying to reach, East Los High was Hollywood’s first and only series with an all Latino cast. It drew more than one million unique visitors to Hulu’s Latino page each month and was written about in publications like the American Journal of Public Health for its impact on issues like adolescent sexual and reproductive health. StayTeen.org’s website traffic doubled on the day East Los High launched and 22 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total “the check” widget visits during the first season were accessed through the East Los High website.

For over two decades, PMC has partnered with like-minded organizations to amplify diverse social and environmental change efforts in service of a single, shared goal: a healthier, more equitable, and more flourishing world. Working collaboratively alongside fellow non-profits, foundations, governments, and UN agencies, our scientifically proven approach to transformative storytelling has helped more than 500 million people change their lives and communities for the better. Acting together, with integrity, transparency, and the highest ethical standards, PMC and our partners continue to deliver measurable, meaningful community empowerment through the power of popular entertainment—program after program, year after year. And we don’t plan to cut to the credits anytime soon. There’s more work to be done.

We continue to entertain audiences around the world – assessing where we’re the most needed and where we can have the biggest impact. We work in complicated media markets, like the United States, and simpler media markets, like Burundi. We’ve garnered Emmy nominations and awards, but more importantly, we’ve improved lives. Communities have rallied around children to prevent child marriage, citing Population Media Center characters, shows, and values. Husbands and wives have come to discuss childbearing, giving women a say in how many children they have. Fathers have been shocked to find themselves labeled after negative characters by their children, realizing their behavior is harmful.

These are the types of impact PMC shows can have: fundamentally impacting our most precious relationships and our deepest held beliefs. And these shows can accomplish this at a cost-per-impact of as little as $0.30 USD.

Imagine what we can do in the decades to come.

We are dedicated to continued learning and application as more and more is understood about social norms, how to create impact that stands the tests of time, and behavior change theory. We're also dedicated to constant learning and application of new and evolving storytelling platforms and strategies. We know that whatever the future looks like, we need to adapt and be adept. We need to maintain our creativity. And we know time is of the essence. There are people out there not being given the opportunity to determine their own future. And global sustainability becomes more distant with every day where there is not dramatic change.

Cent for cent, measure by measure, Population Media Center hit shows generate community-empowering, planet-positive behavior change for every dollar donated. We're working for a flourishing tomorrow.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Population Media Center focuses on raising the social status of women and girls around the world, especially those who are most at risk. Our work aims to end harmful societal norms, like gender-based violence, genital mutilation, forced prostitution, and child marriage. And we work to enhance girls' access to education and sexual and reproductive health and rights. To achieve our results, we create entertaining shows that reach huge audiences, impacting audiences where it matters most – in human hearts and minds – enabling girls’ to pursue an education and giving them agency over their own reproductive health. It improves the health and well-being for everyone. We inspire entire communities to choose a healthier, more equitable, and flourishing world for all.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Population Media Center begins every project with extensive formative research that includes focus groups, interviews with recipients and subject matter experts, extensive conversations with local service providers (clinics, schools, etc), and a thorough review of existing media market data and demographic health surveys. We also hire in-country creative teams to accurately interpret and positively address local social norms. These diverse perspectives are paramount to creating culturally resonant, captivating fictional characters and storylines. We also pilot test the first two weeks of episodes to understand how the show resonates with the key audience, and set-up continual monitoring and evaluation across channels during broadcast, like social media, texting, community groups, and more.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Population Media Center knows we cannot be effective unless we center the people we are serving. We are experts in behavioral science, social norms, and entertainment -- but information gathered from the people we serve provides all of the content and determines everything about how the show is built. Everything, from the characters, to storylines, to the brand of the show, is designed around the audience's needs and sensibilities. Building each show based on knowledge of our audience and creating feedback loops for continuous monitoring of audience responses has definitely put the power of many decisions in their hands. We know that if we don't listen carefully and intentionally to their specific feedback or take cues from their actions, we will not succeed.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Translation can be difficult. We do a lot verbally (high illiteracy levels) in local languages.,

Financials

Population Media Center, Inc.
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Population Media Center, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 07/06/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jerri Shaw

JBS International

Term: 2021 - 2023

Virginia Carter

William Ryerson

Jerri Lea Shaw

Jeff Burrow

Ron Hoge

Tom Perkins

Jane Putch

Itang Young

Penny Hawkins

Kristina Hare Lyons

Cynthia McClintock

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/6/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/06/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.