WESLACO, RGV – The nonprofit group that was set up to bring National Public Radio back to the Rio Grande Valley has secured 501c3 status, its president has announced.

With this milestone achieved, Grassroots Public Radio RGV can start to ask the general public for donations.

Edgar Lopez

“The great news is we now have official nonprofit classification with the IRS. We are a 501c3 nonprofit,” said Edgar Lopez, president of Grassroots Public Radio RGV, proudly.

“This is significant. We can show we are above board and show full transparency to the rest of the community. We are on our way.”

Lopez thanked fellow board member Federico Garza for preparing the necessary paperwork for the IRS. He also thanked UT-Rio Grande Valley professor Bill Strong for independently raising $10,000 towards the goal.

“Thank you, Professor Strong, for your great support of this very worthy cause,” Lopez said.

Asked what the goal of Grassroots Public Radio RGV is, Lopez said: “To bring back NPR into the Valley. It is essential. It is not a luxury, it is an essential for the Valley. Not everyone has the luxury of being connected through the Internet. We really miss having NPR.”

Asked what the initial target for the fundraising effort is, Lopez said: $25,000.

Click here to make a donation to Grassroots Public Radio RGV’s campaign.

For many decades, Valley listeners heard NPR programing on 88 FM. However, the station was sold by the Diocese of Brownsville for around a million dollars earlier this year. The new owners, Immaculate Heart Radio, immediately changed the format to Christian talk and music.

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez is leading the charge to bring back NPR to the Valley. He has held talks with various NPR stations in other parts of Texas, along with national NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Marco Solis

“We fully support Congressman Gonzalez’s efforts,” said Shawn Seale, a member of the Grassroots Public Radio RGV board of directors. “We know a lot of important discussions are going on behind the scenes. We feel it is outrageous that a region the size of the Valley, with more than 1.2 million people, does not have an NPR station.”

Grassroots Public Radio RGV spokesman Marco Solis said: “When, not if, NPR returns to the Valley, the quality of news reporting and journalism will certainly increase a notch or two. We will have quality reporting on issues that really matter to this region.”

Lopez added: “We are now accepting donations. We have to raise funds and public awareness. We have to show NPR that we care, we have to show the government that we want it and need it. We need this type of news organization. Many people might think this is an uphill battle but it is worthwhile. It will give people great joy to have NPR back on the air.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Grassroots Public Radio RGV board members. From left to right: Ron Rogers, Shawn Seale, Steve Taylor, Gerard Mittelstaedt, Federico Garza, and Edgar Lopez.