American Public Media’s Glen Nelson Center Officially Opens, Driving Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth in St. Paul

New innovation-focused center, supported by Knight Foundation, launches in downtown’s Osborn370; flagship program Lunar Startups seeks entrepreneurs for its second cohort

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 5, 2018 – American Public Media’s (APM) Glen Nelson Center has officially opened, advancing innovation, business development and activity in downtown St. Paul. The center, established through memorial gifts in memory of Dr. Glen Nelson, contributions to APM’s Inspired by You campaign, and a $1 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is named in the honor of Dr. Nelson – a longtime supporter, board member and board chair at Minnesota Public Radio and APM – who passed away in 2016.

Friends, family, and former colleagues of Dr. Nelson gathered on Monday at an intimate event to open his namesake center. Special guests Marilyn Carlson Nelson and St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter were also in attendance to celebrate the center’s dedication.

The center is central to APM’s efforts to lead the changing landscape of media and technology, in addition to ensuring that APM can continue to serve diverse and growing audiences in the most vital of ways. The Glen Nelson Center will invest in and house companies that support this mission and are on the frontier of their field.

“The Glen Nelson Center honors Dr. Nelson’s values of entrepreneurship and innovation, and we are very fortunate to have the support of Marilyn Carlson Nelson and her family in this new journey,” said Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media Group. “Along with the generosity of Newman’s Own Foundation, the Bill Kling Innovation Endowment, and many people who have honored Dr. Nelson with their personal gifts, we are inspired by the commitment to discovery and expanding public service in our community.”

Knight Foundation supported the creation of the center and its flagship program, Lunar Startups, as part of its strategy to promote revitalization efforts in downtown St. Paul and advance an entrepreneurial ecosystem that encourages new job growth.

“St. Paul is on the cusp of a resurgence, one focused on claiming its spot as a dynamic and vibrant urban hub. Key to this transformation is an active downtown corridor that attracts new business, new ideas and new opportunities for community engagement opportunities alike. As an exciting, new downtown establishment focused on fostering innovation, the Glen Nelson Center gets St. Paul closer to this goal,” said Jai Winston, Knight Foundation program director for St. Paul.

Lunar Startups Preparing for Cohort 2

Knight Foundation’s $1 million investment funds, in part, Lunar Startups, the Glen Nelson Center’s flagship program that accelerates local startups with a focus on underrepresented communities.

The startup incubator will soon welcome early-stage companies to apply for its Cohort 2 class of entrepreneurs.

The program will accept five to seven young companies to occupy this office space, while having access to ongoing visibility, education, stewardship, state-of-the-art equipment and team development.

The application period opens Wednesday, November 28, and runs through Monday, December 31. The application will be live on Lunar Startups’ website. Selections will be made in January 2019, with Cohort 2 set to launch in March. Lunar Startups aims to promote and develop underestimated founders leading early stage, scalable ventures. Cohort 1 includes 26 Letters, Asiya, Clutch SOS, Dojour, Monicat Data and Take 12, the majority of which are led by women and/or a person of color.

“Cohort 1 has proven to be a powerful group of entrepreneurs that are setting a great bar for future participants,” said Danielle Steer, managing director of Lunar Startups. “Startups that participate in Cohort 2 will have the benefit of a customized program informed by the lessons learned with our first cohort; these startups also get to be on the ground floor of driving the future of the program while joining the MPR|APM community.”

Entrepreneurs who have validated that there is a need for their product or service through customers, users or by raising money are encouraged to apply. More information about cohort member criteria can be found here.

The 12-month cohort measures success based on each company’s growth and achieved milestones.

Cohort 2 information session

Lunar Startups will host a “Lunch and Learn” information session on Wednesday, November 28, 12-2 p.m., for all individuals and groups interested in applying to be a part of Cohort 2.

Participation is free and will include presentations by Cohort 1 members, remarks from Knight Foundation’s Jai Winston and Lunar Startups’ Danielle Steer, as well as a light lunch and an opportunity to network with Lunar Startups staff, Cohort 1 members and other applicants. The event serves as an opportunity to learn about Lunar Startups selection criteria and process, how to apply and the experiences of the inaugural cohort.

The Lunch and Learn will take place at Lunar Startups’ offices at Osborn370 in downtown St. Paul. The event is family friendly, with a mother’s room onsite. Parking information can be found here.

Attendees are asked to RSVP here and contact Danielle Steer at with any accommodations requests.


About American Public Media 
American Public Media® is the national programming division of Minnesota Public Radio® and reaches 20 million listeners via approximately 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, and the leading classical music programs in the nation. APM offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on APM, visit

Source: Nielsen Audio, Nationwide DMA data, Persons 12+, Spring ‘18. Data are estimates only.

About the Glen Nelson Center
The Glen Nelson Center exists to explore, discover, and develop innovative ways to serve new and diverse audiences through entrepreneurial endeavors that support American Public Media’s public service mission. For more information on the Glen Nelson center, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit