Keep Broadcasters Foundation in mind for 2015


Jim-ThompsonWhen broadcasters run into personal trouble, there is an organization out there that can and does lend a hand – The Broadcasters Foundation provides both one-time and monthly financial assistance for broadcasters in need. Jim Thompson makes the case for donations to make sure organization has the funding it needs for next year.

Keep Broadcasters Foundation in mind for 2015
By Jim Thompson

The end of the year is a particularly busy time of year for broadcasters, professionally and personally. We are finalizing budgets for next year and thinking about gifts, trips, and dinners with our friends and family for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a mix of joy and stress and hope and worry. As broadcasters, we also start thinking about the best ways to use our local prominence to rally support for our communities by promoting local charitable events and outreach programs. As the season of giving and thanksgiving comes upon us, we may even conduct our own on-air fundraisers for a worthy cause. We are fortunate to work in a profession that is integral to the growth and safety of the communities we serve.

But what happens when tragedy strikes one of our own? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps in to help. The Broadcasters Foundation is a 501(c)3 public charity that exists solely to provide financial assistance to broadcasters whose lives have been shattered by unthinkable tragedies. Every single one of the Foundation’s grant recipients is your colleague – they are hard-working, dedicated broadcasters who had productive lives and vibrant careers in sales, management, engineering, programming, promotions, operations, on-air, production, ownership, and more. Now, many of these broadcasters are destitute because of disease, accident, or advanced age.

The Broadcasters Foundation delivers two types of financial assistance: monthly and one-time emergency grants. Examples of situations where the Foundation has provided monthly aid include: the wife and three school-aged children of a 47 year old radio engineer who was in a debilitating accident and passed away from related, deteriorating health; a 50 year old TV sports anchor and reporter with a wife and two children who was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing long-term treatment; and a 64 year old radio on-air personality and program director who developed respiratory failure, but following six months of medical treatments and financial aid from the Broadcasters Foundation, he is back on his feet and no longer in need of assistance.

Here is a note we received from this broadcaster who beat the odds: “I cannot express how meaningful and helpful the support of the Broadcasters Foundation has been. You stuck with me and changed my life… from not being able to walk, to getting on me feet again. It is with pleasure that I inform you that I will no longer need your assistance. The time has come when I can make it on my own.”

One-time emergency grants have been disbursed to broadcasters whose lives or homes were affected by natural catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and tornadoes in the Joplin area a few years ago. The emergency grants from the Foundation help mitigate the destruction caused by these disasters.
This year, the Broadcasters Foundation will disburse more than $850,000 in financial assistance. But the requests for aid have more than doubled over the past few years and more come in every day. The goal of our Board of Directors is that no broadcaster’s cry for help should ever go unanswered. Representing a wide variety of broadcasters and broadcasting companies, the Board is comprised of some of our profession’s most influential leaders, including: Dan Mason from CBS Radio, David Barrett from Hearst Corporation, Rebecca Campbell from ABC Television Stations, Mark Gray from Katz Radio, Bill Hoffman from Cox Media, Deborah Norville from Inside Edition, Jeff Smulyan from Emmis Communications, and more.

Please follow their example and support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues in need. Make sure every broadcaster you know is aware of the Broadcasters Foundation and the work that we do. We hope you are never in a position to need charity. But with your support, we will always be there for a broadcaster who needs help.

Annual membership is only $150 per year, and a donation can be made to the Guardian Fund in any amount. Corporate contributions can be made to the Angel Initiative, and bequests are accepted through the Legacy Society. For more information, please visit our website at  or call us at 213-373-8250.

Jim Thompson is President of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the only charity devoted exclusively to helping broadcasters in need. A long-time broadcaster, Jim was President of Group W Radio and has served on the boards of numerous industry organizations.