In lieu of our regular editorial, Radio World today shares this space with the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which has begun its annual fund drive.
The following letter to the industry was distributed by President Philip Lombardo and Vice Chairman Stu Olds.
Over the years you've been very generous to the Broadcasters Foundation of America and we're hopeful we can count on your support during these difficult and uncertain economic times. We need you now more than ever.
Thanks to you, our national charitable Foundation has been a "Foul-Weather Friend" to hundreds of present and former broadcasters.
As you know, many support our Mission by attending our golf events, the Golden Mike dinner at the Waldorf each year and the "Angels" Campaign for corporate contributors. But the Endowment Fund, where your contributions are held in perpetuity remains the most vital and essential element which underpins and sustains our humanitarian work among the less fortunate in our profession.
In the last few years, your Broadcasters Foundation has dispensed over $2.9 million to 387 recipients in 33 states since it grew as a labor of love and necessity out of the original Broadcast Pioneers, founded by the legendary H.M. Kaltenborn and guided carefully over the years by Lowell Thomas, Ward Quaal, Ed McLaughlin and Jim Delmonico.
We provide emergency assistance to the less fortunate in our broadcasting family, restoring dignity and bringing life's necessities to many retired colleagues and those who have run afoul of the turbulent cyclical winds of today's uncertain economic climate.
Some had illustrious careers and did quite well until, through no fault of their own, they were overtaken in the prime of their lives by a sudden catastrophic illness for which their families were ill-prepared. Many were without health insurance or government assistance of any kind. All were hurting, several forgotten and some almost destitute.
We've assisted widows struggling to hold shattered families together following the untimely death of a spouse from a devastating disease. And, working with state associations, the Foundation was there to help fellow broadcasters and their families get back up following the devastation of natural disasters like Katrina, Ike and the California wildfires.
All this was made possible by your generosity. One of our recipients recently sent this note to our national headquarters in Greenwich. It should have properly gone to you and our other benefactors:
"When my family and I were really up against it after my stroke (down and out is more like it!) and then with my wife's debilitating illness … the Foundation not only provided assistance with those monthly grants, you gave us back our dignity and something even more precious — you gave us hope … and things are now much improved or at least manageable. God bless. Yours is a noble work."
Finally, one of our other prominent contributors (you know the name of this legendary broadcaster) recently e-mailed:
"Life — and our profession — has been very good to me and mine. I've taken a lot from this business. Sure, I worked hard for it, but with a little luck thrown in, I guess, I've done well. But until you got that marvelous Foundation up and running … there was really no way to 'give back' …"
So by now you know the story of our charitable Mission and you're also very aware of the existence of the unique Foundation you help sustain.
We're thus hopeful you will continue — or even increase — your participation in that work.
As in the past, all major Gifts to the Endowment Fund are acknowledged in our Annual Report which is widely distributed to several thousand active broadcasters all across the nation.
You have their thanks — and also the heartfelt gratitude of countless fellow broadcasters struggling in the heartland with illness, loneliness and misfortune.
Individual and Corporate contributions are fully deductible and may be made to the Endowment Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a certified and registered 501(c)3 Public Charity:
Please send whatever you can … to our national office in Greenwich c/o our new President Jim Thompson.
The Broadcasters Foundation of America
Seven Lincoln Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06830