The Broadcasters Foundation of America, through a multi-faceted outreach campaign, has raised about $50,000 in the past month to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, according to foundation President Jim Thompson.
But meanwhile it has disbursed perhaps $132,000, and the amount could triple as more requests from Puerto Rico and the California fires arrive.
Who benefits from this money? A family may have suffered a collapsed roof; it may have lost furniture or computer equipment or other household goods worth thousands of dollars, but may have a limited income and little or no insurance. BFA has a program under which broadcast professionals can request $1,000 one-time emergency grants to help them back on their feet.
The foundation is extra busy at times like this, when one disaster follows on another. Office & Grant Manager Emily Barratt, President Jim Thompson, Vice President Peter Doyle and Chairman Dan Mason all play roles in informing the broadcast community, evaluating numerous requests for assistance and authorizing checks. Thompson said the process requires six steps but the foundation aims to move quickly and usually sends a grant check via overnight delivery for qualified requests.
An important part of the process is to inform broadcasters in states affected by emergencies. Doyle handles contact with relevant broadcast association heads — for instance in California and Texas — asking them to forward grant information to their constituencies.
The key, says Thompson, is to spread the word.
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BFA has a separate program that provides monthly grants to people in the business who are sick, unable to work and perhaps can’t keep their families together. The video below has more about the foundation’s general mission.