Posted by PBS Publicity on

PBS Development Conference will be held
at the JW Marriot in Palm Desert, CA October 3rd-5th

Arlington, VA, October 1, 2007 - PBS will honor the 5 winners of the 2007 Public Television Leadership Award on Friday, October 5 at the closing banquet of the annual PBS Development Conference. This year's meeting, which brings together over 900 fundraising professionals from around the nation, is being held at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, CA. The award recognizes individuals, organizations and corporations who, through their sustained commitment, have secured major funding for public television and whose efforts have resulted in lasting benefits to their station and/or the PBS system at large. This year's recipients are Monroe and Suzette Berkman, David and Peggy Starr, George Batchelor and the Batchelor Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Canon U.S.A., Inc..

Individuals, organizations, and corporations were nominated for the Public Television Leadership Award by PBS member stations. The Development Advisory Committee (DAC), a group of station professionals who provide ongoing counsel and guidance to PBS, selected honorees based on their ongoing commitment to local stations and to public broadcasting, specifically, their use of talent and resources for extraordinary actions and ability to secure major funding.

"PBS and its member stations are proud to recognize the recipients of this year's Public Television Leadership Award. These individuals and organizations offer critical financial support, but they do so much more than simply open their wallets; they also open their hearts, investing valuable time and energy and to ensure public television fulfills our obligation to the American people. We are immensely thankful for their support," said Paula A. Kerger, PBS's president and chief executive officer.

MONROE AND SUZETTE BERKMAN; WEDU, TAMPA, FL: Mr. and Mrs. Berkman have been tremendous supporters of WEDU, lending their leadership and vision to the station at the highest levels. After more than 25 years of supporting their community-owned PBS station through generous amounts of time, Mr. and Mrs. Berkman gifted $1.5 million to the new WEDU Endowment Campaign, setting the tone for the station's 50th Anniversary in 2008. Mr. Berkman has been a member of the Board of Directors for 7 years and served as Chairman for three of them. During his tenure, he expanded the scope of the Board committees; engaged member's active participation; and, encouraged them to make a personal commitment to major annual gifts. While Chairman, WEDU was awarded the prestigious Kresge Foundation Challenge Grant and successfully completed its first and only Capital Campaign, raising over $13 million. Mr. Berkman was instrumental in bringing an antiquities exhibit to the Tampa Museum of Art, a joint venture with WEDU. Mrs. Berkman is a leader and philanthropist in the community, serving on numerous Boards in support of the performing arts and the University of South Florida's Library. "The legacy the Berkmans and their children are creating through this historic endowment is a beautiful reflection of the values they hold so dear," said Dick Lobo, WEDU's President and CEO. "Their love of the arts, the human spirit and the creative potential of this rapidly expanding medium we call television is inspirational to all of public television."

DAVID AND PEGGY STARR; WGBY, SPRINGFIELD, MA: Mr. and Mrs. Starr have been instrumental in raising millions of dollars for arts and cultural organizations throughout the region. "The Starr's have worked tirelessly to ensure that the people of Western Massachusetts and the entire Connecticut River Valley have healthy and growing artistic, cultural and civic organizations," said Russell J. Peotter, General Manager of WGBY. "They have been especially staunch supporters of public television. Beyond providing advice and counsel, they have made substantial personal contributions to WGBY." Peggy Starr, a longtime Board member, last year was named a Life Member of WGBY's Board. Her most significant contribution to WGBY was persuading station management to create the Edward and Janet Murrow Society for major donors. Now in its 20th year, the Murrow Society has generated millions of dollars for the station. David Starr chaired WGBY's recent capital campaign. He was also a founder of the Springfield Business Friends of The Arts, which raises funds for WGBY, The Springfield Museums, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and CityStage. He also conceptualized and then organized the "Cultural Coordinating Committee," an informal group of cultural, business and civic leaders who meet once a month to collaborate on ways to strengthen the cultural scene. This year, the Starrs created an Arts Endowment at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to provide future funding for the four arts organizations they have worked with for three decades.

GEORGE BATCHELOR/BATCHELOR FOUNDATION; WPBT, MIAMI, FL: Mr. Batchelor and the Batchelor Foundation have a long history of philanthropic support for WPBT, which began with a single anonymous donation during a pledge drive in 1987. Since then, Mr. Batchelor created the Batchelor Fund for the WBPT Endowment, served on the Board of Directors and became chairman of the Board in 1995. He continued his service on the Board until his passing in 2002. Following his death the Batchelor Foundation and his family continued to support his love of science, nature, health and environmental advocacy programs. In 2005 WPBT and the Batchelor Foundation combined two of Mr. Batchelor's interests: WPBT and Florida's rich wildlife in WILD FLORIDA, a locally produced program that is currently celebrating its second season. The foundation has also been pivotal in working with the station to realize their idea for KidVision Day at the Miami Zoo that allows children the opportunity to meet the animals, have their picture taken with Curious George and receive a one year pass for becoming a member of WPBT. In 2000, WPBT began their Capital Campaign for the digital conversion; Mr. Batchelor had the forethought to understand the significance this would have on public television and specifically, WPBT. He put his full weight behind the project and donated several million dollars of his personal money while urging his fellow Board members to match his donation. The campaign was a rousing success and enabled WPBT to complete their conversion. "Mr. Batchelor and his life's work in philanthropy have been an inspiration to our entire community," said Rick Schneider, President and CEO of WPBT. "Not only did he contribute a significant amount of money and his time to Channel 2, but he also left a legacy behind for his family and foundation to carry out for generations to come."

THE ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION; WGBH, BOSTON, MA: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded an extraordinary number of grants to WGBH and the public television system at-large. Among private foundations supporting WGBH, it has been the single largest donor, awarding its first grant to WGBH for SPACESHIP TO MOSCOW in 1984. Since then, the foundation has served as the financial lynchpin to both AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and NOVA. The Foundation's mission of supporting "innovation and creativity" has also meant they have awarded seed money to WGBH projects that other funders considered to be too risky. As a result, they have been essential to attracting additional resources for numerous innovative projects from other foundations, such as the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. "The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has demonstrated truly extraordinary commitment, both in the length of service as well as the generous level of support," said Margaret Drain, WGBH's Vice President for National Programming. "Their generosity transcends WGBH, as the Foundation has also supported WNET, KQED and KCET. They are true champions of public television." Recent Sloan-supported shows produced by WGBH and aired by PBS include: THE ALASKA PIPELINE; TEST TUBE BABIES; THE GREAT FEVER, about the successful eradication of yellow fever; the Emmy Award-winning THE PILL; EINSTEIN'S BIG IDEA; THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, which won both Peabody and Emmy Awards; NOVA scienceNOW, with host Neil deGrasse Tyson; and FORGOTTEN GENIUS, about chemist Percy Julian, the first African-American elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

CANON U.S.A., INC.; Thirteen/WNET, NEW YORK, NY: Spanning over two decades, Canon U.S.A., Inc. has been a major corporate underwriter for popular past and present PBS programs, INNOVATION and most recently, NATURE. Their multimillion dollar contributions and public usage of the NATURE logo in advertisements and trade shows have increased the show's exposure, and enabled Thirteen/WNET, NY to receive multiple Community Service Grants.

"We are honored to receive this distinguished award," said William Reed, senior vice president and general manager, Corporate Communications, Canon U.S.A., Inc. "The 2007 Public Television Leadership Award underscores our commitment to supporting a wide range of environmental programs that raise awareness for the need to preserve and conserve our planet's resources and nature's treasures for future generations."

"Canon understands and appreciates the power of images to teach and enlighten, and its support of NATURE over the past 17 years has helped raise the environmental consciousness of viewers at home and students in classrooms across the country," said Barbara Bantivoglio, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Thirteen. "On behalf of Thirteen's CEO, Bill Baker, and its president, Neal Shapiro, I am pleased to congratulate Canon on this prestigious award."

Canon has also helped make 1.2 million NATURE educational, print materials available to science teachers nationwide in grades 5-8. In addition, they supplied cameras to the National Teacher Training Institute's workshops in New York, where educators were taught classroom strategies to integrate NATURE video, online and print materials into the curriculum. Canon is also a co-sponsor of NATURE's event at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival for the third year and integrates the program during their annual Earth Day festivities.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. The Company is listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America and is on the 2006 BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands." Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), is a top patent holder of technology, ranking third overall in the U.S. in 2006, with global revenues of $34.9 billion.

About the PBS Development Conference
The PBS Development Conference is an annual meeting where public television professionals from over 130 public broadcasting licensees gather to exchange ideas and gain new perspectives on how to strengthen the case for support. The Conference draws upon experienced fundraisers within public broadcasting while welcoming the fresh perspectives from the larger philanthropic community. Attendees find opportunities for networking, idea sharing and brainstorming in every area of fundraising. In addition to numerous fundraising professionals, the PBS Development Conference also attracts communications, education and outreach professionals and station management from around the country for three full days of networking, education and inspiration.

About PBS
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches 73 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for preK-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.



Jennifer Daddura, 703/739/5223, jedaddura@pbs.org