(By Deborah Parenti) Along with the holiday commercials and non-stop Christmas music, ’tis the season for the sounds of annual appeals and charitable drives. From canned goods and toys to the familiar ring of the Salvation Army kettle bells and a torrent of mailed appeals, one thing is clear: this is the “giving-est” time of the year.
And statistics support that. It’s estimated that approximately 50% of all donations are made during the holiday season.
If you’re like me, you have a list of donations that are constants. It could be a children’s hospital, veterans’ organization, or a food bank. There are so many needs and so many worthy causes. All of them deserve our support. All of them do good work and provide vital services.
But for those in radio and television, there’s one that should hit especially close to home. It’s the Broadcasters Foundation of America, an organization founded more than 70 years ago that provides an anonymous safety net to industry professionals who find themselves in need due to critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, or other serious misfortune.
And it’s an organization that depends on the support of the broadcast family to carry out its important mission. If you are reading this now, that family probably includes you.
Of course, most of us are fortunate enough to never have to turn to the Broadcasters Foundation for help. Even in our worst of times, there is a light at the end of our tunnel.
But what about those who face crisis or disaster and look down the road, only to see more darkness?
In 60 seconds, everything can change for any one of us. A life-altering medical diagnosis, a car crash on a slick road, a tornado or hurricane that sweeps away everything we worked for. That’s all it takes. No matter how prepared we are or think we are, we all know, or have heard about, someone not as lucky.
That’s where the Broadcasters Foundation steps in, the only organization with the sole purpose of assisting broadcasters in need. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of needy broadcasters and their families. Over the past five years, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided support to broadcasters in more than 35 states and territories, contributing millions of dollars in aid to more than 1,000 broadcasters and their families.
And make no mistake. These are broadcast professionals who have worked hard and are proud members of the family — our family. Unfortunately, they have also experienced unthinkable tragedy and found themselves in need of a safety net.
Their cubicle — their studio — could be right across the hall from yours or in another market. No matter where they are, they are family. They are broadcasters.
I hope you’ll take a moment now to go to the Broadcasters Foundation of America website and make a donation. Your help will offer a light of hope in the dark tunnel some will experience over the coming year. And if you know someone who needs that help, make sure they are aware of the Broadcasters Foundation, too. Donate — spread the word — your family will love you for it. And so will you.
Deborah Parenti is Publisher of Radio Ink. She can be reached at [email protected]