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Making a Difference: The joy of Giving Back

Tim Tassie said he first discovered the value of KET in the early 1970s when he was working as a middle school science teacher in Louisville. KET had begun transmitting educational programming throughout the Commonwealth, and Tassie regularly propped a TV antenna in his classroom’s third-story window to pick up the signal for a KET science series, which was a big hit with his students and generated a lot of productive discussions.

“It was an experience that showed me the real potential of KET and instructional television,” Tassie said.

Soon after, Tassie took a job with KET, where he worked for more than 35 years before retiring as KET’s director of education. Throughout his career, traveling and visiting with educators across Kentucky, Tassie said he witnessed firsthand just how important KET was to the Commonwealth. It was a view likewise shared by his wife, Carolyn, a lifelong librarian with Western Kentucky University and, later, Transylvania University.

A photo portrait of Tim Tassie seated in a striped shirt.

Tassie was raised in a Louisville family that had a history of financially supporting local and statewide organizations. Tassie and his wife continued the tradition, making a point in their estate planning to include financial gifts for organizations they believed in, one of which was KET.

I’m here to tell you that the things KET does change people’s lives.

Tim Tassie

But in 2019, after Carolyn died from an unexpected bout with cancer, Tassie said he was moved to do something immediately, both to honor the memory of his wife and to experience the joy of giving while he was around to witness its impact.

“I thought, why wait until I die to make these gifts?” Tassie said. “I saw organizations that had needs and I decided, let’s start the giving now.”

The donation he made to KET created the Carolyn Tassie Memorial Fund, a lasting gift that helped fund on-air programming on KET through the KET/PBS Program Fund as well as new KET productions that tackled subjects his wife would have found meaningful.

The gift has already helped support one KET production: The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia, a documentary about the intrepid women of the Depression era who traveled on horseback delivering books to families living in the mountains and remote parts of Eastern Kentucky. “This project is something Carolyn truly would have loved,” Tassie said. “And it’s been wonderful to see how her endowment has helped create a program that is valued by so many people in Kentucky.”

The experience of watching his gift make an impact, Tassie said, has been a rewarding one. And he said he looks forward to witnessing the other ways in which the endowment will support KET and, in turn, benefit the people of Kentucky.

“KET was founded on the idea that everyone in Kentucky deserves equal access to education and opportunity,” Tassie said. “And I’m here to tell you that the things KET does change people’s lives. So I’m happy to give back to KET and return the favor after everything KET has done for me. That’s what being a community is all about.”

To learn more about making KET part of your estate planning, please contact Kacie Miller at 859-258-7206 or kmiller@ket.org.