To honor KET’s founder in a meaningful way, this fund was publicly launched during KET’s 30th-anniversary celebration in 1998 with a $1 million goal. Mr. Press’ dream of a public forum that advances education and citizenship has grown into the nation’s largest public television network.
Today, public affairs programming, like Kentucky Tonight and Comment on Kentucky, remains a priority hallmark of KET’s local production capacity, and this endowment will make possible nightly, statewide news coverage; more timely, regional special reports; original profiles about key figures in Kentucky’s public life; toolkits for use in civics, history and journalism classrooms; and the preservation of the state’s largest digital library of the powerful, pundits, issues and opinions. To strengthen and secure Mr. Press’ legacy when he, his admirers, his peers and those he served could appreciate it, subsequent campaigns were launched in 2002 and on Mr. Press’s 90th birthday in 2011. In 2019, KET lost its founding visionary just weeks after this fund’s initial payout.
The following generous donors have contributed to the O. Leonard Press 21st Century Fund/Endowment for Public Affairs:
- Rich Boehne
- James E. and the late Lucy Bassett, III
- Mr. & Mrs. Henry Durham
- Virginia and the late Victor Fox
- Jim and Pat Host
- Humana Foundation
- Ms. Ruth Johnson
- Mrs. Betty Jones and the late David A. Jones, Sr.
- The late Mrs. Sara C. Kaufmann
- The late W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little
- Louisville Chapter of the Links, Inc.
- The late Mrs. Alice Matheny
- Donna Moore Campbell
- The late O. Leonard and Lillian Press
- Lowell and Sasha Press
- The late Mr. & Mrs. Lon B. Rogers
- Mrs. Martha Helen and the late Mr. Albert P. Smith, Jr.
- Sandra H. Welch
- The late Mr. William T. Young, Sr.
- The late Ms. Wilma Zimmerman