WILL Pressroom

Illinois Public Media receives over $2 million in estate gifts


Illinois Public Media has recently received $2.8 million through two separate estate gifts: The Geneva and R. Linn Belford Fund and the Howard Rutan Endowment. Donors often wish to help with a specific need when planning for an estate gift. Some want to help respond to a need for new technology and equipment while others may want to provide support for a particular type of program—science, the arts, or children's education, for example. It is with these two estate gifts Illinois Public Media can accomplish both in 2016.

“No matter how long I work in public media, I continue to be amazed by the generosity and passion of our supporters,” said Moss Bresnahan, CEO and president of Illinois Public Media. “Both of these substantial gifts demonstrate the enthusiasm we share with our supporters to carry on our mission of bringing great public media to the next generation.”

The Geneva and R. Linn Belford Fund was created with a $1.7 million gift left to WILL by their estate. Thanks to this generous donation, Illinois Public Media was able to upgrade the mixer boards in each of the WILL radio studios this summer. The new technology provides both high quality audio for the listener as well as ease of operation for reporters, hosts, and production operation and technical staff.

“The old mixer boards came with us when we moved to Campbell Hall in 1999, so they were definitely due for an upgrade,” said Danda Beard, director of development. “Replacing technology is an expensive endeavor that budget cuts had made impossible, but through the Belfords’ generosity, we were able to make this necessary purchase.”

According to the Belford’s niece, Cynthia Robins, the couple had always been ‘all in’ when it came to public media and this gift reflects their continued commitment. “Their donations were not just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all of the wonderful programming that enriched their lives in the past, but also a recognition that public television and radio depend on private donors to be able to enrich others’ lives in the future.”

When Howard Rutan planned his estate, he left a generous charitable endowment to WILL. At the time, he said, “I am not going to need my estate when I am gone, and it makes me feel good to know that WILL will take care of it.”

Illinois Public Media is devoting the Howard Rutan Endowment of more than $1.1 million to support the British programming he loved so much. “Howard’s enthusiasm for WILL and British programming was well-known here at Illinois Public Media, and I am proud we can continue to share his joy of public broadcasting with a new generation of viewers,” continued Beard.

It is through this thoughtful estate planning Illinois Public Media can continue to bring local viewers their favorite British programming, such as Call The Midwife, Indian Summers, The Tunnel, and the wide variety of series from Masterpiece.