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KQED Celebrates Your Legacy Gifts

Earl Blauner with David and Claudia Chittenden

KQED's Earl Blauner (left) with David and Claudia Chittenden, Producer's Circle and Jonathan C. Rice Legacy Society members Credit: Greg Habiby

David and Claudia Chittenden "Aim High" with KQED

In the Fall of 2013, the Gift Planning department sat down with David and Claudia Chittenden, long-time supporters and devoted listeners of KQED, to learn more about their charitable activities and their motivations for giving. The Chittendens' Producer's Circle and Legacy gifts have long supported KQED programming, and help keep it available to millions of Bay Area residents, now and into the future. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

When did KQED become important to you? How has KQED impacted you?
David: It started in 1968 when the original Newsroom was covering a newspaper strike. KQED took the time to educate the public on unfolding events. And it goes back further to my school days at Cranbrook outside of Detroit, Michigan, where the motto is, "Aim High." That standard of excellence in one's work and utilizing one's mind has stayed with me to this day. And I've found those qualities in KQED. You provide a great service to public education. We think the public is better informed about every aspect of our political, social and economic life because of KQED, and its news coverage is a strong example of that. The reporting goes deeper than a 30-second news flash — we hear in-depth discussions on important issues and we can count on learning about both sides of a given story.

Claudia: KQED has made a big impact on the quality of information we receive. It's top notch. I also appreciate the global perspective many of the programs give. I've been exposed to places I've never been, and I have some insight into cultures I've never experienced.

What are some of your favorite programs or services?
David: Except at dinnertime or during travels abroad, we always have KQED Radio on for news and current events. And now we can take it with us everywhere on our smartphones. KQED is a tremendous force in unbiased and thoughtful educational programming. On television, we've been enjoying Foyle's War, "Downton Abbey" and other Masterpiece programs, and Last Tango in Halifax.

Would you share with us your approach to philanthropy?
David: We decided a long time ago that we would support institutions that help educate the public, especially youth. We have been very fortunate, thanks to our careers, and we want to invest in organizations we believe in. At a more fundamental level, we came into this world with nothing and we'll leave the same way—you cannot take it with you.

Claudia: There is much power in being generous. Some years ago, David said, "What should we do to give back to our community?" I said we needed to share — share our good fortune. When I was young, I remember my mother hosting exchange student programs. She was generous with her nurturing, hospitality and care — she gave of herself and those exchange students still contact her today, some 50 years later.

What other organizations do you support?
Claudia: We've supported David's medical school and the Student Conservation Association. We also give to Playworks, a non-profit for kids, and other social and educational programs.

What inspired your support of KQED?
David: Starting in 1974, maybe earlier, we made small donations over the years to KQED. And as we grew older, we set up charitable gift annuities to benefit us during our lives, and at the same time benefit KQED. Since we don't need the annuity income now, we also chose a revocable gift assignment that allows our life income payments from the charitable gift annuity to automatically fund our annual support to KQED. 

Claudia: Another thing we like about KQED is that you all give back. At KQED events, it's really been fun for us to meet the people whose voices we hear on the radio and the faces we see on public television. The staff makes us feel that what we've done is valued. On a larger scale, we see how KQED builds community and continues the legacy of creating programs that educate and that provide insight and awareness of local and world affairs. We feel secure in knowing that KQED will continue educating and improving our community far into the future. That's very exciting.

Dale O'Rourke

Dale O'Rourke was a very good friend of KQED and other Bay Area charities. He set an inspiring example of how donors of all means, backgrounds and interests can be philanthropists.



Caitlin Croughan
Former KQED Board Member
Jonathan C. Rice Legacy Society

"I'm delighted that my gift will one day extend my support far beyond the annual gifts I make to KQED today."




Evelyn and Barry Adler
KQED Volunteers
Jonathan C. Rice Legacy Society

"It is most gratifying to feel that we have been instrumental in the programming that will go on for our children and our grandchildren."



Sarah Turnbull
Jonathan C. Rice Legacy Society

"The voice of KQED is important for young people. I feel that leaving thoughtful funds contributes to life and new energy for the future. I'm a great advocate of endowed funds and KQED has a proven record."



Chuck Forester
Jonathan C. Rice Legacy Society

"KQED does a very good job of representing the communities of San Francisco. It's great to think that what I do now might make a difference 100 years from now."



The Granada

Erling Thor Martinsen

In 2010, Erling "Earl" Thor Martinsen called the KQED Gift Planning and Endowment department to tell us he wished to provide for KQED's future. Earl told us he didn't have much money, but KQED was important to him and he wanted us to have what might be left after his lifetime. He was inspired by seeing how others had made legacy gifts to KQED. Earl also needed an attorney and asked the Gift Planning department for referrals of attorneys to aid him in drafting his first will, and of professional fiduciaries to serve as executor. He completed his plans, and a year later passed away, knowing that his remaining funds would be his legacy to KQED and the people of Northern California. We are grateful for his bequest, which will help keep KQED available to everyone, regardless of age or circumstance, far into the future.

Bob Weiss

A Bequest from Robert (Bob) L. Weiss

Warm, generous, kind, lively and charismatic, Bob was a man who loved life. A great fan of KQED television, Bob became a member of KQED in 1983. Bob and his partner, Nick, became Legacy Society members after including KQED in their living trusts. They continued to volunteer and sustain their annual support of KQED. Bob once revealed, "I have been very fortunate. I come from a family that believed in education and had wide interests. I have a strong belief in the Golden Rule."

At the end of his life, Bob fulfilled his goals to make gifts to family and friends and to charities he loved. KQED is grateful for Bob's volunteerism during his life and ultimately, his unusual bequest — he had acquired substantial real estate and bequeathed to KQED the note he held on one of the properties he sold. Now, the income from the note — and eventually the principal — will support KQED's future. "I get it all from KQED," he once remarked, though KQED has received just as much, if not more, from his generosity.

Barbara Jeanne Lotz

A Bequest from Barbara Jeanne Lotz

Barbara Lotz felt that KQED connected her with a wider world and provided an intellectual community that enriched her life. A musician, writer, and theater producer, Barbara embraced KQED's cultural programming and community reporting. As a long-time member of nearly 20 years, she depended on KQED's reliable accounts of events and deeply appreciated how KQED content educates children, corrects misperceptions about people with disabilities, and breaks down social and economic barriers. According to her close friend, Ron Barton, Barbara was intensely political and passionately interested in the welfare of youth and those who face myriad forms of discrimination. "Barbara extended her generosity to an amazing variety of causes and individuals in need." KQED is grateful to be among those who benefited from her generous support.

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