WBGU-PBS is one of 26 public television stations across the country to receive national recognition for community engagement efforts. The station was presented the My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) on Sept. 2.
The station was honored for its "Building a Living Legacy of Hope," a cancer awareness project, and "There's No Place Like Home," a mortgage foreclosure outreach project.
“The My Source Community Engagement project is one of the most rewarding endeavors we've been involved with,” said Mark Erstling, CPB senior vice president, who came from Washington, D.C., to present the award during a reception for the station's community partners in the projects. “This award demonstrates the important services WBGU-PBS provides to the community and is a reflection of the staff's skill and sensitivity to tuning in to the needs of individuals at two of the most difficult times of their lives—facing cancer or mortgage foreclosure.”
Accepting the national award were President Carol Cartwright; Patrick Fitzgerald, WBGU general manager and director of television services, and Jan Osborn, chair of WBGU-PBS' Public Advisory Council for Television.
Cartwright thanked the CPB for “this important recognition of partnerships,” as well as community partners and WBGU staff members for “having the ideas and stepping forward to launch these two important initiatives. For over 45 years, WBGU-PBS has been a very important part of our public service mission, connecting Bowling Green State University with our communities,” she said.
“These two projects show the power of what locally owned and operated public television can do. BGSU and locally based community agencies are extending the impact of services well beyond what otherwise could be accomplished,” Fitzgerald said.
For "Building a Living Legacy of Hope," WBGU and its partners launched an extensive campaign that included building awareness of "standard-of-care" services and support available locally, and providing cancer survivors who might be isolated with information and sources of support.
Outreach activities included a community health fair, fielding questions during two locally produced programs on "Living With Cancer" and "The Changing Face of Cancer Research and Clinical Trials," and setting up phone banks of oncologists, cancer survivors and clinical trial administrators to field calls during a series of cancer programs WBGU aired in June. The culminating event, held at the station, enabled cancer survivors and their loved ones to record and share their experiences and inspirational advice with others.
Area agencies and organizations donated $8,000 to the “There’s No Place Like Home” project. WBGU and a group of new community partners joined to present information on community resources available for those who might be at risk for foreclosure in a “NW Ohio Journal Special Report: Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention.” The two-hour program aired live on April 14, 2008. Local experts answered calls throughout the broadcast offering advice on how to prepare for and prevent foreclosure and presented phone numbers of agencies and resources, by county.
While producing the program, WBGU formed new alliances with banks in Allen, Ottawa and Erie counties and WSOS Community Action. This continuing partnership resulted in a successful grant application to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati for a $200,000 foreclosure mitigation grant. In all, the program encompasses 12 lenders and WSOS, and serves Huron, Erie, Wyandot, Seneca, Sandusky, Ottawa, Wood, Hancock, Putnam, Allen and Lucas counties.
The consortium is now looking to engage additional lending institutions and local governments in a regional foreclosure recovery program as part of the $4 billion Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Preservation Program passed by Congress this summer.