$500,000 Grant to Support WYSO as an Independent Nonprofit

From left: Dayton Foundation President Mike Parks, WYSO
General Manager Neenah Ellis, Eichelberger Trustee Gary Leppla,
Antioch College President Tom Manley, Eichelberger Trustees
Jamie Greer and Gary Froelich

Antioch College recently announced plans to establish WYSO as an independent public radio station serving southwest Ohio. The station, which is owned and operated by the college, was founded nearly 61 years ago by Antioch students.

As part of the transition, Antioch will assign WYSO’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public radio broadcast license to a newly formed nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Antioch College will receive $3.5 million as partial reimbursement for its decades of investment in WYSO. Led by a $2 million pledge from Charles D. Berry, the fundraising effort by WYSO’s leaders already has raised $3,415,000 toward the $3.5 million goal.

Among the donations is one from The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of The Dayton Foundation, which generously supported the project with a $500,000 grant.

“The incredible $500,000 investment from The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation came at a time when we needed to prove to Antioch College that we could successfully raise the money required,” said Luke Dennis, director of Development for WYSO. “It very nearly put us over the top.”

In appreciation for the gift, the station’s media training center where local people learn to make radio stories, will be renamed the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices.

“Sally and Jack Eichelberger loved their community. They would be thankful for the opportunity to support the evolution of WYSO to become an independent public radio station,” said Gary Froelich, a trustee of The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation. “This contribution allows Sally and Jack to join with so many others to assure WYSO will continue and grow. The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices will strive to maintain our wonderful community heritage and preserve real voices of our marvelous region.”

In addition to the Eichelberger Foundation gift, The Dayton Foundation has provided backroom support to WYSO and Antioch College throughout the effort.

“The Dayton Foundation played a major role in our success,” Luke Dennis said. “Foundation President Mike Parks and the rest of his team now are providing guidance and support as we establish ourselves as an independent nonprofit.”

A stand-alone WYSO will begin operations once all necessary funds have been raised, which is expected to occur by March 31, 2019. In the meantime, fundraising efforts will continue, and gifts above the $3.5 million goal will support the station’s transition efforts.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for WYSO, and we are ready to stand on our own,” said Neenah Ellis, general manager of WYSO. “WYSO is a strong organization with dedicated staff and volunteers who are ready to guide the station in the years to come. We are a vibrant public radio station with a bright future.”

Support WYSO’s transition to an independent public radion station. Donate to the Campaign for WYSO’s Future Fund.

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File date: 02.28.19

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