Community Partners are Sustaining Donors for KEET’s Early Education Services
As part of its long-standing commitment to early education, KEET goes into the community in Eureka, CA each month with literacy-based “StoryTime” workshops designed for local children and their families. In each workshop, KEET’s education staffer reads a story and conducts activities related to that month’s PBS KIDS programming priorities and/or tentpole events.
When cuts in state funding threatened the future of this community service, KEET got creative about funding options. With sustainer giving a growing part of public television stations’ membership programs across the country, KEET saw an opportunity to put a twist on sustainer giving and create a special sustainer category for its local StoryTime workshop beneficiaries.
In 2013, the station was visiting roughly 14 local organizations each month with its StoryTime workshops, ranging from daycares to public elementary schools to private preschools (many of which were in low-income areas). Participating organizations were asked to contribute $20 a month to continue the service, and almost all signed on. Two years later, all remain sustaining donors and KEET has added more organizations to the workshop roster. Each month’s workshop theme and content is tied to the national PBS KIDS program priorities calendar, and so once created, it is easy to replicate at multiple locations, keeping costs down.
While dollars raised are fairly modest when it comes to total net revenue, the partner sustainer program has more than covered the direct costs of the StoryTime workshops and has ensured that the program can continue to make a difference for local low-income families.