Local philanthropists Donald and Darlene Shiley and Conrad Prebys have supported the Masterpiece Trust.
San Diegans have taken the lead in preserving a national treasure that has entertained America for more than 40 years.
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Local philanthropists Conrad Prebys and Donald and Darlene Shiley were among the first to support the Masterpiece Trust, created in 2011 to ensure the future of the PBS prime time drama, Masterpiece. The Shileys made a $1 million contribution in March, and Prebys gave $500,000 in April.
Half of all donations to the Masterpiece Trust go to support the donors’ local public television station—in this case KPBS.
KPBS has been a part of San Diego State University since the station’s inception in 1960. Originally known as KEBS, the radio station was a student-run operation housed in the Speech Arts building.
Today, with its headquarters near the southeast corner of campus, KPBS is one of the nation’s most award-winning public broadcast stations and a partner in The Campaign for SDSU, the university’s $500 million fundraising initiative.
“San Diego State and KPBS share a commitment to educating citizens and initiating discussion about the important issues of our time,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS general manager.
Many of KPBS’ most generous supporters have made additional contributions to The Campaign for SDSU, including the Shileys, the Price Family, Joan and Irwin Jacobs and Union Bank.
Masterpiece debuted in 1971, and was hosted for 22 years by the British-born journalist Alistair Cooke. Among the iconic actors featured over the decades were Sir John Gielgud, Glenda Jackson and Dame Diana Rigg.
In 2012, Masterpiece earned 37 Emmy Award nominations from the Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences, the majority for two new series, “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock.”
Darlene Shiley, a frequent contributor to the arts, said the ability to support the Masterpiece Trust and KPBS simultaneously “is the best example of collaboration I know. That others are joining in the effort gives me hope that appreciation of the arts and culture will remain strong in our society.”