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KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo received the 2016 C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year Award. (Credit: KPBS) KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo received the 2016 C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year Award. (Credit: KPBS)

KPBS Receives National Awards

KPBS is awarded two national honors for its philanthropic success.

KPBS, San Diego was recently recognized with two national awards for philanthropic success in public media. KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo was named the Development Professional of the Year and the KPBS Producers Club was honored for its philanthropy. Both awards highlight the growth and success of KPBS since Karlo became general manager in 2009.

C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year Award

Karlo received the 2016 C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year Award. This annual honor recognizes the outstanding work of a development professional that inspires others to succeed and grow in their own careers. Karlo received the award at the annual Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC).

“This award represents the highest levels of professional achievement in the public broadcasting development community, and is a mark of true distinction,” Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO, said. “This year, I’m especially proud to honor Tom Karlo, who has brought new energy and vision to KPBS’ service to the greater San Diego community, and has been an inspirational leader not only at KPBS but also for the entire public media system.”

“Throughout his career, Tom has embodied passion and commitment to the mission of public media, inspiring everyone to aim higher and reach further,” Betsy Gerdeman, senior vice president of PBS Development Services, said. “He is dedicated to his community and works tirelessly to build relationships with new donors while fostering deeper connections with current supporters. Under Tom’s leadership, KPBS has secured new funding that has allowed the station to invest resources in local news production and double their content staff.”

The C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year Award was established in 1990 and given as part of the 2016 PBS Development Awards, which recognize member stations for outstanding corporate support, membership, philanthropy and special achievement efforts in local communities.

About Tom Karlo

Karlo has been KPBS’ general manager since February 2009, but his career at KPBS began in 1973 as a part-time assistant while attending San Diego State University. Karlo is only the fifth general manager in KPBS’ history. Prior to becoming general manager, he served as associate general manager for more than a decade.

Under Karlo’s leadership, the station has dedicated itself to serving as a trusted source of news in San Diego. This work includes the creation of “KPBS Evening Edition.” Karlo has also brought together the radio and television stations to focus on delivering high quality news across platforms. In addition, KPBS’ online content shifted to focus on news, and he expanded the radio schedule to feature news and information 24 hours a day.

Karlo is very community driven in his role as general manager. He spends much of his time representing KPBS in the community and deepening relationships with new and current donors and corporate partners.

Outside of KPBS, Karlo serves as a board member for PBS. He is Chair of the PBS Station Services Committee. He also serves on the PBS Executive Committee, the National Policy Advisory Committee, and the PBS Spectrum Task Force. Locally, Karlo is on the board of Sharp Health Care and Sharp Grossmont Hospital and is a member of the San Diego Downtown Rotary.

Philanthropy Award

In addition to Karlo’s honor, PBS also recognized the KPBS Producers Club with the Philanthropy Award. The KPBS Producers Club represents the organization’s most generous KPBS annual contributors as well as philanthropic individuals and families committed to sustaining KPBS’ ability to reach beyond the status quo – on air and in the community. KPBS has implemented a highly sophisticated engagement program with the Producers Club, so members get to experience KPBS on a deeper level in exciting ways. It leverages the passion members have for the organization and deepens the shared connection to the mission, allowing members to become true fundraising ambassadors.

The KPBS Development team attributes much of the Producers Club success to the volunteer committee, led by Kitty Wolcott of Del Mar, Calif. Rounding out the committee are Patty Nussbaum, Julie Hatch and Kathy Bettles, all of La Jolla, Calif.

“The Producers Club Committee has breathed new life into a program that had been around for nearly 30 years,” Karlo said. “These ladies are so passionate and dedicated to helping KPBS grow and thrive. Their insights and support are priceless and we couldn’t have grown as much as we have in the last five years without them.”

In FY16, Producers Club membership grew to 1,400 members, who brought in $2.1 million - effectively doubling this revenue stream in five years. KPBS has shown true best practices for community relationship building by bringing together a dedicated group of people who value the organization and want to sustain it for future generations.

PBS Development Awards

The 2016 Development Awards were presented at this year’s PMDMC in Boston. The five category winners were presented at the PBS Showcase on Aug. 10, and the C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year was presented from the PMDMC main stage on Aug. 12.