Gray Television’s Stations Help to Raise Over $12.6 Million for Local Relief Efforts in March and April
ATLANTA, May 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Gray Television, Inc. (“Gray”) (NYSE: GTN) announced today that, during March and April 2020 alone, our television stations collectively helped to raise more than $12,600,000 in donations benefiting local residents and local organizations in need. The efforts included a wide variety of telethons, on-air and online fundraisers, musical concerts, and other events lasting from one hour to a few weeks.
Many of the stations launched their campaigns after learning about the difficulties that local food banks and other worthy charities were experiencing as public health concerns resulted in the cancelation or curtailment of their normal fundraising activities, just as they experienced dramatic increases in need for their services. Some of the stations’ fundraising efforts involved local advertising partners and/or other local broadcasters who also chose to use their resources to give back in these difficult times. In addition, Gray stations have worked very hard to support local businesses during the public health emergency. In early April, Gray’s stations launched interactive, online local business directories to enable residents to find which businesses remained open – and their new hours. The directories also allow online visitors to place orders directly through the site for pickup or delivery, obtain coupons, and even apply for jobs. By the end of April, more than 14,500 local businesses joined the online directories (all for free) across Gray’s markets.“Local broadcast stations are important local institutions employing talented residents who put community service first, through news, information, and support for local organizations and businesses,” said Gray Executive Chairman and CEO Hilton H. Howell. “We are therefore especially proud that our own stations and staff were able to distinguish themselves so well during the last several weeks by their truly exemplary donations of their time, resources, and creativity to support their local communities through this challenging period.”During March and April 2020, Gray Television’s local stations and employees helped raise needed funds benefiting local organizations, relief funds, and residents through the following initiatives, as well as others not listed below:March 12 – WAGM in Presque Isle, ME, partnered with the United Way of Aroostook for a one-day telethon “Operation 24” benefiting Catholic Charities Food Bank, which supports 24 food pantries in Aroostook County. The effort raised $28,000. March 13 – Lexington, KY, television station WKYT created and broadcast spots soliciting donations to the United Way of the Bluegrass and the Blue Grass Community Fund. Through April 30th, the joint campaign has raised $746,450. March 18 – In Madison, WI, WMTV launched a campaign to raise donations to enable Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to create care boxes for local residents impacted by the pandemic. Through April 30th, the campaign has directly raised $1.5 million and helped the organization attract an additional $1.0 million in outside gifts and grants, bringing in a total of over $2.5 million in just six weeks. March 19 – In Jackson, MS, WLBT partnered with St. Jude on a Dream Home giveaway for the 17th year. As of April 30, the campaign has raised $912,700 towards its goal of $1,100,000 in donations.March 24 – WIBW in Topeka, KS, began participating with its local chamber on their HOST (Helping Others Support Topeka) Initiative that raises donations to purchase gift cards from local restaurants for the benefit of unemployed residents in the community. To date, the HOST program has raised $650,000 and has provided gift cards to 1,200 recipients in Shawnee County.March 24 – In Bowling Green KY, WBKO partnered with Blue Cotton to sell #TeamKentucky T-Shirts and to raise awareness and financial support for United Way of Southern Kentucky’s food pantries. The partnership raised $30,000.March 25 – WIS in Columbia, SC, launched a virtual fundraiser benefiting the Harvest Hope Food Bank with a goal of $50,000. Through April 30th, the effort has raised $281,748, not including a generous $200,000 matching donation from Jim Hudson Automotive. The donations will help provide 1.4 million meals for area residents in need.March 31 – WAFB in Baton Rouge, LA, partnered with Neighbors Federal Credit Union to raise funds for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Every time a member swipes a debit card from the credit union, the bank donates five cents to the food bank. In the first month (April), they raised $6,000 and the goal is $20,000 by the end of June.April 1 – WTVY in Dothan, AL, launched a virtual fundraiser benefiting the Wiregrass Area Food Bank in Dothan. Through April 30th, the station has raised more than $35,000 for the local food bank.April 1 – KSPR in Springfield, MO, launched the 2020 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, which raffles off a new home and other prizes to benefit the hospital in the fight against childhood cancer. Through April 30th, its 2020 Dream Home campaign has raised a record $710,000, well on its way toward the goal of $800,000 by the campaign’s end next month.April 2 – In Myrtle Beach, SC, WMBF initiated Carolina Cares, a virtual fundraiser benefiting the Salvation Army. Through April 30th, the station has raised more than $50,000.April 4 – WOIO in Cleveland, OH, partnered with iHeart Radio and the Cleveland Cavaliers to broadcast a 3-hour telethon featuring local athletes, celebrities, and performers, raising over $155,000 for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the United Way.