About the Headliners Foundation
The Headliners Foundation of Texas’ mission is to promote excellence in journalism by providing scholarships to student journalists; recognizing and rewarding outstanding work in professional journalists; and supporting special projects that promote journalistic excellence and preserve history.
By Jane Greig
Some members recognize that the Headliners Foundation, with its mission to promote good journalism, sets the Club apart from other business and social clubs. To others, the Foundation is a curious line item on the monthly bill – “voluntary contribution.” But how did this organization come to be and what is it now?
Approximately 30 years ago, Headliners Club Board Trustee Roy Cates, planted the seed of an idea: Why not make the Club’s awards program a tax-exempt organization? This seed blossomed into a multimillion dollar endowed non-profit – the Headliners Foundation of Texas. In 1983, the Headliners Club formalized its awards program into an organization dedicated to promoting excellence in journalism. They granted scholarships for promising students, recognized media talent and sponsored unique journalism projects. The Foundation’s creation signified the Club’s commitment to support good journalism.
National talent such as Walter Cronkite of CBS News; W. Thomas Johnson, publisher of the Los Angeles Times; Thomas McCartin, President and CEO of Times Mirror National Marketing; Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, publisher of the Houston Post; Mike Levy, publisher of Texas Monthly; and Wendell Mayes, radio and cable television executive, were tapped by the Board of Governors for the Foundation’s Advisory Board. The nascent Foundation was touted by former LBJ press secretary George Christian and former Governor
Allan Shivers as an opportunity for Club members to participate in the mission of promoting excellence in journalism in an original fundraising effort.
The 1983 fundraising effort garnered $125,000 which was added to by a $40,000 contribution from the Club’s coffers. The Foundation’s endowment in 2015 has grown to nearly $3.5 million. To date the Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in tuition support to more than 400 students, recognized 300 plus journalists, participated in the acquisition of photographic archives from Newsweek and the New York Herald Tribune at the University of Texas and hosted journalism giants such as William Safire, Tom Brokaw, Charles Osgood, Bob Schieffer, David Broder, Helen Thomas, Sam Donaldson, Karen Tumulty and Ann W. Compton.
The Foundation also maintains this website, where interviews and information from active journalists and scholarship recipients are posted. In cooperation with the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters, the Foundation sponsors an annual contest to recognize the best in Texas journalism. The creation of the George Christian Scholarship Fund and administration of the Stuart Long Memorial Scholarships for Aspiring Journalists are two recent efforts by the Foundation to promote excellence in journalism. The seed Roy Cates planted certainly brought forth quality fruit and Headliners Club members, journalists and media consumers are the beneficiaries.
Jane Greig is Secretary of the Headliners Foundation of Texas. As a lifestyle columnist for four years and the consumer columnist (a k a “answer lady”) at the Austin American-Statesman for more than 14 years, Greig honed her journalist skills and won a Dallas Press Club Katie Award for Specialty Features.