Not everyone can be Ted Turner and give $1 billion to the United Nations, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of giving going on by cable executives. Some folks are more active than others when it comes to philanthropy. Longtime animal advocate Dob Bennett, Liberty Media’s COO, gave $1 million to the Denver Dumb Friends League to build a new animal shelter south of Denver. Cable veteran June Travis sponsored and financed the immigration of several Bosnian families a few years back and she sits on more than a few charitable organizations’ boards. Mike Hale quit his job as EVP, marketing, for Starz Encore Group last year to devote his time to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in California. Adelphia COO Ron Cooper sits on the Denver Art Museum board. For Starz COO Mark Bauman, benevolence is both a corporate and personal mission. He and his family are involved in helping people in Africa, notably the Congo, which has been ravaged by war and despots. They are also involved with several local charities. Part of Bauman’s job at Starz is overseeing the company’s charitable activities. Last year Starz gave away $600,000 to 45 charities. “And those totals don’t include the hundreds of man hours people donated,” he notes. Among the company’s charitable endeavors: Underwriting about 10% of Make-A-Wish’s Colorado-based wishes a year. Most of Starz’s philanthropic activities, however, start with an employee, Bauman says. “They come to me and we work together to make them happen,” he says. Of course, most major media companies support all kinds of philanthropic activities. For example, Viacom is heavily involved in various AIDS undertakings and Time Warner has pet projects pertaining to literacy and education. “I look at this part of my life and my job as an honor,” Bauman says. One year, Starz ended up with hundreds of extra blankets from a promotion. Bauman, his son, two employees and their spouses took the blankets to two homeless shelters in Denver and personally passed them out. “That experience touched me and my son’s life forever,” he says. One-on-one philanthropy is gratifying, but bigger-picture involvement can bring similar fulfillment for some folks. Since his retirement from cable in 1993, Gus Hauser, who ran Warner Amex and Hauser Communications, has worked full time developing and funding sweeping international charitable projects. Hauser and his wife concentrate “on funding things that make a difference. We originate our own projects,” he says. Among them: the Hauser Center for Non-Profits at Harvard, which helps other countries develop charitable organizations. He has given away hundreds of millions but says he’s far from being finished. “I don’t sail boats. I don’t play golf. I give money away and figure out where money should go to help people. That’s what I do. I like it,” he says. Trygve Myhren, formerly chairman of American Television & Communications (now Time Warner Cable), CEO of Providence Journal Co. and chairman of Myhren Media, is involved with many charities. He’s sits on or chairs several committees at the University of Denver and has been on the National Jewish Hospital board for 16 years. Although he has given away plenty of money over the years, Myhren believes the giving of time is just as important. “What really separates the smart people from the really smart people is how hard they’ve worked to get where they are and the fact that they know they’re lucky,” he says. “And anyone wise enough to recognize that will give back. I’ve been lucky enough to be successful, and because of that I believe I have an obligation to give back significantly – with my money, my time and my expertise.”

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