DEI honored veteran fundraiser Jim Lewis with its President's Award, presented at the discretion of DEI chief Doug Eichten for outstanding contributions to public radio development. Lewis, who recently retired as a fundraising consultant with Lewis Kennedy Associates, has "dedicated his life and long career in public broadcasting--not only to serving the American public as a reporter, station manager and fundraising executive for public stations--but he also worked to help all of us," Eichten said during a July 15 session at DEI's Public Media Development and Marketing conference in Pittsburgh. "He has played a major role in the professionalization of development of public broadcasting."
In accepting the award, Lewis urged his development colleagues to recruit and mentor a new generation of talent for public radio, paying special attention to "people of color, from different cultures, and from different races....If we do this well we will have solved the problem of remaining relevant."
Lewis is the first professional fundraiser to receive the President's Award. Previous honorees Carl Kasell of NPR and Ira Glass of This American Life were recognized as major public radio talents who "really got" public radio fundraising and actively participated in it, Eichten told Current.