Too few citizens of our great country know even the most rudimentary facts about American History. It is hardly taught in schools, and, if it is, it is often laced with the politics and “culture wars” of our time. Consequently, our young people know precious little about even the basic story of America. Such a lack of knowledge about American History poses a peril to the existence of our Republic.
To address that peril, the Witnessing History Education Foundation, Inc. (“WHEF”) was created to produce high-quality documentary films on all aspects of American History for purposes of broadcast on public and cable television, and distribution to public and private schools and schools systems, as well as home schools, the object being to display the films to the widest audiences possible. As a public charity, the WHEF will provide all the films to public and cable broadcasters without any remuneration at all. Likewise, all schools, school systems, and home school cooperatives, will be provided the films, or segmented portions thereof, for classroom use without remuneration. Accompanying the films, and the segmented portions thereof, will be teacher guides. To make the films produced by the WHEF even more available, particularly to home schools, they will be embedded on the foundation’s website for viewing by anyone who simply provides his or her name, physical address, and email address, so the WHEF may communicate with him or her.
To facilitate the distribution of WHEF films to public broadcasters, Kentucky Educational Television, Inc. (“KET”), has agreed to not only broadcast them on its considerable regional network, but forward them to the National Educational Telecommunications Association (“NETA”) for distribution to all PBS network stations. In addition, KET has agreed to collaborate with the WHEF to segment the films for classroom use and to make them, and the teacher guides, available not only to all schools and school systems in its own market, but to schools and school systems across the country. KET is a significant member of the PBS network and enjoys a nation-wide reputation for its educational productions.
The WHEF is in the process of contacting the program and broadcast content directors of cable television networks throughout the country. Films will be forwarded by use of hard-drives and, ultimately, by electronic means.
Ultimately, the WHEF intends to build an American History Center to house all its offices and editing and sound design suites. An auditorium and theatre will be incorporated in the building for the purpose of screening films and for seminars and symposia. It will also include space for the display of artifacts and travelling exhibits.
Incorporated in late 2016, an initial Board of Directors began organizing the WHEF in the summer of 2017. Chaired by Ronald D. Beck of Bowling Green, Kentucky, the initial board consists of Beck, as well as Fred E. Doster and Steve Wilson, both of Lexington, Kentucky, and Neil Rush, DMD, of Cynthiana, Kentucky. Kent Masterson Brown has served as an advisor to the board, not a voting member, in accordance with IRS requirements.
Beck has spent a lifetime in the business of philanthropy, most recently in the department of planned giving of Western Kentucky University. Doster has a background in accounting and has served as chief financial officer for multiple national corporations; he is now the principal of Transact Capital, consulting on mergers and acquisitions. Wilson is the principal of One Kentucky, Inc., a firm specializing in capital acquisition for businesses nationwide. Rush is a dentist, business owner, and life-long student of history; he and his three brothers are regular attendees of Witnessing History battlefield tours.
Meetings of the initial board of directors have been held every week since July, almost without exception. They will continue through March 2018 when the members of a permanent Board of Directors will be announced.
During the course of the meetings of the initial board of directors, the application for federal §501(c)(3) tax exempt status was filed for the WHEF in October 2017. The WHEF thereupon entered into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Bluegrass Community Foundation, Inc. whereby it will serve as the fiscal agent for WHEF, handling all its deposits and necessary payments and issuing the letters acknowledging receipt of tax-deductible gifts. Accordingly, all gifts to the WHEF are tax-deductible now.
The initial board members of the WHEF and the advisor have all entered into confidentiality and conflict of interest agreements to protect the foundation and its donors. They have prepared a comprehensive Strategic Plan for the foundation, along with a proposed budget for the first three years of operation. Both of those documents are works-in-progress. It has been an exhaustive process.
Go to the WHEF website, www.WitnessingHistory.org, for a full explanation of the WHEF goals and the first eight documentary films it plans to produce. We invite you to make a tax-deductible gift to the WHEF. Make your check payable to Bluegrass Community Foundation, Inc. for the benefit of Witnessing History Education Foundation, Inc. and send it to WHEF, P. O. Box 1208, Lexington, KY 40588-1208, or go online at www.WitnessingHistoryOnline.com and you can make contribution by means of a credit or debit card. You may also call the foundation office at 859-455-9330.