Bergsma to retire from KPBS; secured $200 million Kroc request for NPR

By Dru Sefton

KPBS Associate G.M. Stephanie Bergsma, best known in the pubcasting system for cultivating the historic $200 million bequest in 2003 from the late Joan Kroc to NPR, will retire on Dec. 10 after 30 years with the San Diego station.

Bergsma

“Stephanie is a dedicated fundraiser,” said longtime KPBS (and Masterpiece) donor Darlene Marcos Shiley in the announcement. “Her ability to connect people’s passions to the mission of KPBS is what made her so successful – and respected. I always looked forward to a meeting with Stephanie because I knew she would have an amazing opportunity for me to make a difference in KPBS.” Shiley has given more than $4 million to the station over the years.

In addition to the Kroc bequest — which included an additional $5 million for KPBS — Bergsma also established the station Producers Club for donors of more than $1,200 annually, which today has nearly 900 members; raised $20 million in the early 1990s for the KPBS Copley Telecommunications Center; and, in 2006, secured multi-year funding from Joan and Irwin Jacobs to start the Fund for Reporting Excellence, which led to convergence of all news platforms into the $3 million Joan and Irwin Jacobs KPBS News Center.

“KPBS is literally the ‘house that Stephanie built,’ ” said KPBS G.M. Tom Karlo. “From the equipment to the building and the new Jacobs News Center, KPBS would not be what we are today without her passion and dedication to raising the necessary funds for our operation.”

“I have had the best career imaginable,” Bergsma said. “I am so proud of the station and how much we’ve done to strengthen the mission of public broadcasting. We have an amazing team whose talent, energy and great work is the reason why my career was so rewarding.”

Bergsma first began work at KPBS in 1982. She departed in 1986 to spend time at home with her son David. In 1991 she returned to lead the capital campaign to build the telecommunications center, and was promoted to associate general manager in 1995.

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