The Park Foundation was formed in 1966. Its original focus was on education and grant-making in communities where Park Communications had interests. When he died in 1993, Mr. Park bequeathed more than 70 percent of his holdings to the Foundation.
The Foundation is dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting, environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park family. Scholarship programs have been established in Mr. Park’s name at the two institutions with which he was so close — Ithaca College and North Carolina State University. The two scholarship programs emphasize academic excellence, leadership, and community service — in keeping with Mr. Park’s values. Public broadcasting is a particularly meaningful recipient of funding because the Foundation had its origin in the world of communications. More recently, the Foundation’s interest in environmental causes has been refined to focus on issues of freshwater and energy.
Mr. Park’s family continues an active involvement in the Foundation, with his daughter and granddaughter serving as trustees.
Roy H. Park, Sr.
Park Productions - Ithaca College Carol Jennings - Producer Randy MacLowry - Director & Editor
The Park Foundation was established by the late Roy Hampton Park, Sr. — founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Park Communications, Inc.
Roy H. Park was born in Dobson, North Carolina, in 1910. He graduated from high school at the age of 15 and entered North Carolina State University where he majored in journalism. While a student, he edited the school newspaper, The Technician. He worked his way through college by holding various office jobs, one of which was in the Associated Press Bureau in Raleigh where he made connections with people throughout North Carolina.
After college, he secured a public relations and advertising position with the North Carolina Cotton Growers Cooperative Association. He was later hired by H. E. Babcock, founder of the Grange League Federation (now Agway) to head the cooperative's advertising agency, located in Ithaca, New York.
In 1949, Mr. Park launched a business relationship with famed restaurant expert Duncan Hines. The first product of Hines-Park Foods was the Duncan Hines Cake Mix, the first product of its kind and one that began a revolution in food preparation. Procter & Gamble purchased the company in 1956, and Mr. Park launched his second career — mass communications. Ultimately, what became Park Communications, Inc. acquired or built 22 radio stations, 11 television stations, and 144 publications of which 41 were daily newspapers.
Mr. Park's influence in the communications industry was felt across the country, and his personal influence was especially felt in his home state of North Carolina — particularly at N.C. State University — and in his adopted hometown of Ithaca, New York — especially at Ithaca College.
Out of his spirit of giving back, Park worked closely with the North Carolina Commission on Literacy, the North Carolina State University Development Council, and served as a Trustee of the University from 1977 to 1985. He was the originator of the New York State Publishers Foundation and served as President of the Board of Trustees of Ithaca College for many years. The Park School of Communications at Ithaca College was named in his honor.
According to a memorial prepared by his alma mater, North Carolina State University, to honor his memory, Roy Park led his life by a simple tenet: "Look for opportunity more than security and stability. Consider the breadth of an opportunity and do your best."
Dorothy Dent Park
Park Foundation mourns the loss of its leader and inspiration, Dorothy Dent Park who passed away on June 18, 2016. She served as President of Park Foundation from 1994 to 2010. In 2010 she retired as President, and served as President Emeritus until her passing at the age of 103.
In the sixteen years that she led the Foundation it established major scholarship programs at Cornell University (Business), Ithaca College (Communications), North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Journalism). Both Ithaca College and North Carolina State University were affiliations of her husband and founder of Park Foundation, Roy H. Park Sr.
Under her leadership the Foundation provided early support to a range of public broadcasting projects including Nova and Nature, and has been a longstanding supporter of Ken Burns productions such as Jazz, and National Parks.
Mrs. Park also oversaw the Foundation’s major grants to local organizations in Ithaca, NY such as the SPCA, Tompkins County Public Library, Hangar Theater, and the Paleontological Research Institute.
Mrs. Park was well known for her whimsical and wry sense of humor, love of animals and her personal generosity to many causes and individuals.
Adelaide P. Gomer
Alicia P. Wittink
William L. Bondurant
(Chapel Hill, NC)
Richard G. Robb
Jerome B. Libin
Jay R. Halfon
(New York, NY)
Park Foundation is member of a number of foundation affinity groups that provide information and networking to the Foundation’s staff and trustees for continuing development of its grantmaking programs. These affinity groups enhance staff and Trustees understandings of issues and strategies, help identify innovative projects and foster collaboration among funders. Affinity groups that the Foundation is currently a member of include:
Park Scholars Programs
The provision of scholarships to highly qualified students at North Carolina State University and Ithaca College was a longstanding interest of Roy H. Park Sr., a tradition that the Foundation continues today. In the two decades since it began the Scholars Programs, the Foundation has provided grant support totaling over $125 million dollars. These scholarship grants underwrite four-year commitments that currently total about $6.5 million per year.
North Carolina State University
The NCSU Park Scholars program supports nearly 40 new scholarships each year, and its roster of current scholars and alumni is nearing 1,000. Recipients are selected by NCSU through national recruitment and a rigorous review process that includes on-campus interviews of finalists. Those selected have demonstrated achievement and potential in four key areas: scholarship, leadership, service and character. The grants cover tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, a computer stipend and living expenses. The scholars represent a wide array of majors across the entire university, including business, engineering, the humanities, public administration and the sciences.
Program enhancements include enrichment grants, specialized faculty mentoring, retreats, and leadership learning and myriad civic engagement opportunities.
In 2013, Park Foundation established an endowment for the NCSU Scholars program with an initial gift of $10 million. Significant elements of this endowment include the University’s commitment to invest the endowment in a socially responsible fashion, and its commitment to raise an additional $50 million as part of its current capital campaign.
The Park Scholars Program at Ithaca College targets outstanding students entering the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Nearly 300 students have joined the Scholars program since its inception, studying the full range of communications majors including cinema, documentaries, emerging media, TV-Radio, journalism, management and marketing. Scholars are encouraged and trained to use the power of mass communication to make a positive impact on the world. In a typical year, the program supports a total of fifty or more students with commitments to cover the entire cost of attendance: tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and stipends for a computer and living expenses. One feature of the program is the “rising juniors” opportunity for meritorious students to receive a scholarship for the final two years of their undergraduate degree.
Program enhancements include multiple opportunities for community engagement, leadership, and service training for participation locally, nationally and globally. Park Scholar alumni live, work and serve across the nation from New England to the Pacific Northwest, from Florida to Texas to California.
In 2014, Park Foundation established an endowment for the program with an initial gift of $5 million. Similar to the NCSU endowment, Ithaca College has committed to investing this endowment in a socially responsible fashion.