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Beverly Kees Fund for Journalism Established to Perpetuate Her Work


Contact: Irene Mendieta, (415) 474-5000 or irene@citiland.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 22, 2004 -- Following many requests from those who wish to honor the work of prominent journalist Beverly Kees, who died in an accident Dec. 10, her family has asked that contributions be directed to the newly created Beverly Kees Fund for Journalism.

The fund will be managed by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, which was founded more than two decades ago to promote excellence and ethics in journalism. The Beverly Kees Fund for Journalism will assist journalism programs in furthering the goals that Ms. Kees worked toward with unceasing dedication and imagination, including in the areas of newsroom training and journalism education. Ms. Kees was also active in promoting freedom of information and diversity in journalism coverage and employment. The fund's creators hope to support programs throughout the country, including initiatives in her native Minnesota and her adopted hometown of San Francisco, where she dreamed of establishing a news center and museum.

The fund will provide a unified financial resource for "a variety of programs as broad as the interests of this remarkable woman," said her longtime friend and colleague Peter Sussman, whom the family has asked to help make detailed arrangements for setting up the fund.

Ms. Kees' brother, Burt, said he said is most grateful for the international outpouring of sympathy and the many offers to help assure the continuance of her work through the fund named for her. Sussman added, "I hope we can translate everyone's love and sense of loss into a large memorial fund in Bev's name that will provide more than token assistance to the causes she cared about so deeply."

Sussman said the family intends to create a committee of journalists to advise them on potential beneficiaries of the Beverly Kees Fund for Journalism and to communicate her family's wishes to Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to:

The Beverly Kees Fund for Journalism
c/o Sigma Delta Chi Foundation
3909 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Checks may be written to "Sigma Delta Chi," with "The Beverly Kees Fund for Journalism" in the memo line.

Ms. Kees, 63, was in a crosswalk, walking a friend's dog, when she was struck and killed by a truck. At the time of her death, the pioneering journalist -- the first female executive editor in the 35-newspaper Knight-Ridder chain -- had been teaching journalism at San Francisco State University, overseeing newsroom training around the country and working on a number of projects for the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Ms. Kees was immediate past president of the society's Northern California chapter.

During the 1990s, Ms. Kees was senior projects manager for the Freedom Forum, serving as editor and program director at its Pacific Coast Center in Oakland and San Francisco. She helped create the popular Newseum that started in Arlington, Va., and is now expanding to a much larger facility in Washington, D.C.

Earlier, she edited newspapers across the country. She was a reporter and editor at the Minneapolis Star and Minneapolis Tribune, then became the top editor of newspapers in Grand Forks, N.D., and Gary, Ind. Before moving to San Francisco, she was the executive editor of the Fresno Bee.

Sussman said Ms. Kees was involved in so many important projects over the years that no single person in her vast circle of family, friends and colleagues has a complete overview. What her projects had in common, he said, was furthering "the often overlooked conscience and craft of her profession." He said his fondest hope for the fund is that "it will be as comprehensive, principled and effective as the woman it honors."


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