Melody Bezenek to focus on fundraising programs
Melody Bezenek began working Thursday, April 24 as the Missouri Press Foundation’s first full-time director. The Foundation was formed in 1984.
Members of the Missouri Press Foundation Board of Directors, along with Missouri Press Association and Missouri Press Service board members, for the past year have been making plans to grow the Foundation. The Building For The Future campaign that kicked off in September included the hiring of a director.
The intent of the campaign is to continue the current Foundation activities, including the nationally-recognized Missouri Newspaper in Education program developed and led by Dawn Kitchell; scholarships and summer internships for college students studying community journalism; support for district press meetings,regional workshops and the annual Missouri Press Convention; the annual Missouri Better Newspaper Contest; the Missouri Newspaper Print Shop Museum in Arrow Rock; the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame in Washington, Mo.; new tools to enable Missouri Press members to demonstrate the value of newspapers to local audiences; and other endeavors to support the newspaper industry in our state.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve the Missouri Press Foundation and Missouri’s newspapers," Bezenek said. "It is an honor to serve as a champion for Missouri’s newspapers."
Jim Sterling, a Missouri Press Foundation board member, past president of the Missouri Press Association and Missouri Chair in Community Newspaper Management, said of Bezenek, "She’s a bright young woman. She has a good track record in fund raising and should fit in nicely with the staff at MPA and will do a great job leading the Foundation into the future.”
Vicki Russell, MPF board member, past MPA president and publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune, said of Bezenek, “Melody’s standards of professionalism and commitment to her responsibilities will enable the Foundation to make great strides quickly, I believe. She comes with high recommendations and a solid record of achievement that matches the qualifications we outlined. In addition, I think her personality will mesh well with the organization and our members will enjoy working with her.”
Two of Bezenek’s initial goals as MPF director are to assist with the Missouri Press Association’s 148th Annual Convention and promote Society of 1867 membership and the Page Builder campaign.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with many outstanding board volunteers. They have taught me so much and helped me grow into the non-profit leader that I am today,” Bezenek said.
Bezenek brings extensive fundraising experience to the position. She served as executive director with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN), an organization that provides services to those living with HIV/AIDS, volunteer training, HIV testing, and outreach education. While at RAIN, Bezenek wrote and successfully won a Ryan White Title III Planning and Capacity Building Grant for the formation of a clinic and assisted with winning HUD funding for long term housing solutions. In 2003, she became the executive director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri (RMHC). Shortly after, RMHC began the planning process for a $2.6 million Capital Campaign to build a new Ronald McDonald House. Bezenek oversaw the completion of a feasibility study, solicited volunteer help, created a case for support and raised funds for the new house.
Bezenek graduated from Rock Bridge High School and Columbia College.
She is married to her husband, Kris, and the couple has one daughter Mia Belle, born in 2012.
“I enjoy gardening, baking, attending Missouri festivals, listening to music, running, and spending time outside,” she said. “I also enjoy traveling the state touring wineries, shops, parks and local eateries.”
Missouri Press Foundation is supported by tax-deductible private contributions and memberships.