The Svinicki Legacy

Posted on Jul 24, 2019

Some things last for generations. And some don’t.

Founded in 1886, Sears, Roebuck and Company was a domestic powerhouse until it filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Most have heard about the storied rise and fall of Rome, the political center of an empire that reigned well over a millennium. And for 79 years, the magazine Newsweek was ubiquitous in homes, doctors’ offices and newsstands across America, but eventually went the way of countless publications, ceasing its print version and facing near financial collapse.

So, what of KLRU’s future? KLRU is 56 years old, and the entire PBS system turns 50 this year. It’s imperative that KLRU plan ahead and remain adaptive to funding changes so that we may continue bringing the best in education, news, documentaries and arts to all of Central Texas, for free, without commercial influence. Longtime supporters Jay and Marilla Svinicki have committed to making sure KLRU has staying power by including the station in their estate plans.

For over 40 years now, Jay and Marilla have been contributing to KLRU however they could. Even when they were just starting their careers and didn’t have a lot of extra income, they found ways to give back.

Jay remembers that “back in those days we didn’t have much money so we thought we could contribute by working the phones and I was doing rug hooking at that time as a hobby, so we donated some rugs to the auctions. As we got older and became more advanced in our jobs, we were in a much better position to start making contributions.”

Taking an active role with KLRU was a way for the Svinickis not only to support all the inspiring programming they love, but to participate in civic engagement. They realized early on how vital KLRU’s on-air content and on the ground outreach is to the Austin area.

For Marilla, KLRU’s local productions are integral in both telling the stories of Central Texas and connecting all the people that make Austin so special. “One thing that KLRU does for the community is emphasize that this is a community. For example, Decibel is a wonderful program because it’s all what’s happening here and what’s the effect on community here.”

Jay adds, “I think this initiative with ACC is a good example of that. It’s going to really expand the reach out into the community in a way that was just not possible before.”

KLRU is preparing for a big (and first ever!) move to the Austin Community College campus at Highland. Collaboration with the wide array of students and educators at ACC is a pivotal opportunity for KLRU. This move forward will allow KLRU to reach more Central Texans through refined educational resources, more locally produced shows and better access to community events. Bequests like the Svinickis make such longitudinal planning possible.

“Public television is under fire on the federal level pretty much constantly,” notes Marilla, “and we figure if we – and other people – include KLRU in our estate planning, that provides a funding base that will help maybe smooth over the rough times. I know that KLRU is heavily financed by the community, and that’s great, but things change, but ours won’t change. It’ll always be there.”

Jay and Marilla are thrilled that their financial legacy will live on through KLRU, and allow public television in Austin to thrive for the next generation.

Jay laughs as he recalls how many years he and his wife have spent with the station. “I mean, we’ve been interacting with KLRU for so long that it’s kind of a habit. It was really a pretty easy decision. Other people in our position should consider this. It really is a good thing to do.”

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Interested in making your own legacy gift to KLRU? Detailed information on how you can make a lasting impact can be found at klru.org/planned-giving.