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PBS Reno and Kurt Mische: Focusing on the Community in Community Television

PBS Reno Kurt Mische

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PBS Reno is the area's independent public broadcasting television station that serves to inspire, educate, and entertain viewers of all ages. When Kurt Mische arrived in 2009 as the new President and CEO of the nonprofit organization, he hit the ground running, bringing an estate planning series from a sister organization that perfectly aligned with the station's focus on lifelong learning and education.  

"The statistics on the number of people who pass away without making a will are really frightening. It's over half." The need for this program was clear to Kurt, but he recognized that the series would require community buy-in and support to succeed. This focus on community is a prominent theme at PBS Reno as it relies on "viewers like you" and local partnerships to deliver its high-quality programming and educational initiatives. 

Kurt turned to the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, a nonprofit organization that serves as a philanthropic hub for the region, connecting donors with charitable causes and initiatives. In 2010, the partnership launched. It's Your Estate, with PBS Reno providing their expertise in video production and the Community Foundation offering programming and administrative support.  

More than a decade later, about 2,500 people have completed the seven-week class, and the program, now called the Family Estate Planning Series, is still going strong. Kurt explains, "Estate planning can be complicated, and it's easy to talk over people's heads." This series helps the public understand the basics of estate planning while also assisting people to understand the lasting impact they can make by donating to charity through their will.  

Today, PBS Reno's partnership with the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada extends beyond the Family Estate Planning Series to the PBS Reno Endowment Fund. "There was great wisdom on the part of the PBS Reno Board of Trustees and early on in the station's 40-year history they made the decision to plan for the future by setting up an endowment fund." Kurt followed up with another wise move and established a fund at the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada to serve as a vehicle to accept complex gifts such as real property, gifts through Charitable Remainder Unitrusts, Charitable Gift Annuities  

"You've got to have dollars in the door today, but you also have to plan for tomorrow. That's why it's important to have a good, strong, professionally managed endowment fund to provide for some immediate needs and down the road." Donors can receive unique benefits by having a fund professionally managed by the Community Foundation. PBS Reno can accept unique gifts that will continue to support its mission to enrich, inspire, entertain, and delight our community.   

The endowment fund supports PBS Reno's initiatives, including Curiosity Classroom workshops. In 2022, Curiosity Classroom workshop's educational program focused on improving literacy for children from pre-K to 4th grade, provided 3,740 workshops across northern Nevada, reached almost 72,000 children, and distributed over 27,000 books.  

PBS Reno is committed to building a stronger community by offering programs like Curiosity Classroom. It also works toward this goal through its role as a Community Foundation Corporate Philanthropy Partner (CPP). Through CPP, PBS Reno and other local businesses collaborate with the Community Foundation to contribute financial resources, volunteer efforts, and other forms of support to address community needs. CPP-supported programs include the caregiver initiative, preventing financial scams initiative, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, Community Housing Land Trust, and more. 

Kurt highly recommends that all nonprofits connect to their local community foundation. He explains that by partnering with the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, local nonprofits gain visibility to a vast network of potential donors, volunteers, and partners that can meaningfully support their mission and values.  

There's never been a better time to connect than now as the Community Foundation celebrates 25 years of serving the northern Nevada region through various initiatives and funds, including donor-advised, scholarship, and endowment funds. For more information on how your organization can access the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada's resources and expertise, visit or call Lyndsey at (775) 333-5499 x 120.