In the last decade, the Foundation has made two major gifts to higher education that were substantially larger than the Foundation's prior history of grants.
In 2000, The Belo Foundation and the Division of Journalism at Southern Methodist University in Dallas established a substantive partnership to create a culture and infrastructure in which the skills of print journalists, broadcasters, and online content providers would be interrelated in the academy as well as the profession.
This collaboration resulted in a strategic plan to develop an integrated curriculum in the classroom, laboratory, and studio; to recruit an endowed Belo Distinguished Chair and other faculty with notable academic and professional expertise; to create a Journalism Complex and Digital Newsroom; and to establish permanent endowments to enhance faculty development, programmatic enrichment, and student scholarships.
SMU is now developing a new, two-phase approach to teaching 21st century journalists. This concept includes revised curriculum to teach students to develop and produce relevant and ethical content in all media, supported by the state-of-the-art digital newsroom and studio. In addition, cooperative courses with the business, law, theology, arts, and sports disciplines will bring together the entire campus through production and distribution of news, concerts, lectures, recitals, shows, sports, and other events as programming for the television and radio studios.
The Belo Foundation seeded the initial phase of the plan with a gift of $5 million. This gift enabled the Division to establish the Belo Distinguished Chair and to complete the journalism complex, which opened in January 2003. The University now seeks support to purchase, operate, and maintain equipment for the digital newsroom and studio and to provide endowments for faculty recruitment and student programs.