Charles Benton 1931-2015


Visionary Film Distributor and Philanthropist Helped Reinstitute Presidential Debates

Charles Benton, the founder and chairman of the Benton Foundation, was a determined, passionate, and agile businessman and philanthropist who, over many decades, pursued a vision of empowering people to use the latest communications tools to improve the lives of all.

We regret to report that on April 29, 2015, Mr Benton, 84, died at his home in Evanston from complications from renal cancer. He is survived by his loving wife, Marjorie, daughter Adrianne Furniss, son, Craig, and five grandchildren.

Family, friends, and colleagues remember Charles Benton not just for his many accomplishments, but his passion and enthusiasm; his values and persistent vision; his positive attitude, indomitable spirit and continuous optimism.

Read more about Charles’ full life and learn how to honor him by donating to the Charles Benton Legacy Fund. In addition, see Missing Charles by Michael Copps and the kind remembrances from many other individuals and organizations. We invite you to share your own thoughts, too.


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Digital Beat Blog

How do we define “in the public interest” in the Digital Age? Here’s unique perspectives on communications policy debates.

Our Work

ConnectED/E-rate Reform

The E-rate program was established in 1997 and represents the federal government’s largest education technology program. Learn More

Phone to Fiber

On our way to an all-IP future, how do we ensure that our newest technologies continue to support some of our oldest values? Learn More


The Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income consumers. Learn More


The Benton Foundation and Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI) are exploring a potential digital literacy campaign that targets older adults. Learn More

Tracking Legislation

Congress is poised to make a number of critical yet irreversible decisions this year and next that will shape our communications future for decades to come. Learn More

Implementing the National Broadband Plan

America is on the verge of vast new broadband-driven digital transformation that promises to make life more livable, businesses more productive, jobs more plentiful, and the Internet more accessible. Learn More

Mergers & Acquisitions

Benton has made it easier to track regulatory review of major telecommunications mergers and acquisitions. Learn More

The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook

The Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook: A Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable, Abundant Bandwidth is an indispensable tool in lowering the initial, daunting information barrier that exists between cities already immersed in these Internet infrastructure issues and those just beginning to navigate them. read more

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