Blog Posts by Charles Benton

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Missing Charles

Charles Benton has been gone less than a week, but I miss him already. I miss him as friend, as a thoroughly delightful person, and—apropos to this testimonial—a dauntless and effective champion of the public interest. I could not have admired this good man more. Charming and gentle, yes, but tenacious and indefatigable too, he left this world much better than he found it.

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Charles Benton 1931-2015

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.

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A Victory for Everyone Who Uses the Internet

February 26, 2015 marks the greatest commitment ever made to preserve and protect an open and free Internet. On this day, the Federal Communications Commission has acted decisively to protect the rights of Internet users to employ any legal applications, content, devices, and services of their choosing on the broadband networks they rely on. Today, the FCC has made sure that the Internet remains a platform for all consumers, content creators, and innovators, regardless of their ability to pay infrastructure owners special fees for special access.

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Benton Salutes FCC’s Move to Bring More Fiber to More Communities, Sooner

Today, the Federal Communications Commission sided with community-based solutions. Today, the FCC sided with choice. Today, the FCC sided with bringing better broadband everywhere. The FCC today voted to approve the petitions of community broadband providers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, which asked that the FCC to pre-empt provisions of state laws preventing expansion of their very successful networks. The Benton Foundation thanks the FCC for this action.

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Chairman’s Year End Message 2014

I believe deeply that our media and telecommunications can and must serve the public interest and enhance our democracy. On this bedrock faith, the Benton Foundation seeks policy solutions that support the values of access, diversity and equity; demonstrates the value of media and telecommunications for improving the quality of life for all; and provides informational resources to policymakers and advocates to inform communications policy debates. Our overarching goal is to close the digital divide and support digital inclusion, so the most vulnerable populations can participate fully in a diverse media system and in our democracy. With this goal in mind, here are the areas the foundation devoted ourselves to this year.

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Benton Foundation Applauds FCC’s Big Broadband Boost for Education

On December 11, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission improved education for all our young people by providing the tools to connect every school and library to high-capacity broadband -- and Wi-Fi connectivity that delivers critical education tools right to students’ desks. This is a huge win for U.S. education.

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Who Will We Leave Behind?

One of the most important challenges of our generation is to ensure that every child in every classroom has a chance to succeed and win in the global economy. Poverty, discrimination, isolation and ignorance hold our country back. But investments in education, infrastructure and technology spur economic growth, creating more good jobs and wealth for all of us. It is in our national interest to ensure that every child — no matter who they are, no matter what they look like, no matter where they come from — has the opportunity to succeed. New research finds that just 34% of K-12 students in public schools attend schools where Internet speeds are 100 Mbps or more. One in five (20%) students attends schools with Internet speeds of only 10 Mbps or less.

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Chairman’s Year End Message 2013

The New Year is both a time to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of the past 12 months and a time to be excited about the future. As the Benton Foundation closes 2013, here’s what I’m most proud of – and what has me reenergized for 2014.

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Time to Reflect: An End-of-Year Message from Charles Benton

Personally and professionally, this year has been one for the books.

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Finding Your Voice

The United Church of Christ’s Office of Communication Inc. will honor Charles Benton, chairman of the board of the Benton Foundation, at the 30th Annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture and Breakfast on September 25, 2012. Charles will receive the Everett C. Parker Award in recognition of his many years of leadership and support for promoting the public interest in traditional and digital media.

Author's Bio

Charles Benton founded the Benton Foundation in 1981 and served as the organization’s chairman until his death in 2015. He also had a long career in the media education and entertainment businesses as President or Chairman of Encyclopaedia Britannica Education Corporation, Films Incorporated, Public Media Inc., Lionheart Television International, and Home Vision Entertainment. For an appreciation of Charles’ full life see Charles Benton 1931-2015