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Community Saved Seattle's only Black Broadcasting Company

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Special to the NNPA from The Seattle Medium

SEATTLE – Chris H. Bennett, chairperson of Kris Bennett Broadcasting, Inc., announced that on Good Friday at approximately 1:45 p.m., an email was received a new non-profit lender with a crucial message: ”Heritage Bank settlement payoff is wired…”

With those words, the first phase of a community’s effort to “Save Our Voice” was successfully completed. According to Bennett, the transaction ended a fight that lasted more than two years after his company’s future was put in jeopardy when the assets of Bay Bank, its original lender, were awarded to Tacoma-based Heritage Bank, which would not extend or honor the previous bank agreed loan to Kris Bennett Broadcasting.

Bennett Broadcasting extended special thanks to the co-hosts of the community effort, Rev. Ruth Saunders and Rev. Kitti Ward, who worked tirelessly to lead the community’s fight to save KRIZ,KYIZ,KZIZ and KBMS.

Bennett was quick to give all praises to God saying, “This was a total God blessed community effort in this process that started with the very first thousand dollars coming personally from the community Pastor Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney. It then continued with many more of the community thousand dollar checks, five hundred dollars checks and cash, the hundred dollars checks and cash, the fifties, the twenties, the tens, fives, the ones and the loose change in the ‘message wine bottle’ filled with dimes.”

“The joint effort of Pastors Carey Anderson of First AME Church and Aaron Williams of Mount Zion Christmas Eve worship service with all collections going to ‘Save Our Voice,’ Kris Bennett Broadcasting community advertising partners special fashion show/dinner at the FAME/ MLK Community Center and yes, Quartet Commissioner, Rev. Doc’ Rivers, community Parade of Quartets at Pastor Lawrence Willis’ True Vine Missionary Baptist Church as well as organizations such as the Central Area Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of DeCharlene Williams, Kent Black Action Committee and Black Ministers Alliance. Special Thanks to Pastor Robert L. Manaway and the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church family for a generous collection and for being the ONLY continued faith broadcast partner for over 30 years.”

There were many community ambassadors in this community effort as many gave not only treasure but time and talent and resource contacts, including Elma Horton, Alvin Whittaker, Carol Versey Cobb and their team of community talent that prepared the community’s Black Press Breakfast that raised net proceeds of $15,000. Then there was one of the most profound, God sent and God blessed resource efforts of Attorney Professor Rev. Carl Livingston, who introduced the broadcasting group to the non-profit lender, who restructure the original loan

Bennett said, “Our goal and mission was ‘a million dollars for a million reasons,’ which some naysayers snickered and made jokes about the amount even though many of the naysayers were some of the ‘a million reasons’ benefactors. No, we did not raise the million dollars in plain revenue/cash; the total cash proceeds were approximately $65,000, a tremendous community effort. But every success cannot be totally measured by cash collected in a campaign; resources are just as important. The real answer is YES; we raised enough revenue and resources to reach our goal. And yes, this is another miraculous blessing from God with all praises going to Him. Prayers work! Special thanks to all our prayer warriors; we know God was in the mix.

“What seemed like an impossible battle proves that all things are possible with God. We trusted and kept our faith in God as we humbled and wrapped ourselves in the blood of “Jesus” and the campaign, ‘a million dollars for a million reasons,’ was a huge success. It just goes to ‘the living testimony,’ if you take care of your community, your community will take care of you and we will be forever grateful to this community at large and our faith-based community in general.”

Campaign Co-Coordinator, Rev. Ruth Saunders, stated: The most profound statement throughout the campaign was the message in the bottle. One contributor brought in an empty wine bottle with 700 dimes in it. We wrote on the bottle, ‘SAVE KRIZ.’ It is as if a bottle drifted from miles away with a heart-wrenching cry–“SAVE KRIZ. We made the ‘message bottle’ a symbol of our commitment—hundreds of people coming together and uniting in a common cause.

“From the beginning this campaign was God driven and God directed with the three-fold purpose of reconciliation, restoration and revenue. We call it the three Rs. Mr. Bennett humbled himself before God and this community and trusted the scripture in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NIV)

Bennett said, the next phase is retention of the broadcast group and the avoid being placed in a vulnerable position again.

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