The Headliners Foundation is a 501c3 that promotes excellence in Texas journalism by providing scholarships to Texas university students; recognizing outstanding work by professional, Texas-based journalists; and supporting special projects that promote journalistic excellence and preserve history. Although steeped in tradition, the Foundation was looking to grow and modernize its programs. Bergan Casey was hired as the Foundation’s first, dedicated executive director.
Along with support from Headliners Club staff and a high profile Foundation Board of Governors, Bergan professionalized scholarship and grant programs; strengthened the Foundation’s profile among the industry through events, outreach and partnerships; established fundraising and strategic planning structures, and rebranded the organization.
Scholarship applications from across Texas reached an all-time high, a new professional education program benefiting news rooms was established; events sold out, and the endowment more than doubled to $2.8 million. Overall, the Foundation reached sustainability and continues to support a free press in challenging environments.