Building on a Legacy

Media entrepreneur Donald Worthington Reynolds was born in 1906 and spent his childhood in Oklahoma City often “hawking” copies of the Oklahoma News at the railroad depot. The ambitious young man soon realized the newspaper business was in his blood, and he set his sights on the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, working at a meat packing plant to pay for his studies. Upon graduation in 1927, Mr. Reynolds worked in a variety of newspaper-oriented positions. He purchased and then sold his first newspaper, using the proceeds to launch the Donrey Media Group.

During World War II, Mr. Reynolds served as the officer in charge of the Pacific and London editions of “YANK.” He received the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Bronze Star before being honorably discharged in 1945 as a major.  After the war, Mr. Reynolds expanded his business, ultimately owning more than 100 enterprises in the newspaper, radio, television, cable television and outdoor advertising industries. By focusing on businesses in small but growth-oriented communities, he built one of the nation’s largest privately held media companies.

During his later years, Mr. Reynolds’ awarded some of his largest gifts through the Foundation, including $9.5 million to his alma mater to construct an alumni center, $4 million to create the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and $4 million to develop the Donald W. Reynolds Student Services Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Upon Mr. Reynolds’ death in 1993, the Donrey Media Group was sold, resulting in a substantial bequest from the Reynolds estate to provide for the Foundation as it exists today. The Foundation continues his philanthropy, focusing on Journalism, Aging and Quality of Life, Cardiovascular Research and general nonprofit programs in the states of Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma, often with grants that carry a capital component, reflecting Mr. Reynolds life-long passion for building.