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Seattle Philanthropist Floyd Jones Is Leaving a Legacy as He Donates Millions

“Philanthropy is sweetness of the soul.”

June 19, 2017

Editor’s note: We are sad to learn that the Seattle philanthropist passed away on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 at the age of 90.

As a young boy, Floyd Jones — the son of a sharecropper — worked in the cotton fields of Arkansas and dreamed about a better life.

“There was hardly anybody more poor than we were,” says Jones. “But I feel good about life. And if I had to do it over again — so help me — I’d do it the same way. Even the cotton picking.”

Floyd Jones worked his way out of poverty and became a wealthy Seattle stockbroker. He and his wife, Delores, created a foundation that funded education, health care, food banks and social justice.

“I’ve made some pretty good decisions along the way, for both clients and myself. And it’s gotten better and better, bigger and bigger, so you can do more.”

Delores passed away in 2005. In her memory, Floyd increased his philanthropy to honor the causes and organizations she valued most. Both were strong supporters of KCTS 9 and PBS.

I feel good about life. And if I had to do it over again — so help me — I’d do it the same way. Even the cotton picking.

Jones is about to turn 90. Like his old friend, Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, he decided to give away most of his fortune to leave a legacy of philanthropy in hopes that others will do the same.

He is giving legacy gifts to more than 20 nonprofit organizations. Each will receive millions of dollars through an endowment fund to carry on their work.

Attendees wore buttons that said “I heart Floyd” at a reception held in his honor by Cascade Public Media on Thursday. June 1, 2017. Credit: Matt McKnight

KCTS 9 is receiving $9 million dollars to create quality local journalism.

Jones believes it is critical that the public have access to a reliable news source and high-quality educational programming. By announcing the endowment, Jones hopes to inspire others to invest in public media.

“Philanthropy is sweetness for the soul,” says Jones.

“Neither my wife, nor I, ever thought we would do big charity. Nothing could please me more than that, because this is how I use to daydream as a boy.”

 

Top image: Floyd Jones smiles with his family at a reception held in his honor by Cascade Public Media on Thursday. June 1, 2017. Credit: Matt McKnight
 


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Enrique Cerna

The son of Mexican immigrants, Enrique Cerna was born and raised in the Yakima Valley.  Enrique joined KCTS 9 in January, 1995. He has anchored current affairs programs, moderated statewide political debates, produced and reported stories for national PBS programs in addition to local documentaries on social and juvenile justice, the environment and Latinos in Washington State.

Enrique has earned nine Northwest Emmy Awards and numerous other honors. In June, 2013, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his work as a television professional.

More stories by Enrique Cerna

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