Founder, Roy H. Park, Sr.
The Park Foundation was established by the late Roy Hampton Park, Sr. — founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Park Communications, Inc.
Roy H. Park was born in Dobson, North Carolina, in 1910. He graduated from high school at the age of 15 and entered North Carolina State University where he majored in journalism. While a student, he edited the school newspaper, The Technician. He worked his way through college by holding various office jobs, one of which was in the Associated Press Bureau in Raleigh where he made connections with people throughout North Carolina.
After college, he secured a public relations and advertising position with the North Carolina Cotton Growers Cooperative Association. He was later hired by H. E. Babcock, founder of the Grange League Federation (now Agway) to head the cooperative's advertising agency, located in Ithaca, New York.
In 1949, Mr. Park launched a business relationship with famed restaurant expert Duncan Hines. The first product of Hines-Park Foods was the Duncan Hines Cake Mix, the first product of its kind and one that began a revolution in food preparation. Procter & Gamble purchased the company in 1956, and Mr. Park launched his second career — mass communications. Ultimately, what became Park Communications, Inc. acquired or built 22 radio stations, 11 television stations, and 144 publications of which 41 were daily newspapers.
Mr. Park's influence in the communications industry was felt across the country, and his personal influence was especially felt in his home state of North Carolina — particularly at N.C. State University — and in his adopted home town of Ithaca, New York — especially at Ithaca College.
Out of his spirit of giving back, Park worked closely with the North Carolina Commission on Literacy, the North Carolina State University Development Council, and served as a Trustee of the University from 1977 to 1985. He was the originator of the New York State Publishers Foundation and served as President of the Board of Trustees of Ithaca College for many years. The Park School of Communications at Ithaca College was named in his honor.
According to a memorial prepared by his alma mater, North Carolina State University, to honor his memory,
Roy Park led his life by a simple tenet:
The Park Foundation
The Park Foundation was formed in 1966. Its original focus was on education and grant-making in communities where Park Communications had interests. When he died in 1993, Mr. Park bequeathed more than 70 percent of his holdings to the Foundation.
The Foundation is dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting, environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park family. Scholarship programs have been established in Mr. Park’s name at the two institutions with which he was so close — Ithaca College and North Carolina State University. The two scholarship programs emphasize academic excellence, leadership, and community service — in keeping with Mr. Park's values. Public broadcasting is a particularly meaningful recipient of funding because the Foundation had its origin in the world of communications. More recently, the Foundation's interest in environmental causes has been refined to focus on issues of freshwater, particularly in the eastern United States.
Mr. Park's family continues an active involvement in the Foundation, with his daughter, and granddaughter serving as trustees, and his wife serving as President Emeritus.