Giving: Winter 2011
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: February 1, 2011

Giving others a ‘good day’

CHARLES GIBSON, longtime ABC new anchor, and four prominent philanthropists who are making a difference for Oregonians helped draw the largest crowd and raise the most money in the 11-year history of the annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner.

PSU raised nearly $550,000 at the October event, which recognized local philanthropists Ann and Mark Edlen and Shirley and Jim Rippey, before a crowd of 1,100.

The Edlens, known for sustainable building in Portland, were honored for supporting projects that improve the environment, mentor young people, and change the lives of those struggling with illness and addiction.

The Rippeys, through the JFR Foundation and their active volunteer leadership, have advanced health care, children’s services, and education in communities throughout Oregon.

In his keynote address, Gibson, former anchor for World News and Good Morning America, detailed how “broken” Congress has become—gridlocked by hyper-partisanship and vicious campaigns—compared to the more civil debate he witnessed during the 1980s when he covered Congress and the White House for ABC news. Gibson also made an impassioned appeal for philanthropic support of higher education and discussed the important role Portland State plays as an anchor institution in the region. Today, Gibson is a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Record giving for the event was led by presenting sponsor Rick Miller MBA ’91 and associate sponsors Peter and Julie Stott and the Miller Family Holdings. To see the full list of donors, visit

The event is named for Simon Benson (1851-1942), an innovator in the Pacific Northwest timber industry and a generous public benefactor of Oregon causes.

Simon Benson Awards

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Retired ABC news anchor Charles Gibson helped draw record numbers for the Simon Benson Awards. Ann and Mark Edlen accept an award for supporting projects and people that are making a difference in Oregon. A Simon Benson award was given to Shirley and Jim Rippey for advancing health care, children’s services, and education throughout Oregon.