LOS ANGELES - March 10, 2000 - City of Hope has announced that BMI President and CEO Frances W. Preston will be honored as this year's "The Spirit of Life" Award honoree by the Music and Entertainment Industry fund-raising group for City of Hope. Preston will be feted this fall at a black-tie gala in Los Angeles. Proceeds from the event will establish an honorary research fellowship in her honor at City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute.
"The Music and Entertainment industry has consistently selected those individuals who have fundamentally influenced the direction of the music industry to become recipients of "The Spirit of Life" Award," says Don Passman, chapter president. "Frances Preston has certainly done that in her tireless work for songwriters' and composers' rights." The Music and Entertainment Industry for City of Hope has raised more than $30 million in its 26-year history.
Frances Preston has been called "one of the true powerhouses in the pop music business" by Fortune magazine, and has been honored as an executive who has "helped shape�the entire music industry." Esquire magazine called her "the most influential and powerful person in the country music business," and she continually ranks at top lists of powerful players in the music industry. By focusing attention on talent and ensuring that songwriters, composers and music publishers are quickly and accurately compensated for their efforts while providing the most valuable possible repertoire to the users of music, she has enriched both the creative and music business communities.
Preston joined BMI in 1958 after working in the music and broadcasting industries in Nashville. She opened BMI's southern regional office there and quickly signed many previously unknown writers, supported the creation of new publishing operations and helped heighten public awareness and acceptance of all forms of popular music. She was named vice president in 1964 and under her leadership the southern operation grew from a staff of two to more than 400. In New York, she became senior vice president of Performing Rights in 1985, and was appointed President and CEO in 1986. She is also a member of BMI's Board of Directors. During her tenure as head of BMI, Preston has continued the company's tradition of leadership in performing rights, refocusing and expanding domestic licensing efforts to include many new categories of music customers.
Preston serves on the Executive Bureau of CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) and is president of the CISAC Canada/USA Committee, elected in 1998. She is a leader in the quest for international copyright cooperation and has conferred with leaders of the Chinese government to discuss securing musical copyrights in the People's Republic and has worked closely with many of the new copyright agencies in the Eastern European nations.
Preston has remained politically vigilant when it comes to the rights and incomes of songwriters, composers and publishers. And she's played a vital role in a number of organizations, both inside and outside the music industry.
She served on Vice President Al Gore's National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council and, during President Jimmy Carter's administration, on both the Panama Canal Study Committee and the commission for the White House Record Library.
Preston serves on countless committees, advisory councils and boards. In 1998 she was awarded the Grammy Awards' National Trustees Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Recording Academy to a non-performer. In 1999, she was honored as Person of the Year at the annual MIDEM congress in Cannes, France, the highest international award for music industry executives, and has countless other national and international honors, associations and awards.
In addition, she has selflessly volunteered for many of America's most worthy charities and her invaluable contributions have been duly recognized. She is president of the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research and the recipient of its 1992 Humanitarian Award. Her involvement has led to the creation of the Frances Williams Preston Research Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, a cancer research lab named in her honor. Preston, who serves as President of the Foundation, has a building named in her honor at the Cancer Center. She also serves on the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Board of Overseers.
Preston's leadership in the Martell Foundation's groundbreaking work in cancer research was recognized in early 1999 by the Society for the Advancement of Women's Health Research, an organization that focuses the attention of policy makers on funding for women's health issues. She has also been honored for her humanitarian efforts by the United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee, the Nashville Entertainment Association, International Achievement Awards, New York's Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, the Retinitis Pigmentosa International Awards, the Entertainment and Music Industries Division of the UJA-Federation, the Broadcasters' Foundation and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
The City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center located in the Greater Los Angeles area, is one of the world's leading research and treatment centers for cancer and other serious diseases including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. The work conducted at City of Hope is shared with medical centers worldwide, touching the lives of millions of people everywhere.
For more information about how you can support City of Hope's lifesaving research and treatment programs, please call 1-800-260-HOPE, or visit the Web site at www.cityofhope.org. City of Hope, Where the Power of Knowledge Saves Lives�.