Donald Worthington Reynolds was born in 1906 to Anna Louise and Gaines W. Reynolds, a traveling wholesale grocery salesman. He spent his childhood in Oklahoma City and got his first job in the newspaper business selling papers at the local railroad depot.
After high school, the young Mr. Reynolds decided that he wanted to attend the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. To pay for his studies, he worked during high school and over several summers at a meat packing plant in Oklahoma City. He graduated from the University in 1927.
Mr. Reynolds’ first business venture after his graduation was a photo engraving plant. With $1,000 in capital (part of which he borrowed), he invested a photo engraving plant. Using profits from this venture, he purchased and then sold his first newspaper — the Quincy Evening News (Massachusetts). Using proceeds from that sale, he purchased the Okmulgee Daily Times (Oklahoma) and the Southwest Times Record (Arkansas), the two publications that launched the Donrey Media Group.
The Donrey Media Group operated mostly in small communities. Throughout his life, Mr. Reynolds continually expanded his business enterprise, ultimately owning more than 100 businesses, including newspapers, radio stations, television stations, cable television operations, and billboard companies. The Donrey Media Group became one of the nation’s largest privately held media companies.
Upon his death in 1993, Donrey Media Group was sold. As a bequest from Mr. Reynolds’ estate, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which he created in 1954, received a substantial endowment. Since his business acumen was focused on businesses located in small but growth-oriented communities, these communities were often the recipients of the Foundation’s earliest charitable grants.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation continues his legacy of charitable giving and it is from this foundation that a multi-million dollar grant was awarded to the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF) in 2004 to promote entrepreneurship education within the states of Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma through the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan competitions in each state, and, beginning in 2008, the Tri-State competition.