The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation today announced the kick-off of its capital campaign with the receipt of two significant grants to support the establishment of the Fallen Journalists Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Annenberg Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, leaders in the advancement and preservation of journalism and civic life, will provide a total of $6 million in grants to support the early stages of the Fallen Journalists Memorial.
The Annenberg Foundation grant includes a commitment to match up to $2.6 million in other foundation grants intended to spark early-stage seed funding.
Legislation enacted by Congress and signed into law in December 2020 authorized the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to build a memorial on federal land in Washington, D.C. The memorial will commemorate America’s commitment to a free press by honoring journalists and photojournalists who have sacrificed their lives in service to that cause. This is the first such public memorial in the nation’s capital.
The initial funding from Annenberg and Knight will be used to help scale the organization as it undertakes the multi-year process of building the memorial with private funds. That includes creating educational programming, selecting a site, and designing and constructing the memorial.
“The Annenberg and Knight Foundations are two of the most renowned foundations in the country, and we are delighted to have them as early partners in our work to honor fallen journalists and press freedom,” said Hon. David Dreier, chairman of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation and former chairman of Tribune Publishing.
The announcement of the launch of this program directly follows the third anniversary of a mass shooting at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooting killed five employees of the newspaper and was the inspiration for the creation of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation.
“These funds will be instrumental as we work to build support for and erect a permanent memorial in Washington that demonstrates how our country values a free press, honors the sacrifices of journalists, and supports the family, friends and colleagues of the fallen,” said Barbara Cochran, president of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation.
“Each and every year, hundreds of journalists and photojournalists are attacked, imprisoned, and worse because of what they do,” said Wallis Annenberg, chairman, president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “We need to honor and memorialize them, so we never forget their sacrifice. I’m proud that we can do our part to support the Fallen Journalists Memorial. I wish it wasn’t so necessary. But we need to remember and pay tribute. And we need to rededicate ourselves to protecting our precious press freedoms, and those who put their lives on the line to advance them — word by word and day by day.”
“This memorial will be an enduring tribute to journalists from all manner of media who have died because of their craft,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. “It’s also a stark reminder to those who routinely spew hate about media, that there are real-life, tragic consequences to their cheap shots and threats.”