Knight Foundation, other leadership donors award grants to CPJ’s capital campaign

October 7, 2020—With threats to press freedom mounting in the U.S. and around the world, the Knight Foundation has awarded the Committee to Protect Journalists a grant of $4 million to secure the organization’s future as it wages a relentless fight to support the work of journalists and defend their rights. 

Half of the Knight funds will underwrite the purchase of a new headquarters in Manhattan, which will be named the “John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Freedom Center” and will be inaugurated next year. The balance will be split between CPJ’s endowment and general operations.

“The Committee to Protect Journalists has been a rock in the global fight to preserve press freedom, and we believe in their mission now more than ever,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. “We’ve supported CPJ for more than 30 years, and throughout the full term of CPJ’s existence, journalism has never been under such consistent and general attack from all quarters. This added investment is to help secure CPJ’s future.” 

With the Knight donation, CPJ has raised nearly $12 million toward its $15 million capital campaign. By using the funds to purchase a new headquarters, CPJ will save millions of dollars in rent over the next several decades — savings that will be deployed to support CPJ’s advocacy and press freedom defense. Other leadership gifts have come from Reuters, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and members of CPJ’s board of directors, all of whom have contributed to the campaign. 

“Owning our own space gives us the security to weather the vicissitudes of the pandemic,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “In order to reverse the terrible trends in press freedom we have seen in recent years, we need to take the long view. We are so grateful to the Knight Foundation and other funders who are investing in the struggle, knowing that by reducing our operating costs we can bring more resources to the fight.” 

For nearly four decades, CPJ has defended journalists and press freedom globally by helping secure convictions in scores of journalist murders, winning the early release of hundreds of jailed journalists, and assisting thousands of journalists under threat. CPJ’s Emergencies team provides critical safety resources to journalists reporting on elections, civil unrest, and COVID-19, among other issues.

“When journalists are in trouble the world over, CPJ moves in to protect them,” said CPJ Board Chair Kathleen Carroll. “That vital work is made possible by funders who support our mission — funders like the Knight Foundation. We look forward to the day when we can host them all at CPJ’s new home, space made possible by their generosity.” 

CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Bebe Santa-Wood

CPJ Communications Associate 

[email protected]

+1 (212) 300-9032