In early 2017, the Patti and Everett B. Birch Foundation made a generous grant to CPJ to honor the legacy of Patti Cadby Birch and her lifelong commitment to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the strengthening of democratic institutions.
The grant came from funds bequeathed by Birch, who died in 2007. She was also a generous supporter of the arts and was a longtime honorary trustee of both the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She and her husband, Everett, who died in 1987, made significant donations of art and funding over the years.
In honor of Birch's legacy, CPJ is establishing a Patti Birch Fellowship Program. Over the next five years, CPJ will hire 10 Patti Birch Fellows who will each identify and carry out a supervised independent project on various thematic issues. Each fellowship will be a one-year paid position.
As Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony on January 8, 2017, she called on the audience and the broader community to join her in supporting CPJ. You can #StandWithStreep and click here to make a donation.
In her speech, Streep said, "Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. ... We need the principled press to hold power to account. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution."
So, Streep continued, "I only ask ... all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we're going to need them going forward, and they'll need us to safeguard the truth."
Over a few weeks in December 2016, readers of Forbes magazine suggested charities deserving of support. Forbes staff writer Kelly Phillips Erb compiled the suggestions and published a list of a dozen organizations over what she called "the 12 Days of Charitable Giving."
On December 20, the third day, Forbes listed CPJ as the charity of the day!
CPJ was founded 35 years ago by a group of U.S. journalists who realized they could not ignore the plight of colleagues whose reporting put them in peril on a daily basis. To protect journalists globally, the Forbes article said, CPJ documents cases of press freedom violations, publishes reports, conducts high-level advocacy, and provides "individual moral and material support."
CPJ, the story continued, "believes that information is power."
Read the Forbes article here.
In early December 2016, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof presented his annual holiday gift list. But this year's list, he said, "is special."
In his column, called "Forget the Tie. Give a Gift That Matters," Kristof calls on his readers to support CPJ, an organization that, he says, "speaks up for imprisoned journalists worldwide and tries to end impunity for those who murder journalists."
That we do. For 35 years, CPJ has worked hard to uphold press freedom all over the world. Our advocacy has helped spring journalists from prison, win convictions in journalist murders, and secure positive legal reforms.
Read Kristof's column here.
In his more than 60 years of reporting the news, Dan Rather has remained a champion of watchdog journalism. The former anchor and managing editor of "The CBS Evening News" and correspondent for "60 Minutes" has received virtually every honor in broadcast journalism.
He was also one of CPJ's earliest supporters. Rather served on CPJ's board of directors for nearly 30 years and, in 2011, began serving CPJ as a senior adviser.
Rather's December 2015 book, called Lessons from the field: Everything I learned about life I learned from reporting, is being sold exclusively by the MindBodyNetwork, an online self-help community of experts in health and wellness. All the proceeds from his book are donated to CPJ.
We spoke to Rather about CPJ's early years and the importance of press freedom. "A free and independent press--fiercely independent, if necessary--is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy," he said. "It's one reason I'm so happy to still be involved as I can with CPJ, because that was the heart of founding CPJ."
Read our Q&A with Rather here.
Dr. William Borucki, the former principal investigator of NASA's Kepler Mission, donated to CPJ part of the Shaw Prize in Astronomy he was awarded in June 2015.
Borucki, who spent more than five decades at NASA, advocated for years to develop a space mission that could detect Earth-size planets and determine the frequency of those planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars. The Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 and has confirmed more than 1,000 planets.
We spoke to Borucki about the importance of press freedom and why he chose to support CPJ. "My wife and I hunted around for an organization that actively supported journalists in their efforts to get at the facts, especially in difficult circumstances," he told us. "Your organization best fit that criterion."
Read our interview with Borucki here.
CPJ's International Program Network was initially launched with an endowed gift from Bloomberg.
Our growing team of on-the-ground consultants and stringers helps CPJ respond in real time to press freedom emergencies around the world. Working closely with the program staff at CPJ's headquarters in New York, the International Program Network advances our mission of promoting global press freedom by improving our ability to report and investigate attacks on journalists, strengthening CPJ's alliances with local and regional press freedom advocacy groups, enabling more timely direct assistance to journalists under threat, and meeting with local and international authorities to advocate for press safety.
Whether responding to a crisis or lending context to a regional threat, this network of experienced reporters and regional analysts has provided invaluable support to CPJ's work. Read more about them here.