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The News Literacy Project Receives $150,000 Challenge Grant from the Ford Foundation

The News Literacy Project has been awarded a $150,000 challenge grant from the Ford Foundation in recognition of NLP’s pioneering work to give students the ability to discern credible information in the digital age.

“The Ford Foundation is pleased to support the work of the News Literacy Project to equip students with the critical skills to judge the integrity of the vast amounts of news and information on the Web. This work is fundamental to a functioning democracy, which needs active and informed citizens,” said Calvin Sims, the Ford Foundation’s program officer for news media and journalism.

“The digital divide is not only between those who have access to the Internet and those who don’t; it’s also between those citizens who have the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction on the Web and those who don’t,” he said.

NLP, which is completing its first full year in classrooms, is undertaking a campaign to match the Ford grant over the next year through individual, corporate and philanthropic gifts.

“This is a powerful vote of confidence in NLP and a terrific opportunity to raise new resources, diversify our funding and increase our reach in the year ahead,” said NPR President Vivian Schiller, who chairs the project’s board. 

In just over two years, the News Literacy Project has quickly become a national force in promoting news literacy, providing middle school and high school students with the critical skills to sort fact from fiction in the digital age. NLP is reaching nearly 1,500 students in New York City, Bethesda, Md., and Chicago and transforming the way they consume and create information as they navigate a tsunami of sources of widely varying professionalism, accountability and reliability.

Lucy Chen, a sophomore at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, recently observed that the project’s lessons “directly relate to my life, my decisions, and my observations of the world around me. I learned about the importance of accurate news, the implications of the First Amendment protection of free speech, the guidelines for finding trustworthy information, and the challenges of living in a digital world.”

The project is seeking to raise additional funds to: • Expand to new schools within its existing markets and add new markets; • Extend its reach through online initiatives that engage students with journalists and each other, showcase student work and connect students nationwide through social media; • Further refine its curriculum materials, training and assessment processes; • Raise national awareness of the vital importance of news literacy.

If you would like to help us meet the Ford Foundation’s challenge, you can do so by making a secure gift online through our donate button on our homepage. You can also do so by sending your check — made out to The Poynter Institute/News Literacy Project — to our fiscal agent: The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 801 Third Street, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33701.

Thank you!