News and analysis
May 18, 2016

Grants Roundup: Foundation Awards Boost News Outlets and Search for the Universe’s Origins

Yuri Beletsky/Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution
An observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, supported by $40 million from the Simons and Heising-Simons foundations, will seek clues to the beginnings of the universe.

Here are notable new grants compiled by The Chronicle:

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Nearly $25 million in unrestricted, five-year general operating support for nonprofit journalism organizations.

The grants, announced by foundation President Julia Stasch Wednesday at PBS’s annual meeting, are intended to help news outlets experiment with storytelling forms, increase training of reporters from diverse backgrounds, strengthen investigative reporting in the foundation’s hometown of Chicago, and build infrastructure to protect journalists who face legal, personal, or digital threats in the course of their work.

The grantees are

  • American University, which received $1.5 million for its Investigative Reporting Workshop;
  • the Center for Investigative Reporting, $3.5 million;
  • the Center for Public Integrity, $2 million
  • the Foundation for National Progress, the publisher of Mother Jones magazine, $1.5 million;
  • the Global Press Institute, $1.25 million for its work placing local women to report from 21 foreign news desks;
  • the Nation Institute, $750,000 for the Investigative Fund, its journalism fellows program;
  • National Public Radio, $4 million;
  • Public Radio International, $1.75 million for its news program, The World;
  • the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, $2.5 million;
  • Round Earth Media, $500,000 for its program pairing American reporters covering stories in other countries with journalists from those countries;
  • the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, $1.5 million for its Investigative Reporting Program;
  • and the WGBH Educational Foundation, $4.2 million for the PBS investigative series Frontline.

Simons Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation

$40 million to build a new observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Scientists hope the observatory will yield discoveries about the beginnings of the universe. Matching funds will be provided by the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, the University of California at San Diego, the University of California at Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Breakthru Beverage Florida

$65 million to Step Up for Students for scholarships for low-income Florida youths.

Russell J. and Betty Jane Shaw Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

$1.25 million to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to support research on reducing irritants that trigger asthma, especially for children of color.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

The $1-million Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence was awarded to Amherst College in Massachusetts for its record of admitting, supporting, and graduating low-income students.

CVS Health Foundation

$3.6 million over three years to 125 institutions of higher learning to promote smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Reinvestment Fund

$3 million to 50 mid-sized cities in 31 states for programs to improve public health.

Lauder Foundation and Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation

$5 million from each grant maker to create the Treat FTD Fund. The new fund will support clinical research trials for treatment of frontotemporal degeneration, a form of dementia.

Laura and John Arnold Foundation

$3.6 million to Bioethics International to expand its Good Pharma Scorecard, which aims to increase transparency around clinical trials. The grant will enable the organization to rank new drugs, vaccines, biologics, and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated throughout the week.