Freedom of the Press Foundation

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Freedom of the Press Foundation works to support whistleblowers, especially those opposed to the US military or intelligence services.

Board of Directors

  • Daniel Ellsberg, a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is best known as the whistleblower who gave the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971. Ellsberg is also the author of three books: Papers on the War (1971), Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002), and Risk, Ambiguity and Decision (2001). In December 2006, he won the Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” in Stockholm, Sweden, “for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.”
  • Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer, journalist, blogger, and author. He worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator before becoming a contributor to Salon, and now writes for The Guardian about civil liberties issues. He is the author of three New York Times bestselling books, including his latest, With Liberty and Justice for Some. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He was the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and won the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.
  • John Cusack, an actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, who has appeared in over 60 films. He's also a political activist and regularly speaks out and writes on issues of human rights, government transparency, and accountability—amongst other things
  • John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is also a retired Wyoming rancher (and native), a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, and the co-founder and board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization which has been protecting the free flow of information on the Internet since 1990. He was a founding Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He has been writing about Cyberspace since 1988 and was first to apply that name to the global social space it presently describes. Barlow's piece on the future of copyright, “The Economy of Ideas,” is taught in many law schools, and his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” is posted on thousands of websites. Recently, The Guardian named him one of the twenty most influential champions of the Open Internet. He is presently engaged in starting a company, Algae Systems, that aspires to turn sewage into carbon negative jet fuel. He is the father of three daughters and his primary aspiration is to be a good ancestor. He dreams of a world where all general useful knowledge can be available to anyone, of any station, merely for the price of curiosity.
  • Josh Stearns, a journalist and organizer working for press freedom and the future of news through media and tech policy. As the Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director at Free Press, Stearns runs national advocacy campaigns to amplify the voice of local people in the policy debates that shape our media. Since 2011 he has been tracking journalist arrests and press suppression across the US, an effort the earned him “Storify of the Year” and the Lew Hill Media Ally Award for his use of cutting-edge technology and First Amendment advocacy. His articles have appeared in Mother Jones, Orion Magazine, Yes Magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review.
  • Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker. Her 2003 film Flag Wars won a Peabody Award. Her 2006 film My Country, My Country was nominated for an Academy Award. Her 2010 film The Oath was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding investigative journalism. She is currently working on a documentary about state surveillance, WikiLeaks, Internet freedom, and whistleblowers. She is the recipient of a 2012 MacArthur Fellowship. Her work was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial.
  • Rainey Reitman, a co-founder and chief operating officer of Freedom of the Press Foundation. She's also a founder and steering committee member for the Bradley Manning Support Network, a network of individuals and organizations advocating for the release of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning. She serves on the board of the directors for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, a nonprofit whose mission is to organize and support an effective, national grassroots movement to restore civil liberties, and on the steering committee for the Internet Defense League, which organizes Internet users to combat imminent threats to online rights. Reitman is also Activism Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Harvard Law and Policy Review and PBS MediaShift. He currently works as an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Previously, Timm helped the longtime General Counsel of The New York Times, James Goodale, write a book on the First Amendment.
  • Xeni Jardin, a founding partner and co-editor of award winning blog Boing Boing. Executive Producer and host of Webby-honored "Boing Boing Video," online and in-flight on Virgin America. Has contributed to such diverse venues as NPR, Wired, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and a frequently-sought tech expert in broadcast news.


  • Micah Lee is Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Chief Technology Officer. An avid GNU/Linux user, he has been writing code in a variety of languages for a variety of platforms for over a decade. His work has appeared in 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. He takes a keen interest in computer security, cryptography, privacy, Free Software, and Internet freedoms. He is also a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[1]


The Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to helping defend and support aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations that push for government transparency and accountability.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is built on the recognition that this kind of transparency journalism — from publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposing Watergate, to uncovering the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and CIA secret prisons — doesn’t just happen. It requires dogged work by journalists, and often, the courage of whistleblowers and others who work to ensure that the public actually learns what it has a right to know.

But in a changing economic and technological age, media organizations are increasingly susceptible to corporate or government pressure. This can lead to watered-down or compromised coverage, or worse: censorship.

Increasingly, non-profit media and transparency organizations are emerging as a critical component of the journalism landscape. Leveraging the power of the Internet, these organizations are helping to reinvent and reimagine independent watchdog reporting.

Right now, too many of those organizations are struggling for funding, relying on a few large foundations or competing for donors. Our goal is to broaden the financial base of these types of institutions—both start-ups and established non-profit organizations — by crowd-sourcing funding and making it easy for people to support the best journalism from an array of organizations all in one place.

Using the same networked, collaborative approach, the Freedom of the Press Foundation will also provide support for organizations and individuals that have been unjustly censored or cut off from funding for doing their job as journalists. Given the variety of corporate and government pressures on journalism outlets around the world, the need has never been greater.

How It Works:

The process is simple. On our website, you can donate to as many as four journalism and transparency organizations at once. We’ll feature a “bundle” of four organizations and provide a bit of background on each. Every two months we will release a new bundle of deserving organizations or individuals. Once you enter the total amount you wish to donate, you can use the sliders to determine the percentage you want each entity to get.

You can also donate directly to the Freedom of the Press Foundation to help further our mission. Twice a year, we will distribute a grant to projects our Board of Directors has vetted and selected.

Freedom of the Press Foundation takes 8% from each donation for operational costs.

Criteria for choosing organizations:

  • Record of engaging in transparency journalism or supporting it in a material way, including support for whistleblowers.
  • Public interest agenda.
  • Organizations or individuals under attack for engaging in transparency journalism.
  • Need for support. The foundation’s goal is to prioritize support for organizations and individuals who are in need of funding or who face obstacles to gaining support on their own.[2]

Organizations funded

As of July 2013:[3]