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Scripps Howard Foundation donated $9 million in 2020 to improve communities

Feb. 3, 2021 By Rebecca McCarter

Scripps’ foundation focused charitable giving on COVID-19 relief, journalism education, childhood literacy and employee assistance

CINCINNATI – The Scripps Howard Foundation, part of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP), with support from Scripps employees across the country, gave $9 million in charitable gifts during 2020. Efforts focused on advancing COVID-19 relief and related food insecurity programs in communities in which Scripps does business and supporting Scripps employees through financial hardships caused by the pandemic.

Throughout 2020, the Foundation’s social-impact philanthropy supported a range of nonprofit organizations and areas of need in the communities where Scripps operates. The organization also increased its support of its primary mission of creating a better informed world by advancing journalism education and promoting the long-term benefits of childhood literacy.

“At the Scripps Howard Foundation, we strive to make a difference in the many communities across the country where Scripps employees live and work,” said Liz Carter, president and chief executive officer of the Foundation. “Never has our mission to create a fully informed world through journalism education, improving childhood literacy and giving back to Scripps communities been more important than it was in 2020, when so many struggled with the daunting public health and economic crises caused by the pandemic. Our thanks to Scripps employees, the Scripps and Howard families and all who support the Foundation’s work and who stepped up when it mattered most.”

“Supporting the communities where we do business is part of the Scripps ethos,” said Adam Symson, president and chief executive officer of The E.W. Scripps Company. “The record level of giving in 2020 to build our communities, invest in the future of journalism and support Scripps employees demonstrates the very tangible way that the Scripps Howard Foundation and The E.W. Scripps Company are there for our communities and employees when the need is greatest.”

The $9 million in giving included: 

COVID-19 Relief/Food Insecurity Support: $2.5 million
As the global pandemic spread early in the year, the Foundation shifted its focus to address the dire economic impact the public health crisis was having in over 40 communities where the company does business.

The Foundation, in collaboration with local Scripps television stations and their audiences, the Scripps Family Impact Fund and Scripps company leaders and employees, provided $2.5 million in financial support to 80 nonprofit organizations nationwide that deliver direct relief for families struggling as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic.

Scripps Employee COVID-19 Assistance: $1.1 million
In addition to the $2.5 million it gave toward COVID-19 relief in communities in which Scripps does business, the Foundation also established a fund to help employees of The E.W. Scripps Company who were adversely affected by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The fund gave over $1 million in assistance to Scripps employees for expenses, including food and basic household supplies, housing-related assistance, childcare or eldercare costs and other needs, excluding medical, that were considered on a case-by-case basis. The fund was made possible by contributions from the company, the Scripps Family Impact Fund and Scripps executives and employees.

Journalism Education: $3.2 million
The Foundation invested $3.2 million in journalism education programs across the country, including the award-winning Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland and Arizona State University.

Established in 2018, the Howard Centers’ graduate study programs have won acclaim for their investigative reporting in partnership with high-profile news organizations including NPR, PBS Newshour and the Los Angeles Times. Building on the programs’ success, in 2020, the Foundation announced funding of $1.5 million to establish a professional fellowship program for Howard Center graduates. The centers and fellowships are named for legendary broadcast journalism executive Roy W. Howard.

The Foundation, which presents the annual, nationally broadcast Scripps Howard Awards, also directed funds to support journalism internships, professional grants, the Ted Scripps environmental reporting fellowships, the covering religion program at Columbia University and other journalism projects.

Additionally in 2020, the Foundation announced it would award $300,000 over three years to each of two institutions of higher education to develop programs to inspire high school students from diverse backgrounds to embark on careers in journalism. The high school initiative is part of the Foundation’s and Scripps’ commitments to foster equity, diversity and inclusion in the journalism field.

“Supporting journalism education and advocating for First Amendment causes have been primary missions since the Foundation was founded in 1962,” Carter said. “Given the contentious political divide in our country and the assault on truth and fact in our public discourse, our journalistic mission is even more relevant today than it was when our work began.”

Childhood Literacy: $925,000
The Foundation furthered its mission to advance childhood literacy, raising $825,000 to distribute 165,000 books to children in need in communities across the U.S. The money was raised as part of the Foundation’s annual “If You Give a Child a Book …” campaign. Scripps employees, public fundraising campaigns by Scripps television stations in 41 markets across the country and gifts from members of the Scripps family, underpin the campaign.

In Greater Cincinnati, where Scripps has its corporate headquarters, the Foundation also invested $100,000 toward childhood literacy through an annual grant.

Community Giving: $1.3 million
Each year, the Foundation provides grants in collaboration with the company’s TV stations, national media businesses, and Scripps employees to support social impact causes and nonprofit organizations.

In 2020, these efforts resulted in $1.3 million in donations to nearly 460 nonprofits nationwide that address causes such as basic human needs, youth health, education and literacy, arts and culture and natural disasters, such as the Colorado wildfires.

About the Scripps Howard Foundation
The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on journalism education, excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism and the Foundation’s annual “If You Give a Child a Book …” childhood literacy campaign has distributed more than 352,000 new books to children in need across the nation since 2017. In support of its mission to create a better-informed world, the Foundation also partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and support impactful organizations to drive solutions that help build thriving communities. 

About The E. W. Scripps Company
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As the nation’s fourth-largest local TV broadcaster, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. Scripps national networks reach nearly every American through the news outlets Court TV and Newsy and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Grit, Laff and Court TV Mystery. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

Media Contact:
Kari Wethington, The E. W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3763,