Stand up for press freedom in your community and
apply to PEN America’s Press Freedom Incentive Fund

Since Inauguration Day in January 2017, PEN America has recorded more than 100 specific threats to press freedom—from journalist arrests, to violence against members of the press, to the president’s attacks on fact-based reporting. Alarm bells are ringing about polarization and erosion of confidence in the media and the truth. PEN America Members and supporters have reached out wanting to do more to protect and reinforce the press as a crucial foundation for our democracy. PEN America is at the forefront of the fight to defend press freedom. We’ve opened an office in Washington, D.C., hosted a symposium, drafted op-eds, advocated on Capitol Hill, and mobilized letters and petitions.

Now we’re turning to the people. If press freedom is to survive intact in America, it will be because citizens rise up to demand and defend it.

PEN America has established a Press Freedom Incentive Fund to support PEN America Members, writers, and allies to mobilize their local communities around press freedom, helping to strengthen the national constituency behind this critical cause. We’re calling especially on our Members outside the major coastal cities to join us in this effort, devising ways to activate and engage your local communities. In addition to funding, PEN America’s experts on free expression, event planning, and literary activism are ready to support your efforts. Many of you have told us you want to take action—we are pleased to be able to help make that happen.

We are currently accepting proposals for projects from individuals as well as local groups to support activities that bolster support for press freedom between now and March 31, 2018. The Press Freedom Incentive Fund is designed to provide grants of about $1,000–$4,000 to support these activities.

Click here to apply »


The Press Freedom Incentive Fund will support new initiatives to invigorate local communities with ideas, information, questions, and discourse around press freedom defense. Proposals may center on events, panel discussions, campaigns, outreach efforts, educational initiatives, guest speakers, or other formats that can be effective in reaching local audiences (a list of possible ideas for inspiration is contained in the FAQs below). Priority will be given to proposals that have the potential to reach a significant and diverse audience, engage and sustain that audience over time, and facilitate partnership with local groups and organizations.

How do journalists tell stories? How can we convey to the public the impact of journalism? What role does the press play in empowering citizens, stimulating social change, and holding leaders accountable? What makes press stories trustworthy?

For more information about eligibility, selection criteria, and additional resources we are offering, please refer to the frequently asked questions below. You can also contact us at [email protected]