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"News and editorial activities are the cutting edge of what we do - controversial, exhausting and never-ending. But it is the entire institution that must perform at a high level of skill and commitment, with all departments part of the defense of the First Amendment and free speech. The writers have the microphone, everyone else provides the electricity and makes the system work. "

James B. McClatchy, 2002

First Amendment

The James B. McClatchy Foundation has always supported two key organizations that James loved: First Amendment Coalition and Committee to Protect Journalists. These ongoing operational supporting grants will continue to honor James’ legacy.

In its exploratory phase to embark on a major First Amendment initiative, the Foundation’s LIFT pilot will guide the Foundation to advance awareness of and engagement with the First Amendment as it relates to free speech, freedom of expression, and a free press.


First Amendment

Why It is Important

The James B. McClatchy Foundation envisions communities across the Central Valley thriving in all facets of civic life — from organizing their churches and neighborhoods — to showing up at city council or school board meetings to ask questions, to creating new content for a local news site in their own voices.

It is with the First Amendment freedoms of speech, and expression, and a free press, the LIFT Initiative strives to support and activate civic engagement in the Central Valley through examples such as:

  • Local journalism and Community media: In many places, local news is declining, especially in the home language of residents. Can we create more outlets to uplift voices and reach local and diverse communities?
  • Civic Engagement: There are key civic participation issues (i.e. education, environment, immigration) in neighborhoods and churches that communities seek to address. Can we enable coordinated efforts to engage and bridge diverse people across organizations, generations, and communities? 
  • First Amendment awareness: Are people familiar with their rights as residents? How can we keep local communities informed and engaged with their First Amendment freedoms?
  • Leadership development: With existing efforts to build leaders that represent the community, what does it look like to create more space for young leaders, parents, or community members to engage around issues impacting their lives? 
First Amendment

What We Do

Through an overall theme of community capacity building, the LIFT Initiative supports civic engagement ideas in three broad strategic pillars. 

  • The first pillar, Lifting Local Voices, supports two local journalism media lab startups, The Central Valley Community Foundation Fresno Bee Education Lab and Sacramento Region Community Foundation Sacramento Bee Community Voices, with an emphasis on local and community-based news coverage and creating more outlets to uplift often unheard voices. The Foundation sees these partnerships as a learning tool to gain knowledge about the impact that deeply embedded local community-driven journalism will have.
  • LIFTing Inclusive Partnerships: For the second pillar, the Foundation partners with civic engagement organizations to foster inclusive collaborations that aim to address pertinent local issues and strengthen under-resourced communities. View the partner press release.
  • The third pillar, LIFTing Organizational Power, seeks to identify core operational supports needed for Central Valley communities to reach their fullest potential as vibrant places to live.

First Amendment