Freedom Forum Founded

July 4, 1991: Freedom Forum Founded

Date: July 4, 1991

Independence Day marks the birth of the Freedom Forum, which grew out of the Frank E. Gannett Newspaper Foundation, established by the newspaper publisher in Rochester, N.Y., in 1935.

After Al Neuharth became Gannett’s chief executive officer in 1973, the company became the nation’s largest newspaper chain. The foundation also grew. From 1977 through 1989, it provided nearly $27 million in grants — more than $72 million in 2021 dollars — to further journalism-related education, nonprofits, professional organizations, diversity and other initiatives.

In 1989, the foundation relocated to Arlington, Va., overlooking Washington, D.C., and in 1991 became the Freedom Forum, with a mission to foster First Amendment freedoms.

More on the transition from the Gannett Foundation to the Freedom Forum is available here.

Pictured left: Charles Overby, Martin Birmingham, Al Neuharth and John Quinn at the document signing ceremony establishing the Freedom Forum. Right: Freedom Forum staff in Arlington, Va.