Honoring Daniel Ellsberg’s legacy: A $1 million donation to tackle government secrecy

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Promoting press freedom in the 21st century

Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

We are thrilled to announce that Jack Dorsey — Block Head, Chairman, and co-founder of Block Inc. — has donated $1 million through his philanthropic initiative, #startsmall, to Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) to help establish the Daniel Ellsberg Chair on Government Secrecy.

Ellsberg, the legendary whistleblower and co-founder of FPF who passed away last month, made it part of his life’s work to protest the U.S. government’s out-of-control classification system and its corrosive effect on democracy. To honor his legacy, we recently announced an ambitious mission in Ellsberg’s name to shed light on the abuses of over-classification and aggressively push for reform.

“We are beyond grateful for this incredible investment from Jack Dorsey for the Daniel Ellsberg Chair on Government Secrecy,” said FPF Executive Director Trevor Timm. Jack’s gift will not only ensure Daniel Ellsberg’s life's work is carried forward but will be crucial in leading the charge for transparency nationwide.

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The Ellsberg Chair is dedicated to unmasking secrecy abuses and fostering public dialogue on the issues plaguing our government. The appointed full-time staff member will delve into every aspect of government secrecy, ranging from the problem of excessive classification to the limitations of the Freedom of Information Act and the misuse of the Espionage Act against whistleblowers and publishers.

Working hand in hand with journalists and other press freedom organizations, this individual will shine a spotlight on overlooked stories surrounding malpractices within the classification system. They will collaborate closely with media outlets to bring these issues to the forefront of public consciousness, raising awareness, and igniting meaningful conversations about the dire consequences of unchecked government secrecy.

As Ellsberg once said, “Truth-telling to Congress and the public is not disloyal in America: it is an expression of the higher loyalty officials owe to the Constitution, the rule of law, and the sovereign public. It is a courageous, patriotic, and effective way to serve our country. The time to speak out is now.”

With the support of #startsmall and its commitment to transparency, we are excited to carry Ellsberg’s truth-telling torch forward.

Taking on the national security establishment will not be an easy task and is uniquely susceptible to changes in political or fiscal winds. FPF is raising an endowment fund for the Daniel Ellsberg Chair on Government Secrecy so that this position can hopefully live in perpetuity and advocate for government transparency without fear or favor.

Before the generous contribution from #startsmall, FPF had secured approximately one-third of its goal. But now, we are nearly two-thirds of the way there.

If you are inspired by Jack Dorsey’s gift and would like to contribute to funding the Daniel Ellsberg Chair on Government Secrecy, please contact FPF’s Executive Director Trevor Timm at [email protected].

Your tax-deductible support will make a lasting impact in the fight for press freedom and government transparency. Together, we can protect the vital role that journalism plays in preserving democracy and promoting the public good.

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