The Moore family and NLP: A leap of faith and a legacy gift

Updates

Alan C. Miller

Founder and CEO


In January 2009, philanthropists David and Katherine Moore took a leap of faith in me and the News Literacy Project when they became one of our first individual donors, despite the fact  that we had yet to provide a single classroom lesson. 

The Moores have been part of the NLP family ever since, making annual donations without fail. Following David’s death in 2011, Katherine took up our cause. This year, at her behest, the family gave NLP an exceptionally generous $500,000 advanced bequest to create an endowment. David’s and Katherine’s son, Richard, delivered the news.

“The News Literacy Project has been extremely important to my father and mother,” he said. “As a result, my mother wants to provide this special gift.”

NLP is using the funds to launch The David and Katherine Moore Endowment. This is a cornerstone of NLP’s newly created Legacy Society to recognize and thank those who are including NLP in their estate planning.

I’m tremendously grateful for the Moore family’s deep commitment to news literacy, and for the deeply meaningful friendship that David and I shared. Here is our story. 

The first time I met David, I asked him for money.

“Alan,” he responded, seemingly taken aback, “This is our first date. You can’t ask for money yet!”

The year was 2008.  Following a 29-year career as a journalist, I had just launched NLP. I had a lot to learn. David was one of those who would teach me.

As it turned out, this would be the first of many memorable lunches with David at the stately Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan, following an introduction by a family friend. It would also be the last time that David would decline my request for money.

In the years that followed, as David and I became friends, I relished our encounters.

Then in his mid-80s, David took the train in from a New York suburb for our lunches and other events as an active member of our New York advisory committee. He and Katherine visited our first high school partner in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen to watch David Gonzalez of The New York Times, who was our initial volunteer journalist fellow, alternate between English and Spanish as he powerfully connected with the students.

David Moore’s support was profoundly meaningful for another reason: He was the grandson of Joseph Pulitzer (I won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting with the Los Angeles Times in 2003).

With journalism in his blood, David did it all: He worked as a reporter; he founded an independent weekly and a magazine; he served as editor-in-chief of two publications, and he was active on the board of various journalism nonprofits. Among his most cherished causes were ethnic community news outlets and the Pulitzer Center for Investigative Journalism. 

In NLP, David saw a chance to make a difference by building an appreciation for journalism and by educating the next generation, particularly in New York’s underserved communities. 

David was invariably sharp, inquisitive and engaged. In 2010, he showed up for lunch with a copy of a long story about NLP. He had circled a reference deep in the piece about our plans to build upon our initial classroom program to create a digital unit and begin to move to scale.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” he asked. Another lesson: No surprises for David.

When David died in 2011 the age of 88, Katherine took up the NLP mantle in his honor. In 2014, she increased the family foundation’s yearly gift to NLP from $25,000 to $35,000, for an annual giving total of $445,000 since 2009.

I believe David would be extremely proud of how far NLP has come since that first lunch in 2008. The family’s most recent gift underscores that the project, and its growing impact, will be around for a long time to come.

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