Six schools receive First Amendment program grants

McCormick Foundation grant supports First Amendment education programs on campuses; part of national 1 for All campaign

Five universities and a Chicago community college have been selected to receive $5,000 grants to conduct programs in the 2011-2012 academic year as part of the national 1 for All campaign to raise awareness of the First Amendment and the fundamental freedoms it protects.

The campus program of 1 for All, called Liberty Tree Initiative, is funded by a grant from the McCormick Foundation and brings thought-provoking First Amendment programs and speakers to university and college campuses nationwide.

1 for All is a nonpartisan, collaborative effort of educators, artists, journalists, lawyers, librarians and others who believe that the American public will benefit from a greater understanding of the First Amendment and the need to protect all voices, views and faiths. Thousands of news media, arts and religious groups and other organizations from all 50 states have offered their help in support of these core freedoms.

Grant recipients for the 2011-2012 academic year:

  • Dominican University of California
  • North Georgia College and State University
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri
  • Wilbur Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago

In addition to college programs, the 1 for All campaign features ads that celebrate freedom in America and the ways we exercise those freedoms in our daily lives, and lesson plans for educators about the First Amendment. The public is invited to “sign” the First Amendment and support the campaign.

“As the 1 For All campaign celebrates its first anniversary, we’re pleased to extend the Liberty Tree Initiative, a remarkable partnership that taps into the energy of the First Amendment and the insights of experts, academic leaders, artists, musicians and journalists across this country,” said Ken Paulson, president and CEO of the First Amendment Center and a founder of 1 for All.

“The interest level and quality of applications for the Liberty Tree Initiative First Amendment programs continue to rise,” said Clark Bell, the McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program Director. “In addition to this outstanding group of winning universities, we are pleased that a two-year community college will be able to bring the First Amendment to life on its campus.”

1 for All and its campus initiative were founded in partnership with the American Society of News Editors, and with help and support from the Knight Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, the First Amendment Center and the Newseum. The First Amendment Center’s annual State of the First Amendment surveys, available at, show a fundamental lack of public knowledge and understanding about the First Amendment.

The Liberty Tree Initiative programs continue the tradition of constructive and collegial conversations about freedom started by America’s earliest patriots under an elm tree near the Boston Common in 1665. The 1 for All program aims to have a Liberty Tree like the one in Boston planted on participating campuses as a symbol of the importance of the First Amendment to an educated public.

“Thousands of students on campuses across the country have experienced amazing First Amendment programs” thanks to Liberty Tree Initiative programs thus far, said Sandra Chance, campus coordinator for the program and executive director of the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. “We’re thrilled to be able to fund these new programs and continue to support innovative and exciting First Amendment education for the leaders of tomorrow.”

Colleges and universities interested in applying for future grants can learn more about the program on this page. For more information, contact Chance at or at 352/392-2273.

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Sandra Chance, or 352/392-2273

  • The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. For more information:
  • The American Society of News Editors, founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, focuses on leadership development and journalism-related issues. For more information:
  • The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida educates the public, press and government officials about the value of the First Amendment and the importance of open government. For more information:
  • The First Amendment Center serves as a nonpartisan forum for the study and exploration of First Amendment issues. For more information:
  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism excellence in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more information:
  • The Newseum, in Washington, D.C., is a 250,000-square-foot museum of news that offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits. The Newseum’s features include a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment, and the Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery. For more information:

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