News photographers are on the front lines of every major disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. It is an unprecedented story with historic global impact. Visual journalists are putting themselves at great risk of exposure to the virus as they bring vitally important information to the public. And they have also been financially hard hit. They face layoffs, canceled assignments, furloughs and salary cuts as publishers and other clients scale back. Visual journalists need our help.
Our mission is to aid working visual journalists. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and the National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF) created a relief fund for NPPA members financially impacted by the pandemic. This is an important first step in a long-term NPPA goal of ongoing relief for its members. By mid-April, we raised $40,000.
The NPPA Board of Directors established an application procedure and convened a committee to review member applicants and disperse funds. All donations were processed through the NPPF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Over 400 donors generously participated, which allowed the NPPA and NPPF to distribute more than $34,000 of the money raised to 69 qualified applicants at the end of April, providing each with a $500 relief grant. Residual funds are being held over for a second fundraiser, likely to be held later this year. Sony, a major sponsor of numerous NPPA-related events and activities, benevolently contributed $5,000 to the fund. Their example spurred a massive outpouring of monetary donations large and small. We wholeheartedly thank those who have helped photographers during this difficult and uncertain time. Donations continue to be accepted at NPPF.org, where the list of donors also can be found.
The pandemic creates uncertainty for all of us. The NPPA remains devoted to continuing its support of visual journalists affected around the world. We thank all who have joined us in this cause.