Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting



Washington, DC, United States

Tax ID:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $5,362,771
Expenses: $4,367,816
Assets: $9,718,376



Executive Director:

Jon Sawyer

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The Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting is a left-of-center group that provides support for journalism and makes stories available to media outlets. In addition, it also works to incorporate journalism and stories into school and university classroom curriculum. It is not affiliated with Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prizes.

The center developed the classroom curriculum for the New York Times’s controversial  1619 Project which claimed America was a fundamentally racist political system truly founded when the first enslaved Africans arrived in colonial Virginia. The Project has been criticized for providing an inaccurate view of America and for a lack of fact-checking, among other criticisms.


The Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on providing support for reporting and turning news reporting into education curriculum for both schools and universities. The organization provides grants for reporters to cover issues of left-of-center interest such as racism, environmentalism, immigration, and other topics. The stories are published on the Pulitzer Center’s own website or in other media outlets. 1

The Pulitzer Center also works to expand knowledge of global issues through education curriculum. The organization works with both K-12 schools and universities to encourage awareness of various issues. It also offers lesson plans for K-12 teachers and schools and reporting fellowships for university students. It also features the “meet the journalist” program where organization grantees introduce themselves and their work in videos. 2


Jon Sawyer is the executive director of the center. He became the center’s founding executive director in 2005. Previously, he had a 31-year career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sawyer was the Post-Dispatch’s Washington bureau chief from 1993 through 2005. On behalf of the center, Sawyer has covered issues overseas and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, al-Jazeera English, Nieman Reports, To the Point, and PBS “NewsHour.” 3

Nathalie Applewhite works as the managing director for the center. She joined the center in 2006. Before joining the center, she worked as documentary producer, director, and editor. She also worked in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary General. 4

Marvin Kalb is a senior advisor to the center. He is a former reporter for CBS and NBC, including a stint as host of “Meet the Press.” He is a founding director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard. 5

1619 Project

The Pulitzer Center created a curriculum including reading guides, lesson plans, and extension activities, around the New York Times’s “1619 Project” which claims America’s “true founding” dates from the arrival of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. It claimed that it created a “slavocracy” of racism and oppression encoded into the nation’s DNA. 6

The curriculum was placed in over 3,500 classrooms in all 50 states. While it is being used as supplemental and optional teaching materials in most classrooms, five school districts, including Chicago and Washington D.C., have made it mandatory. 7

One of the school districts to adopt the “1619 Project” as part of the required curriculum is the Buffalo Public Schools. The center donated 5,600 copies of the magazine length version of the “1619 Project” which is enough for all 11th and 12th grade students. 8

The “1619 Project” has been criticized as “full of falsehoods and distortions” by Gordon Wood, a leading historian of the American Revolution. Other history professors have criticized the framing of events by the project, especially its claims that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery. 9


According to its 2018 Form 990, the center raised $13.5 million and spent $8.9 million. It had $18.6 million in assets. 10

The form also showed that relatives of its executive director Jon Sawyer received payments from the center. His wife Kim Sawyer received over $80,000 for “consulting services” and his son-in-law Dan McCarey received $26,100 through his company for providing services. 11

Notable funders of the Pulitzer Center include liberal foundations such as the Kendeda Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network Fund, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. 12


  1. “Projects”. 2020. Pulitzer Center. Accessed March 15.
  2. “Education”. 2020. Pulitzer Center. Accessed March 15.
  3. “Jon Sawyer”. 2020. Pulitzer Center. Accessed March 15.
  4. “Nathalie Applewhite”. 2020. Pulitzer Center. Accessed March 15.
  5. “Marvin Kalb”. 2020. Pulitzer Center. Accessed March 15.
  6. Murawski, John. 2020. “Disputed New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Already Shaping Schoolkids’ Minds On Race”. The Daily Signal.
  7. Murawski, John. 2020. “Disputed New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Already Shaping Schoolkids’ Minds On Race”. The Daily Signal.
  8. Murawski, John. 2020. “Disputed New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Already Shaping Schoolkids’ Minds On Race”. The Daily Signal.
  9. Murawski, John. 2020. “Disputed New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Already Shaping Schoolkids’ Minds On Race”. The Daily Signal.
  10. Form 990. 2018. Ebook.
  11. Form 990. 2018. Ebook.
  12. Data compiled by subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted March 20, 2020.

Supported Movements

  1. 1619 Project
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2010

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $5,362,771 $4,367,816 $9,718,376 $33,738 N $5,170,888 $0 $99,890 $254,056
    2016 Dec Form 990 $8,434,649 $4,031,861 $8,553,583 $49,864 N $8,357,108 $0 $27,113 $244,998
    2015 Dec Form 990 $3,750,491 $3,332,271 $4,113,982 $43,017 N $3,665,605 $2,500 $16,437 $239,206 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,400,882 $2,849,342 $3,691,579 $12,024 N $2,325,660 $11,139 $4,303 $227,895 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $5,904,882 $2,739,512 $4,163,420 $30,357 N $5,834,843 $11,796 $1,449 $213,440 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,841,728 $2,144,656 $985,673 $17,980 N $1,790,205 $49,577 $1,946 $209,582 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,665,570 $2,004,321 $1,286,054 $15,433 N $2,655,491 $8,212 $1,867 $171,500 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

    1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite #615
    Washington, DC 20036
    United States