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SPJ and SDX Foundation step up to provide assistance to students displaced by Katrina

For Immediate Release

Irwin Gratz, Society of Professional Journalists President, (207) 329-6203 or
Todd Gillman, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation President, (202) 661-8421 or
Terry Harper, Executive Director, (317) 927-8000, ext. 220 or

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists and its supporting foundation, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, today announced that they are making up to $25,000 available to journalism students who are forced to relocate to another college or university due to Hurricane Katrina.

Students whose schools in the hurricane affected areas have shut and are admitted to other schools this semester will qualify for a one-time $250 grant from the foundation to help replace books and study materials lost in the hurricane and subsequent flooding. The Society will administer the fund. Membership in SPJ is not a requirement to qualify for this assistance. (View and print the grant application.)

“We commend the colleges and universities across the nation that are opening their doors to the thousands of students whose lives have been turned upside down by this natural disaster,” said Irwin Gratz, the Society’s president and Morning Edition producer for Maine Public Broadcasting. “The Society of Professional Journalists is fortunate that its educational foundation has the resources to provide some measure of relief during this time when our nation needs to pull together and do all it can to help its citizens in need.”

“It is one of the missions of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation to serve the needs of students and I can’t think of a time when the need has been greater,” said Todd Gillman, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation president and Washington, D.C. correspondent for the Dallas Morning News.

To qualify, students majoring in journalism and/or communications with a journalism emphasis need only complete a simple application and have the school to which they move send an official letter certifying the student’s enrollment due to displacement by Hurricane Katrina. All inquiries should be directed to Executive Director Terry Harper at the Society’s headquarters in Indianapolis at 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208, (317) 927-8000, ext. 220.

“It’s really important that each of us in our own way move expeditiously to help our fellow citizens who survived this disaster get some semblance of normalcy back to their lives as soon as they can,” said Gratz and Gillman. “It will have to done one person and one brick at a time and will require some collective effort by many. We hope other journalism organizations will find merit in our gesture to help journalism students and do what they can.”

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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