Inside MCF

Marguerite Casey Foundation Issues Journalism Fellowships to Put Spotlight on Families, Poverty and Solutions

February 9, 2018

Brad Wong
By Brad Wong
Content Editor – Equal Voice

SEATTLE – Marguerite Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy that believes no family should live in poverty, has awarded five Journalism Fellowships to support in-depth multimedia storytelling so the public and policymakers can gain a deeper understanding of families, what it means to be poor and the need for solutions.

Each Foundation Journalism Fellowship includes a reporting stipend of $2,250 and up to $1,000 to cover travel expenses. The Fellowships were awarded to: The team of Joaquin Cotler, Michael O’Brien and Stephanie Daniel (NPR’s Latino USA); David Cruz (Norwood News); Zachariah Hughes (Alaska Public Media); Hanna Miller (Mississippi Public Broadcasting); and Elizabeth Zach (Rural In These Times). Each reporting project is expected to be published in a news media outlet by the end of March 2018.

“With more than 40 million Americans still officially living in poverty, quality journalistic storytelling about families is needed for progress and equity to occur. Poverty also affects so many more families in America,” said Luz Vega-Marquis, president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation.

“In the face of bad policy, families coming together to find solutions and quality storytelling are so important now in the U.S. Marguerite Casey Foundation is proud to support positive change by offering these Fellowships. Congratulations to all the recipients, and thank you to all the applicants.”

Here are details of each Journalism Fellowship project:

  • A team consisting of Joaquin Cotler, Michael O’Brien and Stephanie Daniel is producing an audio report examining efforts to fight heroin use among Puerto Ricans in the Bronx borough of New York City, as well as treatment efforts in Puerto Rico. Their first story aired on NPR’s Latino USA on Feb. 2, 2018.
  • David Cruz is writing a three-part series looking at affordable housing, structural segregation and the overall effect on families in the Bronx. His first story was published on March 1, 2018.
  • Zachariah Hughes is filing a multipart report about climate change and what is happening to low-income, rural Alaska Natives living in remote coastal communities near the Arctic. His first dispatch aired on Jan. 31, 2018 on Alaska Public Media. His second dispatch was published on Feb. 5, 2018. PRI’s The World aired and published one of his dispatches on Feb. 22, 2018.
  • Hanna Miller, a documentary filmmaker, is creating a video focusing on the La Mariposa Food Truck in Magnolia, Mississippi, one of the poorest towns in one of the poorest states in America. The food truck, started by a person from outside the community, hires, as Miller says, “outliers” in the area.
  • Elizabeth Zach, in her report, is reviewing whether the U.S. government definition of “persistent poverty” is flawed when it comes to families, especially in California’s Fresno County.
    In this round, Marguerite Casey Foundation received 71 complete Journalism Fellowship applications. People in 21 states, including Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa and Louisiana, submitted applications. More than half of the applicants were journalists of color.

The Foundation selected the Journalism Fellows in November 2017. Since 2012, when the program started, Marguerite Casey Foundation has awarded Journalism Fellowships and Scholarships to nearly 30 people.

Past journalism projects supported by Marguerite Casey Foundation have appeared in The Nation, BuzzFeed,, New America Media, Oregon Public Broadcasting and WYPR, the public radio station in Baltimore.

Marguerite Casey Foundation is an independent grantmaking organization that supports low-income families who are raising their voice and organizing for justice, equity and progress.

Marguerite Casey Foundation Issues Journalism Fellowships to Put Spotlight on Families, Poverty and Solutions