Craig Newmark Philanthropies Increases Support for IWMF HEFAT Program

Funds critical, no-cost training for women and nonbinary journalists in U.S.

[May 18, 2023 – Washington, DC] – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today announced that Craig Newmark Philanthropies is renewing its investment in the organization’s Hostile Environment and First Aid Training (HEFAT) program. The IWMF is currently the only safety training provider offering HEFATs at no cost to women and nonbinary journalists in the U.S.

The additional funding from Craig Newmark Philanthropies will formalize a series of four safety trainings – in 2023 and 2024 – for both staffed and freelance journalists. Beginning this month in Austin, Texas, the IWMF’s security trainers will prepare journalists to report safely in advance of the 2024 election, amid increasing assault and gun violence nationwide.

“Keeping journalists safe is critical to protecting press freedom and a functioning democracy,” said Craig Newmark, founder of Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “I am proud to continue my support of the IWMF’s singular work training women and nonbinary journalists. Without the IWMF, these trainings would not be available for journalists whose voices are critical to news media today.”

In 2020, 631 journalists were assaulted and 145 were arrested or faced criminal charges amid civil unrest and a contentious election cycle. In June of 2022 alone, 28 incidents of assault, arrest, detention, search and seizure, and more were reported across more than 12 states in the U.S.

“The situation for U.S. journalists is increasingly dire,” said the IWMF’s executive director Elisa Lees Muñoz. “Extremist rhetoric, an epidemic of gun violence and the scourge of abuse online can prevent journalists from working freely, in addition to causing physical and mental trauma. Thanks to Craig Newmark Philanthropies, we can prepare more journalists to stay safe in the field and online.”

Since 2014, the IWMF has completed 55 HEFAT courses globally, which have provided critical skills and safety training to more than 800 journalists. These trainings are identity-centric, ensuring that each course is uniquely tailored to the needs of women and nonbinary media workers as well as journalists of color. These in-person trainings cover scenarios including civil unrest, active gunfire, digital security and mitigating post-traumatic stress.

One previous IWMF HEFAT participant noted: “[It’s] critical to find a way to make this accessible to all journalists — especially women and nonbinary folks — as soon as possible. It’s imperative to our work and safety. Now that I’ve completed the IWMF’s HEFAT, I understand what precautions I can take to be safer physically and mentally in my line of work.”

For more information on supporting the IWMF’s HEFAT courses, please contact Director of Development Krista Lewis at


About the IWMF

The IWMF is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, on Instagram on @TheIWMF and on TikTok @theiwmf.

Media Contact: Charlotte Fox,