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Pew Charitable Trusts Establishes New Nonprofit Research Organization to Help Better Inform Public & Policymakers on Issues & Trends

(The following press release is from The Pew Charitable Trusts.)

(Philadelphia) April 27, 2004 – As part of its long-term commitment to informing the public with credible, timely research, The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today it is establishing a new nonprofit subsidiary to house all of the major information projects it supports—one of the first initiatives by the Trusts to make use of the increased flexibility afforded by its change to a public charity on January 1, 2004. The new subsidiary—to be named the Pew Research Center—will be based in Washington, D.C., and bring together seven Trusts-supported information projects that are leading sources of independent, nonpartisan research, polling and news on important issues and trends. The projects are:

  • Pew Research Center for the People and the Press—led by Andrew Kohut
  • Project for Excellence in Journalism (expected to join Pew Research Center in 2006)—led by Tom Rosenstiel
  •—led by Ed Fouhy and Gene Gibbons
  • Pew Internet & American Life Project—led by Lee Rainie
  • Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life—led by Luis Lugo
  • Pew Hispanic Center—led by Roberto Suro
  • Pew Global Attitudes Project—led by Andrew Kohut

“Credible, reliable information is the life blood on which democracies run, and it is increasingly important in America and our world today,” said Rebecca Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “One of the primary missions of the Trusts is to inform the public on key issues and trends. For the past decade, these information projects have produced independent, nonpartisan research on a range of important topics—the impact of the Internet, how the world views us, religion and public life, the Latino experience, the changing news media and more. Bringing all of this experience and credibility together is an excellent example of how we can use our new public charity status to serve the public interest.”

The new Pew Research Center, which was approved by the Trusts board on March 16, will become operational on July 1. The existing information projects, now dispersed in offices around Washington, D.C., are expected to move into a common office space beginning in December 2004.

Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, will serve as president of the new Pew Research Center. Paul Taylor, a longtime journalist and currently assistant director, Information Initiatives, for the Trusts, will be the Pew Research Center’s executive vice president. They will be joined by the directors of the seven information projects, who will continue to manage each initiative and preserve their distinctive research agendas and identities.

“The American public’s judgments on the big questions of the day serve our country well. We are dedicated to recording and reporting them as objectively and fully as possible,” said Kohut.

“The new Pew Research Center will bring together some of the best experts on the trends that are changing America. Think of it as both a news resource and a think tank—a fact tank that provides timely, reliable information to help policy makers, business and other leaders better understand the public’s point of view, and help the public better understand the issues and trends that affect their lives.”

New Pew Research Center Builds on Strong Record of Research

The new Pew Research Center will be the first subsidiary established by the Trusts, which gained the flexibility to create such an entity when it changed its legal status in January from operating as a private foundation to a public charity. The Trusts made the change to public charity status—which was approved by the IRS, the courts and the Pennsylvania Attorney General—to enhance both its effectiveness and efficiency in serving the public interest, help it partner with a broader range of organizations and contributors on important initiatives, and save funds to invest in issues that matter most to the public.

As part of the change, the Trusts also reorganized its program areas into three portfolios—Information, Policy and Civic Life—each with distinct and separate missions. As a nonprofit subsidiary of the Trusts, the new Pew Research Center will enhance the quality and broaden the reach of the Trusts Information portfolio, creating new opportunities among the seven information projects to collaborate with one another and more nimbly address new research areas. The new subsidiary will also enable the Trusts to reduce administrative costs associated with making grants for the seven information projects to multiple organizations which currently host the initiatives.

The new Pew Research Center will build on the credibility and experience of each of its information initiatives, which have demonstrated their ability to sense emerging newsworthy trends, disseminate information on a wide range of international, national and state-based issues, convene policy leaders to discuss timely topics, and maintain a strict commitment to independent, nonpartisan information and research. The new Pew Research Center will also have its own governing board, which will oversee day-to-day operations, including setting policies and approving budgets.

“The Trusts were very fortunate to have Andy bring his well-established polling operation into our orbit in 1995,” said Don Kimelman, director, Information Initiatives, for the Trusts. Since then, we have seeded other projects that have branched out into new issue areas and, under the leadership of some of our nation’s top journalists and scholars, have become among the Trusts’ most valued and cited resources, by audiences inside the Beltway, in statehouses and beyond. They have helped to inform the public debate on a wide range of important and cutting-edge issues. The time has come to both preserve and build upon this important mission. Establishing the new Pew Research Center will help accomplish that.”

The Trusts Information initiatives were originally launched in 1995 when Kohut’s nationally-known polling organization, The Center for the People & the Press, became a Trusts-supported project, coming from the Times-Mirror Corporation. The six other projects were conceived and launched by the Trusts and a variety of partners to help frame and strengthen democratic discourse on an array of important issues. Since then, the projects have produced hundreds of reports and surveys on a broad range of major national and international issues, which have been widely cited and referenced by the media, thought leaders and policy makers.

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