By Sonni Efron

The National Press Foundation announces nine new one-time journalism awards to honor excellence in reporting on poverty and inequality and their effects on families in the United States in 2020.

The awards are offered in conjunction with a four-month series of trainings for journalists on “Poverty and Inequality 2020” that begins on Sept. 2. The online training is free and open to all. The first applications are due Oct. 1.

Background: Nearly 13 million American children were living in poverty long before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. School districts where most students were children of color received $23 billion less in state and local education funding annually prior to the pandemic than majority-white school districts – despite serving the same number of students. Child care was unaffordable for many working families while child care workers often earned poverty wages. And when illness struck, low-wage families were unable to care for themselves or a family member without losing pay and possibly their jobs.

The pandemic, recession and national protests against racial injustice have spotlighted these longstanding trends and sparked a wave of proposals for change. The new prizes will celebrate in-depth, policy-relevant reporting on poverty and inequality and how vulnerable families are navigating the confusing patchwork of federal, state and local policies that help or sometimes hinder their quest for health, education and financial security.

Details: Read carefully for publication dates and application deadlines.

The National Press Foundation will offer nine one-time rolling awards of $4,000 each, according to the size of the news outlet. Journalists must attend at least two of the online training programs to be eligible. The jury for these awards will be panels of professional journalists.

September Prizes: Best reporting on children in poverty in America

October Prizes: Best reporting on the effects of racism and/or inequality on American society

December Prizes: Best reporting on “what works” to ameliorate poverty in America.


These awards are open to U.S.-based journalists publishing in any medium (print, broadcast, online, podcast, etc.) whose work represents the highest standards of journalism. Applicants for each prize must have attended at least two of the online NPF training programs held during the previous month and published their work during that month. Winners of previous awards in this series are ineligible to reapply in later months. Work must be submitted according to the size of the news outlet that publishes the work. Details, rules and eligibility can be found here.

Questions about the awards can be directed to Jenny Ash-Maher, NPF director of operations, at


Both the training and the awards are sponsored by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation. NPF is solely responsible for the content.