The Blade Foundation, a non-profit that works to educate the next generation of LGBTQ journalists and to fund enterprise projects into queer topics, announced this week it has awarded two $2,000 fellowships to aspiring journalists.
The first is a reporting fellowship focused on topics of interest to the D.C. LGBTQ community funded by a grant from the DC Front Runners Pride Run Foundation, which presented the Foundation with a $2,000 donation at last June’s Pride Run 5K.
The fellowship goes to Michelle Siegel, who is studying multi-platform investigative journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
“I moved to the Washington, D.C. area last year in hope of finding the support system of resources, mentors and fellow LGBTQ journalists that I never had out in rural Michigan, so receiving a Blade Foundation Reporting Fellowship is, quite literally, my dream come true,” Siegel said. “I am grateful to the Blade Foundation and the DC Front Runners for making this opportunity available to me, and I am excited to become a better reporter through working with the Blade.”
“We are thrilled to support the Blade Reporting Fellowship through proceeds from the DC Front Runners Pride Run Foundation. We offer our warmest congratulations to Michelle upon her selection and wish her well as she pursues her journalism studies with this valuable hands-on experience at the Blade Foundation,” said Pride Run Foundation Directors Rob Geremia and Ivan Cheung.
Siegel will start her fellowship in March and work for 12 weeks mentored by Blade staff.
The second fellowship is the Blade Foundation Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, named in honor of Elkins, a journalist and co-founder of the CAMP Rehoboth LGBT community center, who passed away in March 2018. Elkins served as editor of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth in Delaware for many years as well as executive director of the center.
The fellow covers issues of interest to the LGBTQ community of Delaware for 12 weeks during the summer months. Topics include coverage of legislative and political issues out of Dover; LGBTQ business issues in Wilmington; the summer beach season in Rehoboth and more. Stories are published in the Washington Blade online and print editions. The fellowship is funded by Rehoboth community donations at an annual summer kickoff event in May. This year’s event is slated for May 15. Details to come soon.
The Elkins Memorial fellowship goes to Joshua Keller, a student at Washington University in St. Louis and native of Northern Virginia. His fellowship will commence in late May.
“I feel so honored to receive the Steve Elkins Memorial Fellowship,” Keller said. “I look forward to working with the Blade and Delaware’s LGBTQ community.”
“I can only imagine how excited Steve would be to know the Fellowship named in his honor will continue to support young journalists,” said Murray Archibald, Elkins’s husband and co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. “I look forward to congratulating Joshua in person, and sharing with him a little of Steve’s passion for his life’s work.”
Kevin Naff, executive director of the Blade Foundation, congratulated the students and thanked donors.
“First, congratulations to Michelle and Joshua, we look forward to seeing what they can do this spring in highlighting the stories of our community,” Naff said. “And thank you to everyone at Front Runners for donating to the Blade Foundation and thanks to the generous LGBTQ community in Rehoboth Beach for opening their wallets to fund this important work.”
To donate to the Blade Foundation, please visit bladefoundation.org.