Evgeny Lebedev, head of the UK publishing operation including the Evening Standard and the Independent, has confirmed that the Journalism Foundation’s offices are due to close this week.
Less than one year ago the Lebedev family set up the venture to train journalists, expose corruption and promote “free and independent journalism”. The high profile organisation planned to fund investigative journalism around the world as Lededev put forward his vision of how the "biggest titles around the world” could “pool resources to uncover the schemes and money flows used to sustain massive corruption".
The organisation was led by Simon Kelner, former editor-in-chief of the Independent, and linked to the highly regarded journalism course at London's City University. However, according to the Guardian it relied heavily on the Lebedev family pumping funds into the project, amounting to somewhere in the region of £600,000.
A spokesman for Evgeny Lebedev confirmed that a decision to close the foundation had been taken reluctantly, but said it had proved "very difficult" to raise financing from third parties to supplement the initial grant from the family. The spokesman added that the family planned to support journalistic projects direct from their charitable foundation.