We thank God for the gift of James for 40 wonderful years. He brought our family deep joy, laughter, and loving memories for a lifetime.
We want to share our deepest appreciation for the worldwide outpouring of prayers, love, and solidarity in these difficult days. Jim’s spirit becomes stronger than ever for us through your embrace. The memories you have shared have awakened in us the realization, not only that he was a dedicated journalist and teacher, but that he embodied the very concept of humanitarianism. You have helped us to see Jim as a man who gave his life for others. We are truly in awe of the person he became.
Jim's life challenges us all to love and forgive one another, and to make this world a better place. His bold commitment to bearing witness of the suffering in conflict zones and his extraordinary ability to befriend others drives us to somehow find a way to keep his memory alive.
Many of you have asked us what you can do to help. Our urgent need is to help carry Jim’s indomitable spirit forward. We ask that, in lieu of flowers or food, you consider making a donation to the newly created James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.
Let us remember Jim with gratitude and use our grief to bond us together in his memory. We must not allow his death to be in vain. Let’s harness his compassionate spirit to continue his concern for the suffering and disadvantaged.
With love and deep gratitude,
-- The Foley familyThe James W. Foley Foundation
All letters Jim wrote to his family during his captivity were confiscated by the jailers.
So, Jim devised a better approach this last June: he asked fellow hostage Daniel Rye Ottosen who was about to be released to commit a letter to memory.
Very soon after his release, Daniel called Jim's mother Diane and dictated what follows.
"Dear Family and Friends,
I remember going to the Mall with Dad, a very long bike ride with Mom. I remember so many great family times that take me away from this prison. Dreams of family and friends take me away and happiness fills my heart.
I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray.
Eighteen of us have been held together in one cell, which has helped me. We have had each other to have endless long conversations about movies, trivia, sports. We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell…we have found ways to play checkers, Chess, and Risk… and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture. The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension.
I have had weak and strong days. We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year.
I think a lot about my brothers and sister. I remember playing Werewolf in the dark with Michael and so many other adventures. I think of chasing Mattie and T around the kitchen counter. It makes me happy to think of them. If there is any money left in my bank account, I want it to go to Michael and Matthew. I am so proud of you, Michael and thankful to you for happy childhood memories and to you and Kristie for happy adult ones.
And big John, how I enjoyed visiting you and Cress in Germany. Thank you for welcoming me. I think a lot about RoRo and try to imagine what Jack is like. I hope he has RoRo’s personality!
And Mark... so proud of you too Bro. I think of you on the West coast and hope you are doing some snowboarding and camping, I especially remember us going to the Comedy Club in Boston together and our big hug after. The special moments keep me hopeful.
Katie, so very proud of you. You are the strongest and best of us all!! I think of you working so hard, helping people as a nurse. I am so glad we texted just before I was captured. I pray I can come to your wedding…. now I am sounding like Grammy!!
Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home. Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.
By Peter AlvarezWhen the news broke earlier this year that an American journalist named James Foley had been killed, I paused. I felt my stomach turn from the heinousness of the act, not yet realizing that I knew James. Read the full text
By Nicholas KristofSteven Sotloff and James Foley Elevated Journalism and Society. My heart broke for Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist beheaded in Syria, not only because of the barbarity ISIS inflicted on him but also because he died trying to push back against the trend in news coverage. Read the full text
By GlobalPost's editorial teamBOSTON — The scene is pure adrenaline. First, you hear panicked rebels crying “Allahu Akbar” — God is great. Foley knows better than to turn off the camera, in case there’s more action, or the worst happens. As he runs for his life, the image goes berserk: anxious breathing, a stampede of feet, the ground twisting this way and that as his arms pump. You can almost feel Jim’s death grip on the camera. Seconds later: the brief, screeching whistle of the incoming shell. The dull thwack of impact. The image cuts to a scene in a truck, speeding from the front. Hapless Libyan rebels on foot run madly to escape the advancing troops of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Jaws dropped as we watched. Hearts hammered. Yet we were all in the safety of GlobalPost’s editorial offices. Read the full text
By Nicolas HeninA French journalist, held hostage with James Foley for seven months, has been describing his time in captivity with the murdered journalist. Nicolas Henin was taken hostage in Syria in June 2013. He spent 10 months in captivity - seven of them with James Foley. Read the full text
By Clare Gillis"In the final moments of August 19, I was about to turn the internet off for the night when the first email arrived. "I just want to let you know I'm here for you, if you want to talk just call anytime," and a New York number. I didn't know yet what had happened, but Jim was the first person that came to mind. "That sounds ominous," I replied, dully hoping it was not what I thought. "Oh fuck, fuck, Clare, it's bad, call me, I am so, so sorry." Read the full text
By Mark SingerJames Foley’s reasons for becoming a reporter were modest but not small. During the summer of 2007, he enrolled at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. At thirty-three, he had a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, several years of experience teaching school, and a yearning for an occupation that would immerse him more immediately in the world. Read the full text
By Bryan Marquard and Zachary T. SampsonOn his first day in Stephan Garnett's journalism class at Northwestern University in 2007, James Foley listened while Garnett explained that the profession could at times be very dangerous. "You can get hurt doing this job. You can get killed doing this job. And you’d better learn to think on your feet," Garnett told his students. "Jim came up to me afterward and said, 'I think I'm going to like this class,' " Garnett recalled Wednesday. "He was a very courageous guy, and he didn't scare easily." Read the full text
By Peter BouckaertMy dear friend Jim Foley, the American journalist brutally executed by the Islamic State this week, was one of the kindest and most caring people I’ve ever worked with. In the often competitive and macho world of war reporting, Jim stood out with his humbleness, his compassion, and his deeply collegial nature. Read the full text
By Jon Lee AndersonA video showing the beheading, by a black-garbed executioner, of the American journalist James Foley is the latest in a series of sickening acts that the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, has visited on the world in recent months. Foley’s execution was presented as a choreographed “message to America” by this band of performance-minded terrorists, who seek to be seen, heard, and feared by as many people as possible. Jim Foley, who was forty, was a handsome and quietly intrepid man who reported for GlobalPost, a Boston-based news site. Read the full text
The Foley Family has formed the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation in order to further Jim’s memory and ensure his death was not in vain.
The Foundation's activities will include building a resource center for families of American hostages and fostering a global dialog on governmental policies in hostage crises; supporting American journalists reporting from conflict zones and promoting quality educational opportunities for urban youth.
Financial contributions will not be used to pay ransoms to terrorist organizations.The James W. Foley Foundation
To honor his memory the friends and family of James Foley have established a scholarship fund through Marquette University, his alma mater.