Jim’s Story

From our President & Founder

Dear Reader,

It is my great joy to tell you about our beloved son, James Wright Foley. Jim was the oldest of our five children, curious, and fun-loving from birth. Stories delighted him, inspiring much imaginative play as a child. He was goofy, daring, and brave.

Listening was one of Jim’s gifts and the reason for his wide, diverse circle of friends. He always took time to listen, making him often late, but endearing him to all. He knew everyone had a story, that ordinary people were truly extraordinary, that moments of tiny beauty could become epic. He was open to the world and so the world opened itself to him.

As a freelance journalist, Jim knew that Syria was becoming more dangerous but felt compelled to bring the stories of the Syrian people to us. Jim was kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day 2012, tortured, and starved for two years before being publicly beheaded by ISIS because he was an American journalist.

Jim’s moral courage challenged me to start the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation three weeks after his murder, to prioritize freedom for innocent Americans taken captive abroad, promote journalist safety, and inspire moral courage one person at a time.

Jim lives on through our work and all the people Jim has inspired. I invite you to join our Foley Foundation community and dare to use your gifts for good in our world.

Wishing you strength and hope always,

Diane Foley's signature
Jim Foley as a child and grown up with his mother, Diane
Jim: The James Foley Story – Official Trailer (available on Max)

Jim’s Lasting Impact

Jim’s legacy endures through the Foley Foundation and its work to secure freedom for Americans held unjustly captive abroad and prevent future hostage taking.

We inspire moral courage one person at a time to value the return of our U.S. nationals taken captive abroad and journalists worldwide. We have driven critical policy and legislative changes, helped create the U.S. government’s “hostage enterprise,” advocated successfully for the return of over 100 Americans held captive abroad, and educated journalists and their employers to know how to protect themselves while carrying out their important work, work that underpins a healthy democracy. 

In 2014, the Foley family established the James W. Foley Legacy Fund — later renamed the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and widely known simply as the “Foley Foundation.”

  • James W. Foley Medill Medal of Courage, Northwestern University 
  • James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, Online Journalism Association 
  • James W. Foley Scholarship, Marquette University: Diederich College of Communication 
  • James W. Foley Middle East Fellowship at GroundTruth Project 
  • James W. Foley University of Massachusetts Memorial Writing Prize
  • Doctorate in Human Letters, Plymouth State University