Lorana Sullivan Foundation
The Lorana Sullivan Foundation was established as twin charities in New York and in Britain with an endowment from Lorana Sullivan’s will to enhance the role and education of women in business and financial reporting, and generally to improve the standards of investigative journalism.
The Foundation, which sponsors the CIJ's London Summer School, provides two scholarships a year for students to follow in her footsteps at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Sullivan Foundation is one of the biggest donors to the graduate school and has so far awarded 20 Sullivan scholarships and has invested $977,738 in scholarships at Columbia.
Who was Lorana Sullivan?
Lorana Sullivan was a worthy successor to the pioneer American investigative journalist Ida Tarbell, whose historic exposé in the first years of the twentieth-century of John D. Rockefeller and the business empire of the richest man in the US helped to not only break up his Standard Oil monopoly but also to create the concept of investigative journalism.
Sullivan was born in Corning, New York, in 1937. She studied at Cornell University and Cornell Law School before deciding to become a journalist. She joined her hometown newspaper, the Elmira Star Gazette, in 1961. While there, she exposed the use of federal funds by a state senator to purchase a Cadillac, her first story to attract national attention.
In 1964, Sullivan attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. After graduating, she was awarded the top honour of a Pulitzer travelling fellowship and came to London, where she worked for the Sunday Express.
On returning to the US, she joined the Providence Journal Bulletin in Rhode Island and, for the first time, began investigating the nexus between business and organised crime that became one of her specialties.
In 1968, Sullivan became the first woman reporter hired by the Wall Street Journal. She worked for the Wall Street Journal in Pittsburgh, New York and London, where she arrived in 1970 and soon began exploring the exotic world of offshore finance with its roll call of colourful conmen and fringe financiers.
In 1972, she joined The Sunday Times and soon set the gold standard for financial investigations, developing a genius for accumulating and analysing complex corporate information. She was the first woman investigative financial journalist employed by a national newspaper.
At The Sunday Times Sullivan wrote and collaborated in ground-breaking exposés of major offshore operators such as Bernard Cornfeld and Robert Vesco of IOS fame, as well as in Britain the Slater Walker empire and the Rossminster tax avoidance group. She was also the first to question what became the world’s biggest banking fraud, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
In 1983, Sullivan joined The Observer, where for the next 10 years she exposed an endless series of investment frauds and Mafia-linked scams. She also played a key role in uncovering the business background and financial dealings of Mohamed al-Fayed after he acquired Harrods.
From 1993, she worked as a freelance writer and researcher for The Observer and other publications in Britain and the US, ranging from Vanity Fair to Motor Cycle News.
Lorana Sullivan died in 1999 aged 61.