The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization that is primarily funded through grants and donations from foundations and individuals. A smaller amount of its revenue is earned through production of commissioned materials — investigative journalism projects and an online tutorial for journalists launching nonprofit newsrooms.
As a matter of policy, funders exercise no control over the Center’s editorial decisions, and all funders are publicly identified.
The Center’s first major grant, a gift of $100,000, was awarded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in 2009.
The Oklahoma-based foundation continued to support the Center with grants of $100,000 in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and $75,000 in 2016.
In 2010, the Center received a two-year $75,000 matching grant from Challenge Fund for Journalism VI, a joint program of the Ford Foundation in New York, the McCormick Foundation in Illinois and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The Center successfully completed a campaign to raise those matching funds in 2011.
The Foundation to Promote Open Society, which works in cooperation with the Open Society Institute in New York City, awarded the Center $50,000 in 2009, $100,000 in 2010 (to be spread over two years), $35,000 in 2011, $350,000 in 2012 (to be spread over two years), and $350,000 in 2014 (over two years).
In 2013, The Joyce Foundation became a major supporter of the Center. The Chicago-based foundation awarded a $100,000 grant was split by the Center and MinnPost, a nonprofit news organization, to support in-depth coverage of key issues in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The grant funded coverage of political reform, environmental protection and gun violence issues in Wisconsin, as well as political reform in Minnesota. In 2014, Joyce awarded the Center $50,000 to support coverage of democracy, the environment and gun violence prevention. That was followed by a two-year grant in 2016, awarding $50,000 annually to support coverage of democracy, the environment and gun violence prevention.
The Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of The Capital Times, is a major supporter of the Center. The foundation made contributions to WCIJ in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and in 2013, significantly increased its support to $20,000 — the largest single contribution received from a Wisconsin donor. Evjue repeated its $20,000 support in 2014 and 2015, and increased its giving to $30,000 in 2016.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, based in Miami, became a major donor in 2014 with a $75,000 general operating grant (spread over two years).
Also in 2014, the Center and UW-Madison journalism school obtained a $35,000 grant that was among the inaugural awards at 12 universities under the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, created to encourage experimentation in ways to provide news and information. The competitive program is managed by the Online News Association and is funded by the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund.
In 2015, the Vital Projects Fund, based in New York City, became a major supporter, contributing $25,000 to support the Center’s coverage of criminal justice issues. It provided $20,000 in 2016.
The Center also is grateful for support it received from the Peters Family Foundation in Utah in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; the Wisconsin State Journal in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014; and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation, which provided $10,000 in 2014 and again in 2015.
All members of the Center’s Board of Directors, who serve as volunteers, are financial supporters of the organization.
The Center has received revenue for producing reports through arrangements with the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.; WBEZ Public Media in Chicago; and American University’s J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism.
In 2011, the Center announced a partnership with MAPLight.org to investigate the influence of money in Wisconsin state politics and policymaking. The project was supported by the Open Society Institute. The Center received about $25,000 for this project in 2011 and a similar amount in the first half of 2012.
Our financial supporters
Abbotsford Tribune Phonograph
Appleton Post-Crescent Community Fund
Beaver Dam Daily Citizen
Malcolm and Penny Brett
Peter and Marsha Cannon
The Capital Times
Denis and Carol Carey
Ned Cochrane and Bonnie Cox
Wm and Gretchen Dresen
Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
Mark and Sara Eversden
Mike and Gloria Fauerbach
Fund for Environmental Journalism
Fund for Investigative Journalism
Sharon and Warren Gaskill
James M. Grayson
Andy and Dee J. Hall
Larry Hands and Karen Kendrick-Hands
Sally Mead Hands Foundation
Philip and Janet Hasler
The Joyce Foundation
Karon Medical Writing, LLC
Robert Dreps and Betty Koehl
Scott and Donna Lewein
Susan and Steve Macejkovic
Carol and Stuart Martell
Michael P. May
McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC
Oma Vic McMurray
Howard and Nancy Mead
Karen Lincoln Michel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jack and Bonnie Mitchell
Jeanan Yasiri Moe
Open Society Foundations (Foundation to Promote Open Society)
Tara and Carlos Pabellon
Peters Family Foundation
Jonathan M. Rivin
Brynn Bemis and Finn Ryan
Schott, Bublitz & Engel s.c.
Hemant and Elizabeth Shah
Richard Thomas Record Living Trust
Lynn and Nancy Utesch
Vantage Point luncheon series
Vital Projects Fund
Thomas F. Warren
Roger and Kristi Williams
Wisconsin Broadcasters Association
Wisconsin Newspaper Association
Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation
Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin State Journal