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In 2019, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism set an ambitious goal: Raise $200,000 from individuals, family foundations and businesses. 

And thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we blew past that goal to raise more than $446,000!

For the fourth straight year, donors provided gifts that qualified the Center for full funding in the national NewsMatch campaign for nonprofit newsrooms.

And once again, the Center attained an annual fundraising record. Individual, family foundation and business donations increased 321 percent from $105,935 in 2018 to a preliminary total of $446,281 in 2019.

Those gains were attained through the generosity of first-time donors, reliable supporters and an increase in major donations of $1,000 or more. Thanks to a last-day surge in gifts, the Center received support from 109 first-time donors, qualifying us for an additional NewsMatch bonus.

Total donors giving during the year increased 37 percent, from 364 in 2018 to 500 in 2019. 

Since the independent nonpartisan Center’s launch in 2009, more than 850 individuals, foundations and businesses have donated to the Center. As a matter of policy, all funders are publicly identified to protect the integrity of the journalism.

“This outpouring of support is humbling and exhilarating,” said Andy Hall, the Center’s executive director and co-founder. 

“Thanks to these generous donors, our expanding team of journalists will hold power to account in this critical election year in a swing state. And we will train the next generation how to shine light into dark places to protect the vulnerable, expose wrongdoing and explore solutions.”

Watchdog Club and Leadership Circle membership grows

The Center’s Watchdog Club, its most generous and loyal donors, increased its membership 30 percent, from 77 in 2018 to 100 in 2019.

Donors of at least $1,000 become members of our Watchdog Club and receive “behind the story” insights, events and benefits, such as coffee conversations with the Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell and New York Times’ Caitlin Dickerson and an evening with former New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

And the recently launched Watchdog Club Leadership Circle increased its membership from 12 members at launch to 25 members by the end of 2019. 

Donors of at least $5,000 become members of our Leadership Circle and receive all the benefits of the Watchdog Club, plus an office tour and lunch with Executive Director Andy Hall and members of the staff and invitations to exclusive Leadership Circle events.

View a complete list of Watchdog Club and Leadership Circle members here.

Donations to the Center were matched, up to $1,000 apiece to the maximum limit of $20,000, by NewsMatch, created by foundations to encourage grassroots support of nonprofit journalism. The Center received an additional $10,000 toward our match cap from REI Co-op.

Donors provided kind words in addition to financial support.

“We need investigative journalism today more than ever.” -Janice

“The more journalists out there asking questions, the more truth is told.” -George

“Our republic is lost without a vigorous free press.” -Joel

“Your work is critical to our state and nation.” -Paula

The staff of the Wisconsin Center for Investigation Journalism. From left: Coburn Dukehart, Brooke Hollingsworth, Lauren Fuhrmann, Francisco Velazquez, Emily Neinfeldt, Andy Hall, Barbara Johnson, Matt Whitney, Dee J. Hall, Claire DeRosa, Jim Malewitz, Phoebe Petrovic, Enjoyiana Nururdin, Parker Schorr, and Bram Sable-Smith. Credit: Krista Eastman / University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wisconsin Watch

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.