At the end of 2020, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism set an ambitious year-end goal: Raise $75,000 from individuals, family foundations and businesses. 

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we blew past that goal to raise more than $140,000 in just two months! NewsMatch and generous donors in our Leadership Circle are matching the $75,000 initial goal.

In total, during a year of a pandemic and economic uncertainty, we raised more than $324,000 from individual donors. In the last two months alone, more than 550 people gave a donation to the Center, including a record 151 who gave for the first time. 

Total donors giving during the year increased 38%, from 500 in 2019 to 688 in 2020, including 244 people who gave for the first time. Thanks to our many new donors, we exceeded 1,000 total donors since the Center’s founding in 2009. As a matter of policy, all funders are publicly identified to protect the integrity of the journalism.

“In the past year, our staff worked tirelessly under difficult conditions to investigate the pandemic, the election, disinformation and racial equality. Having this work met with such an 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 while reporting what’s happening in communities across the 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, made up of its most generous and loyal donors, has continued to grow throughout 2020. Donations from Watchdog Club and Leadership Circle members made up more than 75% of the Center’s total individual donations. 

Donors of at least $1,000 become members of our Watchdog Club and receive “behind the story” insights, virtual 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 Watchdog Club Leadership Circle increased its membership from 12 members at launch in 2019 to 30 members by the end of 2020. 

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 (when safe to do so) and invitations to exclusive Leadership Circle virtual events.

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

Donors provided kind words in addition to financial support.

“Journalism about our community and state are vital to the democratic process.” — Joan and Doug

“I want deep, fearless investigations with dedication to rural needs and all minority populations. ” — Susan

“Trained and committed journalists are, indeed, our watchdogs.” — Julilly 

“Investigative journalism has proven to be essential to our democracy.” — Marjory 

We deeply appreciate every donation, and if you would like to add your name to the list of people who support fearless investigative reporting in Wisconsin, we would be thrilled to welcome you as a member!

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