March 1, 2017; TechCrunch
The Craig Newmark Foundation just made a grant of $1 million to the nonprofit investigative journalism site ProPublica. This isn’t just any grant, either; according to the grantee, it “allow(s) ProPublica to deploy resources and address opportunities, including adding staff, where they are most needed over a wide range of issues in the public interest.” In short, the gift will act as flexible working capital in a very successful and important venture that is not only still finding its way forward but is part of an industry under some attack from the presidency.
Luckily, ProPublica is one of those institutions that donors have been flocking to since Trump was elected: Its individual donations last year were up by 544 percent, totaling $2.9 million.
Newmark, the philanthropist and founder of Craigslist, says it is his duty “to spend like a sailor on shore leave” to support journalism. He has already made significant investments into Wikipedia and into the Poynter Institute to support a position on new journalism ethics. He calls himself an “ultra-patriot.”
“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” Newmark said in a press release. “As citizens we can only make informed decisions when we have news we can trust. Independent investigative reporting is essential to shoot down false claims and expose bad actors. ProPublica is a leader in that kind of journalism, and we need more of it.”
ProPublica was founded in 2007 and often collaborates with other media organizations on investigative journalism. It was the first online news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. Its budget last year was “just over $16 million.”—Ruth McCambridge