Giving to an Idea: Press Freedom and Transparency Journalism

Those in the fundraising world understand that donors want to give to an idea, not an organization. They want to understand how their funding will support values that they hold dear, and work that helps achieve those values.

We witnessed that in force over the past six weeks, since the Freedom of the Press Foundation launched. Instead of raising money for one organizations, we set out to raise money for a set of ideas, ideas who we think are critical and threatened right now: Press Freedom and Transparency Journalism.

And the response has been huge. In six weeks we’ve raised almost $200,000 in crowd-funded donations from 1,909 donors. That funding will go to support four organizations working at the intersection of press freedom and transparency journalism: The National Security Archive, MuckRock News, The UpTake, and WikiLeaks.

In addition, the Sunlight Foundation has provided a $10,000 seed grant to help the Foundation strengthen and expand its mission in its first year.

As incredible as the financial contributions have been, the outpouring of support from around the world has been even more astounding. As media shifts and adapts to the digital age, people around the world are watching new threats emerge to journalists and the freedom to communicate. People are hungry for ways to make an impact.

Today, the Freedom of the Press Foundation launches its second bundle of organizations:

  • Center for Public Integrity – One of the country’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organizations, CPI works to “enhance democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.” CPI is embarking on a critical investigation of the Defense Department.
  • The Bureau for Investigative Reporting – Based in the UK, the Bureau is planning to expand its ground-breaking report on secretive US drone strikes with its “name the dead” project. They will provide accurate and verifiable evidence identifying all those killed by drones strikes, whether they are militants or civilians.
  • TruthOut  – TruthOut “works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis.”  Truth-out is covering the military commission trials at Guantanamo Bay in depth for the next year.

This second bundle is launching with a $10,000 matching donation from Freedom of the Press Board member John Cusack. Every donation users make online will be doubled for the first $10,000 we receive. “Government secrecy is at an all-time high, and it’s up to the public to bring transparency to the government if the government won’t bring it to them,” Cusack said in a statement.

We have longer descriptions of each organization and their project at our website. However, in addition to these groups, the foundation is committed to responding and aiding those groups facing direct threats. As such, the Foundation will continue to raise money for Wikileaks, while it remains under an extra-legal financial blockage in the US.

The Freedom of Press Foundation was established to give people a way to fund an idea. As the institutions of journalism are changing, freedom or press will depend on all of us.

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