ANNUAL REPORT 2021

The crisis in local news is global.

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The need for independent, fearless journalism is stronger than ever.

The past few years have taught us that truthful and unbiased journalism is vital to our health, our democracies and our communities, not just in the United States, but around the world too.

Our Report for America corps members show up for their communities every day. They lift up stories that would otherwise go overlooked and hold power to account.

They’re a force for good.

In 2021, we adapted our hyper-local model to India, Nigeria and Brazil and launched Report for the World.

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In 2021, we supported more than 300 local journalists in 4 countries, 49 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam, reaching more than 161 million readers.

Through this work — and because of supporters like you — we’re building more informed, just and thriving communities.

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On The Ground

In 4 countries, 49 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico & Guam
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A transgender contestant at Big Brother amplifies the debate over gender violence in Brazil

The national obsession with Big Brother Brazil has become an opportunity for the country to look at  itself in the mirror. In this season the presence of Linn da Quebrada, a black trans woman who identifies herself as a transvestite and has tattooed on her forehead the word “she,” has contributed to amplify the national debate over language, body, and gender violence. While watching Linn and the other participants interacting in the house monitored 24h with cameras and microphones, Brazilians have witnessed how prejudice challenges the everyday lives of all those who defy the traditional gender norms. Report for the World corps member Giovanna Carneiro with Marco Zero reports. 

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Guam
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Extortion, inflated costs… the Nigerian marriage registry where fraud is a norm

While the federal government has reduced the fees for registering marriages in Nigeria, corrupt officials of marriage registries have continued to extort prospective couples by charging above the official rate — diverting millions of naira into their personal bank accounts, and shortchanging the federal government. For TheCable, Report for the World corps member Taiwo Adebulu investigated the corrupt practices and loopholes through which a system frustrates its own online registration portal and forces citizens to pay mandatory bribes. 

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Alabama
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Nebraska
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Missouri’s poor public health response drives gun violence and COVID, doctors say

Kristen Mueller was in the final stages of her emergency medicine residency at Washington University when a patient who had attempted suicide with a gun was brought in. That patient survived, but was left blind and with severe facial injuries. That was seven years ago. Mueller, who now researches firearm violence and injury prevention at Washington University, has treated hundreds, if not thousands, of St. Louis gun violence victims.  “Every now and then you get those cases that just stick with you, and you roll over at 3 in the morning and you’re awake thinking about it,” Mueller said. Those types of cases have only become more common over time. This reporting by Report for America corps member Humera Lodhi with The Kansas City Star is part of the Missouri Gun Violence Project, a two-year, statewide journalism effort supported the Missouri Foundation for Health and three Report for America corps members.

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South Carolina
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How we uncovered West Virginia’s foster care crisis, despite the state’s lack of transparency

If a child has to leave home and enter the foster care system, the hope is they will stay with a loving family or in a nearby group home. But in West Virginia, hundreds of foster kids end up in out-of-state group homes far from the watchful eye of the state agency that’s supposed to take care of them. Even more worrisome is the fact that some of those kids end up in facilities accused of abuse and neglect. The investigation, in partnership with Mountain State Spotlight, found 22 serious accounts of abuse and neglect at many of the out-of-state facilities West Virginia has paid to care for its foster kids.

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Virginia
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Iowa
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Maryland
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Arkansas
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Rhode Island
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Vermont
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New Hampshire
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Pennsylvania
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Delaware
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Alaska
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Georgia
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Kansas
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Indiana
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Minnesota
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Arizona
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Ohio
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Oklahoma
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Colorado
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Nevada
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Washington D.C.
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Puerto Rico
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Oregon
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New Mexico
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Tennessee
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Wisconsin
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Montana
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North Dakota
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Wyoming
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Florida
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Massachusetts
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Louisiana
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Hawaii
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Connecticut
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‘Make no mistake’: Drag queens are leading a racial reckoning in Chicago’s famous LGBTQ neighborhood

A sea of protestors, about several thousand strong, flooded the streets of Chicago’s LGBTQ neighborhood one chilly afternoon in June 2020. With each step up North Halsted Street, their chants of “Justice for George Floyd” and “Black Trans Lives Matter” echoed more loudly off the gay bars and LGBTQ centers that line the strip. They waved rainbow and blue-and-pink Pride flags, along with protest signs demanding justice for Floyd, Breonna Taylor and transgender man Tony McDade. Their leader was Jo Mama, a six-foot-one drag queen in a baby blue pantsuit and afro hairstyle. 

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As Lake Powell shrinks, the Colorado River is coming back to life

When Lake Powell is filled or near capacity, as was the case through much of the 1980s and 1990s, the river current stopped just downstream of the drops, its muddy waters becoming a limpid blue reservoir as hundreds of millions of tons of sediment settled to the river bottom. Scouting the Big Drops today, that scene is almost impossible to picture.

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New York
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Washington
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Michigan
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Mississippi
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North Carolina
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Kentucky
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Idaho
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Texas
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San Bernardino residents’ quest for fresh, healthy food as COVID-19 persists

With $140,000 in funding from the City of San Bernardino, the Highland Senior Center provides lunches for 40 individuals and dinner for another 40 individuals — seniors can sign up for one or the other. Donations come from Walmart and include poultry, vegetables, dairy products and if they’re lucky, beef. Located along Highland Avenue near the unincorporated community of Patton, the center borders the vicinity of the City of San Bernardino where fast food restaurants and liquor stores exist in abundance. A sizable portion of residents in the area have low access to grocery stores — a “food desert,” according to the federal government. This reporting by Report for America corps member Breanna Reeves with Black Voice News is part of Barren Mile, a historic reporting collaboration among four Black-owned Report for America newsroom partners. 

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Jailed defendants expected private attorney calls. They didn’t always get them.

Jail officials in Maine promised jailed defendants that the phone calls between defendants and their attorneys would be private, but Report for America corps member with The Maine Monitor Samantha Hogan found that county jails routinely recorded attorney-client calls, and state police used these calls to investigate cases — potentially using them to build the prosecution’s case.

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The contested treasure inside Madhya Pradesh’s forests

Despite an expert panel's recommended closure of a diamond mine in Panna Tiger Reserve, Report for the World corps member Ishan Kukreti with Scroll.in found evidence raising concern the government favors corporate interests over the local forest and community. 

Report
for
America
Local journalism, national service

Rampant disinformation continues to tear at the fabric of our democracy, but our corps members have been on the frontlines of our mission, delivering reliable, trustworthy local news across the country. And most importantly, their communities have come out to support them and the work they do.

Rampant disinformation continues to tear at the fabric of our democracy, but our corps members have been on the frontlines of our mission, delivering reliable, trustworthy local news across the country. And most importantly, their communities have come out to support them and the work they do.

Supporting Local Fundraising

$861,000 in 2019
$4,616,059 in 2020
$7,422,468 in 2021
$8M in 2022
$7.4 million raised
By local newsrooms, from local supporters, for local news
42%
more funding per reporter raised by newsroom partners year over year
48%
corps members identify as people of color
70%
corps members identify as women
297
corps members fielded in 211 newsrooms
400+
otherwise untold stories per corps member per year

Making an Impact

Lautaro Grinspan

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution in Georgia
Coverage focus: Latino and Asian immigrant communities in Atlanta
Lautaro Grinspan
Lautaro Grinspan

In December 2021, corps member Lautaro Grinspan reported on a federal indictment that found a human trafficking operation that “trapped migrant workers in modern-day slavery” in Georgia. Grinspan’s reporting and subsequent follow-up stories were not only the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s first Spanish-language stories, but also prompted legislators to call for more federal oversight.

Annika Hom

Mission Local in California
Coverage focus: Inequality and income disparities in Mission District
Annika Hom
Annika Hom

Corps member Annika Hom wrote a story about residents in an apartment complex in San Francisco and La Jolla that were living in unsafe conditions. One resident, Margie Miller, had been living without a kitchen for six months, with her walls down to the studs — and she was soon facing eviction. Following Hom’s story for Mission Local, Related California, the management company, dropped their eviction notice for Miller and immediately fixed her kitchen.

Annie Rosenthal

Marfa Public Radio in Texas
Coverage focus: U.S.-Mexican border communities
Annie Rosenthal
Annie Rosenthal

For years, the Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes in Presidio, Texas, was in disarray, even though the burial ground held the history of the Lipan Apache tribe. Corps member Annie Rosenthal continued her coverage of the tribe’s efforts to gain ownership of the land from the city and county officials, so they could tend the graves themselves. After months of reporting and efforts by the Lipan Apache tribe, the land was officially signed over to the tribe in November 2021

Donte Kirby

Technical.ly in Maryland
Service Project Spotlight
Donte Kirby
Donte Kirby

Corps member Donte Kirby, of Technical.ly, provides guidance and editorial support to a small group of Baltimore students who are part of CHARM: Voices of Baltimore Youth. Occasionally, he leads workshops on the craft of journalism. But mostly, he listens to their story ideas and gives guidance on how to bring them to life. Read some of their biggest stories here, here and

Report
for
the World
Local journalism, serving the world

Local public service journalism is at risk globally. The dramatic economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted news organizations that were already under great stress. We launched Report for the World to support trusted local journalism where it’s needed most.

Local public service journalism is at risk globally. The dramatic economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted news organizations that were already under great stress. We launched Report for the World to support trusted local journalism where it’s needed most.

Meeting the need

6 at launch
15 in 2021
30 in 2022
500 in 2026
Starting with 6 in 2021 to 500 in 2026
Reporting on under-covered issues around the globe
3
countries: Brazil, India and Nigeria
6
host newsrooms
53%
corps members are women

Making a Global Impact

Vivian Chime

TheCable in Nigeria
Coverage focus: climate change
Vivian Chime
Vivian Chime

Only 30-49% of Nigerians have access to proper water systems and toilets, according to Chukwumerije Okereke, a professor of global environmental and climate governance. “And so this is the reason why when you now have this flooding, it can then lead to an increase in diseases,” Okereke told corps member Vivian Chime. With 441 deaths attributed to cholera in July alone, states across Nigeria are burdened by the epidemic.

Aarefa Johari

Scroll.in in India
Coverage focus: work and gender
Aarefa Johari
Aarefa Johari

Even as the number of women in India’s workforce fell, those leaving the northern state of Jharkhand for the country’s far south saw their dreams crushed by national upheaval.

Johari won the 2021-2022 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Merit Award for this story.

Fábio Bispo

InfoAmazonia in brazil
Coverage focus: climate change and environmental policies
Fábio Bispo
Fábio Bispo

Jalser Renier is an extremely powerful political figure in northern Brazil. But documents uncovered by InfoAmazonia reveal that he is the mastermind of a militia that spied on, threatened, and even kidnapped his opponents. “He created a true militia inside the Legislative Assembly, with intelligence specialists, officers, and elite military soldiers loyal to him […] in order to serve his whims and intimidate his political opponents,” says the State Prosecutor’s office.

Rebuild Local News
Coalition
Public policies for the future of local news

In 2021, Report for America President and Co-Founder Steven Waldman formed the Rebuild Local News Coalition to advocate public policies that will strengthen communities by creating a more robust, more inclusive local news system, without endangering editorial independence.

In 2021, Report for America President and Co-Founder Steven Waldman formed the Rebuild Local News Coalition to advocate public policies that will strengthen communities by creating a more robust, more inclusive local news system, without endangering editorial independence.

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3 bills endorsed at the state and federal level
Engaged
with public policy stakeholders in 7 states
Provided
expert testimony in 2 states
Advocated
for content-neutral public policies in the federal government

17 Coalition Members representing 3,000+ newsrooms

Making an Impact

The impact of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act at The Afro-American

Case study
The impact of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act at The Afro-American
The impact of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act at The Afro-American

That’s why journalism doesn’t need a handout, like a stimulus. It needs a hand up, like a policy that augments and incentivizes the existing revenue-generating behaviors that support local journalism — a policy like the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. We looked at how this would impact a newsroom like The Afro-American, the longest continuously published Black newspaper run by a single family in the United States.

Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative in favor of the LJSA

Letter
Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative in favor of the LJSA
Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative in favor of the LJSA

The Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative has called on Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Sen. Mike Crapo to support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act and local journalism tax credit included in the Build Back Better Act.

Legislative Language for the Local News Tax Credit in Build Back Better

Annotation

The local news tax credit passed in the House version of Build Back Better has the potential to offer transformative funds to local publishers across the country. However, those transformative benefits can be obscured by the provision’s complicated legislative language. So, we’ve annotated the full provision, explaining each section, what it means and its intended function.

Our Team

In 2021, our staff of 42 spanned 20 states across the United States and Washington, D.C. bringing a range of nonprofit, operations, and journalism experience. Meet the people who make all this work possible here.

In 2021, our staff of 42 spanned 20 states across the United States and Washington, D.C. bringing a range of nonprofit, operations, and journalism experience. Meet the people who make all this work possible here.

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Letter from Charlie
At GroundTruth, 2021 was a year where our work went to the next level.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged newsrooms around the world, we took our Report for America model global, launching Report for the World in Nigeria and India. In the same year, with GroundTruth co-founder Kevin Grant leading the initiative, we more than doubled the size of our program, adding more journalists and expanding to Brazil. 

Simultaneously, we refined, deepened and improved our flagship program, Report for America, with an even greater focus of building a more sustainable journalism ecosystem—at the local level. 

And, my co-founder of Report for America, Steve Waldman, launched a new policy initiative called the Rebuild Local News Coalition, a bold venture to enact more support for local news at the state and federal level. 

Our mission—to restore journalism from the ground up—matters now more than ever, and we strive to innovate and expand our work to rejuvenate news deserts, restore reporting gaps decimated by COVID-19, and lift up stories that matter most. This is a movement to not only restore journalism, but really to restore and protect democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

Will you join us?

And for those of you who already have joined, we extend heart-felt gratitude. Your support means the world to us.

Charles M. Sennott
Founder, CEO And Editor-in-Chief
The GroundTruth Project
Home of Report for America and Report for the World

2021 Donor Recognition

We want to recognize and thank our numerous supporters who gave in 2021, without whom this groundbreaking work would not be possible.
Make a Gift Today
Joanna Visser Adjoian
Senior Program Officer, Social Justice, Spring Point Partners
“As we continue to grapple with the myriad consequences of an ongoing pandemic and persistent societal inequities, the need for frontline reporting that is grounded in community is particularly urgent. We applaud Report for America for its innovative commitment to meeting that need, and to truly centering the communities served by local newsrooms.”
Brenda N.
Supporter from Clovis, CA
“I want to read well-written, balanced reporting about my local area and beyond, and I hope my support helps to accomplish that. Thanks so much to all the knowledgeable, ethical reporters out there!”
Donald W.
Supporter from Richfield, NC
“I believe in a free and fair press. Local news is the backbone of our democracy and it has been disproportionately affected by the digital age.”
2021 Annual Giving

$250,000 - $2M
Anonymous
Anonymous
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Google News Initiative
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Joyce Foundation
Just Trust
Knight Foundation
Lumina Foundation
Meta Journalism Project
Microsoft
Natasha and Dirk Ziff
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
SpringPoint Partners

$100,000 - $249,999
Bake Family Trust
Commonwealth Fund
Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation
Ford Foundation
Fortune Magazine
Hearthland Foundation
Heising-Simons Foundation
Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation
Jonathan Logan Family Foundation
Park Foundation
Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation
Posner Foundation
Revson Foundation
Tow Foundation
University of Missouri School of Journalism and the Walton Family Foundation

$50,000 - $99,999
Anonymous
Democracy Fund
Inasmuch Foundation
Maurice and Carol Feinberg Family Foundation
Robin D'Alessandro
Select Equity Group Foundation
Susie Trees

$5,000 - $49,999
Ann Vaughan
Anonymous
BRELL Fund of the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund
Dan and Christine Quinn Family Foundation
David Fialkow
Eleanor Bingham Miller
Eric Berke
Further Forward Foundation
Gannett Foundation
Hull Family Foundation
Jim Bildner
Kerry Smith
Kivel-Goldstein Family Fund
Kresge Foundation
Laurie David
Linda Mason and Roger Brown
Miller-Wehrle Family Foundation
Mostyn Foundation
Pamela Thye
Rob and Jessica Zeaske
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Sparkjoy Foundation
The Barinaga Goodman Fund of West Marin Fund
Triangle Community Foundation, Inc.
Val A. Browning Charitable Foundation

Report for the World local newsroom supporters ($5,000+)
Indira Foundation
Nilima and Vivek Ragavan

Report for America local newsroom supporters ($5,000+)
Action Now Initiative, LLC (managed by Arnold Ventures)
Ameren Corporation
Amon G. Carter Star-Telegram Employees Fund
Ashland County Community Foundation
Barry Community Foundation
Bill and Jane Kean Anderson Fund
Blue Grass Community Foundation
Blumenthal Foundation
Central Indiana Community Foundation
Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Cleveland Foundation
Coachella Valley Wellness Foundation
Community Foundation of Chattahoochee Valley
Dan and Christine Quinn Family Foundation
Gadsby Fund
George 'Pretty' Wallace Jones and Thomas W. Jones Fund
Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation
Harvey H. Posner and Mary S. Posner Fund
Henry Kimelman Family Foundation
Highpoint Community Bank
Hudson-Webber Foundation
Inasmuch Foundation
Innovia Foundation
J. D. Heiskell & Co.
Jane Kitchel McLaughlin and Peter McLaughlin
Julia Ardery and Bill Bishop
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
Newman's Own Foundation
Nicholas T. and Marcia I. Lappas
North Texas Community Foundation
Pamela Ann Wickham
Princeton Area Community Foundation
Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
Sarah and Ben Bailey Family Fund
Stanislaus Community Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
The Jules L. Plangere, Jr. Family Foundation, Inc.
The Lozier Foundation
Triangle Community Foundation, Inc.
William F. Harnisch Foundation, Inc.

WHAT YOU SUPPORT

Supporters like you know that journalism is a cornerstone of democracy.
Here’s what your unrestricted gift to GroundTruth can make possible:
$35,000
sponsors a single local reporter—in the U.S. or globally—for one year of reporting service to their community
$100,000
sponsors 3 local reporters - in the U.S. or globally - for one year of reporting service to their community
$250,000
launches a corps focused on a specific beat like education or environment, or based in a designated geographic region
$500,000
creates a GroundTruth endowment to sustain our reporting for years to come

Thank you

Thank you to all our supporters in 2021, who helped us grow in a year that on-the-ground, trusted journalism mattered more than ever. We are so grateful to have you as partners, restoring journalism from the ground up.
Financials

Year Over Year Growth

$4,475,885
(audited)
$4,475,885
(audited)
$8,547,984
(audited)
$8,547,984
(audited)
$11,332,997
(audited)
$11,332,997
(audited)
$4,475,885
(audited)
$4,475,885
(audited)
$8,547,984
(audited)
$8,547,984
(audited)
$11,332,997
(audited)
$11,332,997
(audited)

Revenue and expenses

1% Other
14% Individual Donors
86% Grants
$12,796,620
18% Operations
82% Programs
$11,332,997

Photo credits (in order of appearance): 1. KT Kanazawich / Flint Beat, Report for America 2. Tash Kimmell / KCAW, Report for America 3. KT Kanazawich / Flint Beat, Report for America 4. Ivan Armando Flores / Texas Observer, Report for America 5. Silas Walker / Lexington Herald Leader, Report for America 6. Silas Walker / Lexington Herald Leader, Report for America