$1.5m grant empowers ICIJ to expand global investigative reporting

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been granted the largest investment by an individual in its 15-year history.

Graeme Wood

At a time of great pessimism about the future of investigative reporting, this kind of recognition for the non-profit work ICIJ does sends a strong message about the potential of cross-border investigative reporting in the fast-changing modern media world. 

The three-year, $1.5 million grant by the Australian philanthropist and businessman Graeme Wood will allow us to build new capacity and expand our services. It also recognizes a need to preserve and protect investigative reporting globally during a period of turmoil.

Wood’s generosity is a tribute to our 160 ICIJ members spread over more than 60 countries and our hardworking four-person staff. ICIJ has grown into the world’s leader in cross-border, collaborative journalism during a time when investigative reporting has been decimated in newsrooms everywhere.

ICIJ works in virtual newsrooms and partners with leading media outlets from across the world in reporting and publishing  our work, including The Guardian, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Le MondeSüddeutsche Zeitung, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, and many others.

Stories appear simultaneously in dozens of news outlets, increasing visibility and impact for the consortium’s investigations.

Our recent “Offshore Leaks” investigation has been credited by The New York Times and other media with forcing Western nations to step up efforts to end tax havens and prompting official investigations in multiple countries. The European Union’s top tax official has said ICIJ’s stories have transformed tax politics in Europe.

The project has been hailed as the largest international journalism collaboration in history. It has involved more than 100 journalists in more than 50 countries – and continues to grow.

ICIJ members

Directing this diverse, multi-lingual group of many of the world’s best reporters fills my every day.

ICIJ consists of dedicated and talented people who are committed to the highest standards of journalism. They have brought us to this point as a team and we shall continue as a team, adding new members and new countries as we expand all our operations.

Wood is no stranger to media investments. The Australian entrepreneur is also the key backer of The Guardian newspaper’s new digital edition in Australia and the founder of both Wotif.com, Australia’s leading travel website, and The Global Mail, a nonprofit journalism outfit based in Australia.

As part of Wood's grant, The Global Mail will become ICIJ’s first institutional member, as part of a new initiative to more formally align ICIJ with media outlets so they can become contributing partners with ICIJ as institutional members.  

ICIJ plans to add about ten institutional memberships in the next 24 months, with each paying a small fee to help the upkeep of ICIJ.

Wood says: “The institutional membership of ICIJ will accelerate The Global Mail’s move into major investigative journalism projects, a specialization that is on the decline in traditional media organizations.”

The money from Wood’s three-year grant has been earmarked for several new initiatives.

A substantial portion of the grant will be used to set up and operate a world-class research desk and data library that will be a go-to resource for institutional members and individual ICIJ members worldwide. The desk will support our investigations and the network with data and documents, along with other assistance on a case-by-case basis. 

In addition, the new investment will allow us to launch a new year-long ICIJ Global Investigative Journalism Fellowship. The program will provide investigative training for international journalism fellows, beginning with a yet-to-be-named fellow from Australia.

The Wood grant enables ICIJ to diversify its funding, which is comprised almost entirely of foundation support.

Cross-border investigative reporting is extremely expensive, involving many technological and legal barriers. 

We continue to rely on the very generous support of philanthropic partners such as Adessium Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation.

We also welcome individual donations in any amount to support our work. To make a gift online or to find out more about donating click here.

When I took over as director nearly two years ago, I could only dream we’d be where we are today. Congratulations and thank you to all our supporters. This is a great moment for ICIJ. 

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