Ten Days and Almost $120,000: A Breakdown of Our Transparency Journalism Beneficiaries


Executive Director

Freedom of the Press Foundation launched ten days ago now, and since then, the response from press freedom supporters and transparency advocates has been nothing short of amazing. So far, we've taken in over $119,000 in donations for our first bundle of transparency journalism beneficiaries. And if you want to watch that number rise, the front page of our website now gives you a real-time total of how much we've taken in, how many people have donated (up over 1300!) and the average donation amount.

But a few supporters have asked us for a breakdown of how much money is going to each of the four organizations — WikiLeaks, The National Security Archive, MuckRock News, and The UpTake. We don't want to release a real-time breakdown of the numbers (because it could potentially affect some of the anonymity we try to provide our donors), but we can give periodic updates, and we really want to share the exciting numbers we've been seeing so far.

As expected, donors have given most generously to Wikileaks, likely because for the last two years it has been very difficult for US donors to give money to Wikileaks online. As many of you know, US officials unofficially pressured payment processors to cut WikiLeaks off from funding in late 2010, despite the fact that the organization has never been charged with a crime. Part of Freedom of the Press Foundation's mission is to make sure this end-around the First Amendment never happens to another media organization again.

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Since we launched on December 16th, WikiLeaks has been consistently taking in about half of the total donations. They are now inching towards the $60,000 mark.

But equally as encouraging has been the response to our other three transparency journalism beneficiaries — The National Security Archive, MuckRock News, and The UpTake. While many supporters may not have heard of these innovative and important organizations before we launched, donors have gifted them each over $12,000. Given the small budgets these organizations operate on, this money will be critical in making sure they continue the valuable work they've been doing and could potentially help them expand.

As of this morning, here's a look at the exact numbers for each of the organizations:

WikiLeaks: $58,327.34
MuckRock News: $12,428.23
National Security Archive: $14,066.15
The UpTake: $12,005.08

So where is the rest of the money going? Well, we run on a shoe-string budget, but we do have to take 8% of donations for operational expenses, as we indicate upfront when users are donating. This money is used for a few different things. First, Freedom of the Press Foundation is fiscally sponsored by the Foundation for National Progress, and in exchange for providing us with 501(c)(3) non-profit status while we wait to be approved by the IRS, they take a small portion of the total money we receive. The Foundation for National Progress also helps us with accounting, administrative, legal, and insurance expenses at the fraction of the cost we'd normally have to pay. In addition, we spend the rest of this operational money on further fund raising, servers, and website upkeep and security.

But thankfully, generous supporters have also donated an extra $9,452.06 directly to the Freedom of the Press Foundation to help further our mission of supporting transparency journalism and bringing more accountability to government. This money is vital in making sure we can make the Freedom of the Press Foundation a strong and permanent fixture in the media landscape. In the coming months, we're going to use this money to expand our operations and hopefully bring our supporters even more incentive to donate. We also plan on handing out a special grant to a transparency project chosen by our board members.

The successful launch of this campaign speaks to the commitment and dedication of Internet users to the mission of transparency journalism. The real heroes here are the 1,300+ individual donors who chose to give generously to support this critical mission. Thank you, everyone, for joining us in defending cutting-edge journalism in the face of adversity.

We'll have a couple more exciting announcements in the coming week, so stay tuned.

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