Purpose: To provide guidance to prospective funders and their advisors when making gifts to the Center for Public Integrity.
Responsibility for the Policy: Development Department, in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of the Center for Public Integrity.
Background: The Center for Public Integrity has created this policy, which combines best practices in fundraising, governance and journalism, to define how we accept and recognize donations and how we conduct ourselves with funders.
Protecting the Editorial Direction: Any funding sought and accepted by the Center for Public Integrity is driven by editorial priorities determined through a strategic planning process. Funders do not drive editorial decision making. The Center does not take assignments or commissions from any funder.
Protecting the Center’s reputation as a nonpartisan newsroom: The Center carefully designs its relationships with funders to ensure that these relationships do not influence editorial work and to avoid creating any contrary impression. We seek to maintain a firewall between editorial staff and funders while providing good stewardship of the gift.
- Communication between the Center and a funder is managed by the Development Department. Funder representatives should not contact reporters or editors directly. Reporters and editors should take reasonable measures to include promptly the development staff in any contact with funders.
- When there are meetings or phone calls with funders to discuss the use of their contribution, a development officer will participate unless other arrangements have been made by the Chief Development Officer.
- The Development Director or his/her designate (such as a communications staff member) is responsible for any discussions between the Center and the funder about publicity and press releases related o the Center’s work. The final decision on these matters rests with the Center for Public Integrity.
Funding Accepted by the Center for Public Integrity: The Center for Public Integrity takes contributions primarily from individuals and foundations. In some instances, such as employee designations, matching gift programs or special event sponsorships, the Center may accept contributions from corporations and unions. These contributions will be fully disclosed. Because a significant amount of the Center’s work focuses on the intersection of government and money, we do not take contributions from governments.
Listing our donors: Just as we expect transparency from others, we will be transparent in disclosing our funding sources (see our list of 2014 funders). As befits the Center’s adherence to professional fundraising standards, we also will strive to treat funders with the utmost integrity. In balancing these interests, we adhere to the following standards:
- We disclose the funding relationship when a funder is mentioned in a story.
- We list our donors of $250 and higher on our website and in our annual report.
- We list the number of donors below $250 on our website and in our annual report
- We list donors of $5,000 and above on the IRS 990 as required by law.
- When contributions to the Center for Public Integrity from a donor-advised fund (a charitable giving vehicle administered by a third-party to manage the charitable contribution of an organization, family or individual), it is our practice to list both the name of th donor (technically the donor-advised fund itself) as well as the individual(s) who make the contribution.
- If a donor at any level requests not to be listed, we follow the guidelines given for handling exceptional situations (see below).
Exceptional Situations: From time to time, the Chief Executive Officer may enlist the Executive Committee of the board to evaluate gifts given under non-standard circumstances. The Executive Committee will consult, as it deems appropriate, with the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Development Officer, or legal counsel, to determine the suitability of accepting a particular gift. In evaluating these gifts, the Center will respect the aims and honor the guidelines expressed in this policy. Each year the Center will disclose the number of gifts it has accepted through this process, in its annual report.