Who we are

The Center for Public Integrity inspires change using investigative reporting that reveals the causes and effects of inequality. Discriminatory systems in employment, housing, health care, education and access to democracy affect people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, immigration status and income. Our data-driven and narrative journalism holds powerful interests accountable, investigates solutions and places problems within the historical context of inequality in America. 

Public Integrity is one of the oldest nonprofit investigative news organizations in the country, founded by Charles Lewis in 1989 with a mission of “inspiring change using investigative reporting that exposes betrayals of the public trust by powerful interests.” It is a nonpartisan 501(c)3 organization that does not accept advertising and does not charge readers for its journalism.

Our reporting has led to hundreds of law and policy changes, has forced the federal and state governments to release information critical to the public interest, has held corporations to account for abuses of power, and has been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards.

As the country reached historic disparities in wealth and across a range of other measurements of well-being, in 2019 Public Integrity started focusing its investigative reporting on inequality, a problem ingrained in the culture and economy of the U.S. since its founding.  

Our journalism focuses on how inequality manifests and is driven by systems in employment, housing, health care, education and access to democracy. But it extends to inequality’s pervasiveness in the effect that environmental issues have on the public, to criminal justice, transportation, technology, and access to banking, credit and other financial systems.

Our aim is to investigate inequality with and for the people who are affected by it, incorporating data, narrative, solutions and historical context into our work. 

Collaboration with other news organizations, particularly local news organizations serving people most affected by inequality, is a key part of Public Integrity’s work.

Providing access to information wielded by the government and other powerful interests, and data that quantifies the state of inequality in America, are also crucial to the mission of investigating inequality. Public Integrity continues to be a leader in fighting for government transparency by aggressively pursuing Freedom of Information Act cases through litigation when necessary, and to build national data sets on issues of inequality where none have existed.

How we collaborate

Emphasize local relationships with diverse newsmakers – Local news is where people turn for information. We partner with multiple local news outfits, focusing on publications that serve communities of color to help deepen their enterprise reporting and elevate underreported stories on a national level.

Share information and public records – Journalism is a public service. We share data and the tools to uncover it with civic and news organizations to support an informed and engaged citizenry.  

Engage and equip communities – It’s not enough to publish an investigation. We have to ensure that it reaches affected communities, opinion leaders and decision-makers through active outreach and events, from media appearances to town hall meetings, and that we deepen people’s understanding of how to use the information in our investigations to change their lives.

Major Funders

  • Arnold Ventures
  • Carnegie Corporation
  • Democracy Fund
  • Ford Foundation
  • Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Park Foundation
  • Public Welfare Foundation
  • Wyncote Foundation

See a full list of donors here.

Read more in Inside Public Integrity

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