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ProPublica Wins MacArthur Foundation Award

ProPublica announced today that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has named it one of seven nonprofits around the world to receive the 2014 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, which recognizes creativity and impact. ProPublica’s award, a one-time grant of $1 million, will add to its reserve, laying the groundwork for an expansion of its investigative newsroom.

Focused on abuses of power, ProPublica’s work yields a steady stream of positive change: A recent series on fraud and irresponsible prescribing in Medicare’s Part D, for example, spurred inquiries from U.S. senators and steps forward from Medicare officials. Reporting on efforts by the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ to undermine encryption on the Internet, in partnership with the Guardian and the New York Times, has prompted a move toward new standards. And after ProPublica’s coverage of the dysfunction in the presidential pardons process, President Obama commuted the sentence of Clarence Aaron, whose story ProPublica highlighted in a partnership with the Washington Post.

“MacArthur’s generous grant is a testament to the importance of our watchdog role and to our very model, just six years in the making,” said ProPublica’s president, Richard Tofel. “We couldn’t be more grateful to MacArthur, one of our original supporters, for this investment in the sustainability of ProPublica’s future.”

Two hires announced earlier this month bring ProPublica’s full-time staff total to 49 – of whom 42 are journalists – about double the number on board when publishing began in 2008.

“From exposing human rights abuses in cyberspace to reducing the influence of money in American politics, the missions of these organizations are diverse,” MacArthur President Robert Gallucci said in announcing this year’s award winners. “They share in common their demonstrated impact in improving the lives of people and communities. MacArthur hopes these investments will sustain and expand the reach of that impact.”

MacArthur does not accept nominations for the MACEI Awards; organizations must show exceptional creativity, effectiveness, and strong leadership and financial management. For more on why ProPublica was selected, and an overview video, see ProPublica’s page on the MacArthur website.

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