Impact

Journalism in the Public Interest

Impact has been at the core of ProPublica’s mission since we launched in 2008, and it remains the principal yardstick for our success today. Our investigative journalism does more than expose wrongdoing and injustice; we intend for it to spark real-world change.

We’ve written a whole white paper on the topic, and examples of how our stories have produced such change — from the resignation of corrupt officials to the passage of new laws — are compiled in our annual reports. On this page, you’ll find our reporting on the impact of our work.

Featured Impact

Congress Scraps Provision to Restrict IRS From Competing With TurboTax

The change comes after ProPublica highlighted the deceptive marketing practices of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and other major tax prep companies.

More Than Me Shuts Down

The American charity, which runs 19 schools in Liberia, announced this week that it will close in the wake of a ProPublica investigation into the rapes of girls in its care.

Facebook Won’t Let Employers, Landlords or Lenders Discriminate in Ads Anymore

The sweeping changes come two years after ProPublica’s reporting, which sparked lawsuits and widespread outrage.

After Controversy, Heartland to Close Four Illinois Shelters for Immigrant Youth

At the same time, another shelter operator is trying to expand its footprint in Chicago.

More Impact

Senators Call for Closing “Loopholes” That Make Health Care Fraud Easy

In response to a story by ProPublica and Vox that detailed how a Texas personal trainer was able to bilk private insurers for millions, six Democratic lawmakers are asking federal regulators to take action.

At Hearing on Financial Aid Scandal, Lawmakers Grill Officials and Look to Close a Loophole

Illinois politicians considered denying admission to students whose families exploited the guardianship law to qualify for aid they wouldn’t otherwise receive, saying it was an “injustice.”

El Departamento de Educación Federal Quiere Frenar la “Trama Fraudulenta de Ayuda Estudiantil” en que Padres Ceden La Custodia a Través de Tutelas Dudosas

Un día después de nuestro reportaje, el inspector general del departamento dice que quiere cerrar los agujeros legales de ayuda financiera.

Illinois Lawmakers Call Hearing to “Demand Answers” and Find Ways to Close a Loophole in College Financial Aid Scandal

Legislators said parents who turn over guardianship of their children to get financial aid engaged in a “manipulative practice.” They’re exploring whether they can subpoena parents to testify.

U.S. Department of Education Wants to Stop “Student Aid Fraud Scheme” Where Parents Give Up Custody Through Dubious Guardianships

One day after our reporting, the department’s inspector general said it wants to close financial aid loopholes.

“Humbled”: Nonprofit Christian Hospital Dials Back Aggressive Debt Collection and Raises Wages After Our Investigation

MLK50 and ProPublica found that Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare sued thousands of low-income patients, including dozens of its own employees, over five years. The hospital system just announced major policy changes in response.

Federal Government Wants to Hear From Heirs’ Property Owners

Ten days after a story about black families losing their land, the USDA scheduled listening sessions to hear from people who have had trouble qualifying for federal programs because their land was passed down without a will.

Boston Hospital Reports Disciplining of Renowned Child Abuse Skeptic

Last September, we examined Dr. Michael Holick’s work as an expert witness for alleged abusers. In the wake of the article, his hospital notified Massachusetts’ medical board that it restricted his privileges.

Chicago Mayor Proposes Reforms That Would Make Life Easier for Thousands of Black and Low-Income Drivers

After more than a year of reporting from ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced ticketing changes and said she would support legislation to change state law — beginning to make good on a campaign promise.

Legisladores de Illinois Exigen que Funcionarios de Protección Infantil Mejoren Servicios para Familias Hispanohablantes

Oficiales estatales dicen ahora que quieren contratar más empleados bilingües y reclutar más familias de acogida hispanohablantes.

Illinois Lawmakers Demand Child Welfare Officials Better Serve Spanish-Speaking Families

State officials now say they want to increase bilingual hiring and the recruitment of Spanish-speaking foster families.

Revelations About a Secret Facebook Group Spawn Investigation of 70 Current and Former Border Patrol Employees

Top officials with Customs and Border Protection said the investigation was prompted by revelations that agents had posted racist and misogynistic Facebook memes. But they declined to say whether any top officials have been suspended from duty.

Judge Orders Expanded Oversight for Mentally Ill New Yorkers In Supported Housing

A report released this week, commissioned after a ProPublica and Frontline investigation, found that not enough residents were covered by an incident reporting system, among other gaps.

Nonprofit Christian Hospital Suspends Debt Collection Lawsuits Amid Furor Over Suing Its Own Employees

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is reevaluating its policy after an MLK50-ProPublica investigation found that it had filed 8,300 lawsuits in the past five years, including against many of its own employees.

Chicago Can’t Hold Impounded Vehicles After Drivers File for Bankruptcy, Court Says

A federal appeals court said the city’s aggressive legal strategy, aimed at discouraging motorists with unpaid ticket debt from filing under Chapter 13, violated the basic protections of bankruptcy, and the city was doing so mostly to generate revenue.

Millionaire CEO of Nonprofit Hospital That Sues the Poor Promises Review of Policies

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare promised a policy review after an investigation by MLK50 and ProPublica found it had sued 8,300 patients — including its own employees — over medical debt. Its CEO has not responded to our questions.

ACLU Sues Pennsylvania State Police, Alleging They’ve Overstepped in Acting as Immigration Authorities

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of 10 Latino plaintiffs by the ACLU echoes findings in an investigation published last year by ProPublica and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

California Legislators Urge Caution, but Greenlight a Plan That Could Lead to the Widespread Use of Forestry Offsets

Influenced by a ProPublica investigation, they emphasized the need for “vigorous and proactive monitoring,” noting concerns long voiced by scientists about the integrity of carbon credits.

After Serious 911 Mishaps, Rhode Island Will Now Pay for Better Training

Lagging rates of cardiac arrest survival and bystander CPR in Rhode Island could soon improve if lawmakers approve a budget allocating $220,000 to strengthen 911 call taker training.

Task Force on Tickets and Debt Suggests Reforms but Needs Chicago’s Mayor and City Council to Finish the Work

A report from the Chicago Fines, Fees & Access Collaborative responded to many of the problems ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago revealed.

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