FIJ gets big financial boost from Weissman Foundation, craigslist

The Fund for Investigative Journalism is proud to announce a pair of gifts that will further the work of independent watchdog journalists.

An unsolicited $100,000 gift from the Weissman Family Foundation was a very pleasant surprise.

A family representative told FIJ that concerns over an “assault on facts” prompted the foundation’s decision to seek out and financially support an investigative journalism nonprofit.

Earlier this year, the craigslist Charitable Fund gave FIJ $75,000, the second time the philanthropic organization has donated to our mission.

“These gifts recognize the pivotal role FIJ plays in bringing vital journalism to light,” said FIJ Board President Ricardo Sandoval-Palos. “The generous contributions provide support to even more independent journalists who want to make sure that institutions of power are held accountable.”

The contributions help FIJ secure additional funds from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, which had vowed to match up to $25,000 of new money raised by FIJ.

We hope the generosity will keep flowing as FIJ strives to continue its mission of backing important projects that would otherwise go unreported.

In other news: Bobby Caina Calvan, a former reporter with the Associated Press and the Boston Globe, has joined FIJ’s staff as director of operations.


Investigation focuses concern over where New Hampshire’s mentally ill are held

“Therapy booths” are used for group therapy for some mentally ill patients at the Secure Psychiatric Unit at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord, New Hampshire. Photo by Nancy West

With no place to house some mentally ill people who could pose a danger to themselves or others, New Hampshire has taken the unusual step of holding them in the psychiatric unit of a state prison – even if they haven’t committed a crime, according to a report by Nancy West, co-published by and the New Hampshire Business Review. That’s despite warnings by the New Hampshire Psychiatric Society three decades ago advising against commingling civilly committed individuals with convicted criminals. Some states, West noted, have banned the practice even for very brief holds.

A New Outlook of Taylorsville is an adult care home in rural Alexander County in North Carolina. Residents started a fire there in December 2014. The facility remains open, with zero stars, according to state regulators. Photo by Colby Rabon/Carolina Public Press.

A team from Carolina Public Press reviewed three years of public records for all 1,200 adult care homes in North Carolina and conducted dozens of interviews with regulators, patient advocates, facility managers and others. The result was a series of stories revealing the inconsistencies and troubling issues that undermine the regulation and oversight of these private, for-profit facilities. The investigation showed how regulators have been slow or reluctant to close some homes despite repeated violations and how lax oversight by regulators has endangered residents.