On Feb. 14, we asked readers in South Carolina to consider supporting our watchdog and public service reporting by donating to our tax-deductible Investigative Reporting Fund. We set what we thought was an ambitious goal: raising $100,000 in 100 days.
In just 28 days, we’ve raised $185,596.27. I know I speak for the entire Post and Courier staff in saying we are humbled by the outpouring of support — financial and otherwise — we have witnessed in those days.
Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to pour more time and resources into Uncovered, our latest project aimed at rooting out corruption and misconduct in the Palmetto State. As we kick off Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of access to public information and meetings, we are reminded anew why our nation’s commitment to the principle of open government is so critical.
Since Uncovered launched, The Post and Courier and its partners have received more than 50 legitimate tips to investigate since the first installment was published. We’ve published seven stories thus far and have dozens more planned. Our list of partners around the state has expanded to 14, and many of those news organizations have published their own stories in addition to publishing our work. And the work is just beginning.
Better yet, the governor and several legislators have pledged to change weaknesses in state law identified in our reporting. More reform will be required.
But as we told you last month, this work is expensive. We’ve already spent roughly $50,000 on this project through early March.
Donate to our Investigative Fund to support journalism like this
Our public service and investigative reporting is among the most important work we do. It’s also the most expensive reporting we do. We can’t do it without your support.
So what’s next for The Post and Courier and our fundraising goals? Ultimately, our goal is to fund annually the Watchdog and Public Service team entirely through the generous contributions of readers and civic-minded South Carolinians. Our organization spends nearly $500,000 on salaries and benefits to maintain our historic commitment to investigative, watchdog and public service journalism.
Uncovered has taught us that in the pockets of South Carolina where watchdog reporting has declined, bad actors moved in and flourished. As we reported on March 7, it will take continued vigilance to change this culture. Despite calls for reform from our state’s most influential leaders, some leaders of the organizations identified in our reporting believe they can continue to spend taxpayer dollars as they see fit.
“I can stand firm and say that we have done nothing illegal, unethical or corrupt,” Rocky Hudson, general manager of the Lancaster County Gas Authority, told The Lancaster News after our report.
Recall that $130,000 of York and Lancaster ratepayer money was spent on one retreat — twice what typical families in those counties earn in a year.
If you want to ensure that the watchdogs keep watching, you can still donate to our tax-deductible Public Service and Investigative Reporting Fund.
To help us reach our goals, you can visit postandcourier.com/donate and click on “learn more” about the Investigative Fund. You can also send a check to the Coastal Community Foundation, 1691 Turnbull Ave., North Charleston, SC 29405, and write “Post and Courier Investigative Fund” in the subject line.
There are also other ways to contribute, whether through multi-year gifts or other means. If you have additional questions, you can reach out to The Post and Courier’s Robie Scott, director of development and community relations, at email@example.com or by calling 843-937-5766.
We thank you for your continued support.