While 2023 was an awful year for the news industry at large — with coast-to-coast layoffs hitting everyone from the Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times — it was InvestigateWest’s best year ever. 

The 14-year-old nonprofit newsroom added two investigative reporters and a full-time development staffer. Meanwhile, the organization has two openings at the moment, for a major gifts officer and an Indigenous affairs reporter, and later this year, it will add a bilingual reporter to cover migrant labor and other equity-related issues across the Northwest.

More growth is planned for 2024, including the launch of a new InvestigateWest website, and two people in particular have made this tremendous growth possible: philanthropists Lisa Mennet and Paul Joseph Brown. For the fourth year in a row, the Seattle couple has donated $100,000 or more to InvestigateWest.

Lisa Mennet and Paul Joseph Brown

“Lisa and I are passionate about many issues — especially early childhood development, democracy and social justice — and we believe that investigative journalism and regional news outlets like InvestigateWest are critically important,” says Paul Joseph Brown, a retired photojournalist. “We’re proud to support InvestigateWest and we’re excited that it’s rising to fill important gaps left by shrinking news outlets.”

InvestigateWest was founded in 2009 by laid-off Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporters and editors. The organization was part of a pioneering group of news outlets created at that time to preserve public-service journalism through a nonprofit model relying on readers, charitable foundations and, crucially, local philanthropists like Mennet and Brown.

“Because of Lisa and Paul’s incredible generosity, InvestigateWest is creating real impact across the entire region,” said Executive Director Jacob H. Fries. “Our investigations are now being read and shared and republished across three states. They’re appearing in The Atlantic, The Guardian and Politico. They’re being debated in Olympia, Boise and Salem. They’re sparking consequential lawsuits, being cited by lawmakers and shaping better policies. And we couldn’t do it all without Lisa and Paul.”

Over the years, InvestigateWest’s reporting has resulted in nine new laws in Washington to protect workers, the environment and foster kids, and helped push forward a new law in Oregon intended to promote justice for people of color.

To support this type of revelatory reporting, donations can be made to InvestigateWest through its secure online portal. For more information, Executive Director Jacob H. Fries can be reached at jacob@invw.org or (509) 251-4500.