In early 2022, a generous donor offered a $3 million challenge grant for the Mackinac Center to launch the Frank Beckmann Center for Journalism.
We are thrilled to announce that we hit this match in 19 short months. Thank you for helping us put government transparency into action and wield a megaphone for free markets.
Reaching the target fuels our work in journalism, transparency and outreach. With the funds we are …
Reaching young people: Six journalism fellows have gone through the Mackinac Center, receiving training from our experienced staff of journalists and then entering the field themselves. These fellows wrote dozens of articles on government licensing laws, union contracts that punish younger teachers, legislation that would punish landlords, and proposals to subsidize Hollywood.
Investigating government: In the past year, we have filed more than a thousand public records requests, which give our researchers and reporters data for their work. These requests also reveal government activity that might otherwise go unnoticed. We had the story when the city of Ann Arbor fired a firefighter with an exemplary service record because he refused to get the COVID vaccine and the mayor publicly violated COVID protocols. FOIA requests are expensive, and Beckmann Center funding pays for them — as well as for the three current transparency lawsuits we have filed against a public university and several school districts.
Turbocharging outreach: The Beckmann Center sponsors our radio show on WJR-AM, a 50,000-watt, class A clear-channel station heard through much of eastern North America. Increased funding has also allowed us to produce more content on our own platforms and reach more people. The number of news articles published is up more than one-third, and we’ve seen double-digit percentage increases in social media engagement. We’ve also exponentially increased the number of videos produced.
There is more to come. In the next few months, we will be able to build a new media studio at the Mackinac Center headquarters. It will help us make more and higher-quality videos, a key means for reaching young adults. We won’t stop writing studies, filing lawsuits or publishing news articles. But many of those will be turned into shorter, punchier, graphic-intensive videos so we can reach more people than ever with a free-market message.
We’ve met our match. It’s time for government officials to meet theirs.