About us

Reader Institute for Community Journalism

RICJ was organized for and is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). More specifically, the Charity is organized and operated to educate, advance, and inform public discourse through local, independent journalism in the Greater Chicago metropolitan area. RICJ operates and publishes the Chicago Reader, which creates and curates political and cultural coverage by and for Chicago, including highlighting underrepresented communities and stories. RICJ also operates the Chicago Independent Media Alliance. We reinvest all of our revenue to achieve sustainability, grow our reach, and ensure the fulfillment of our mission.

The Chicago Reader

The Chicago Reader has been a fearless, innovative, and nationally respected media voice in Chicago for more than 50 years. In print every other week and daily online, we are tastemakers, incisive critics, and agenda-setters. Our readers look to us for what’s new, what’s now, what’s next, and depend on us to hold local government and other public authorities accountable—not to take sides. We are community-supported, and we could not be more proud of our equitable approach to community coverage, staffing, and vendor supply. We’ve got fresh talent and fresh energy, and we’re thrilled to continue to deliver our unflagging, unfiltered take on Chicago.

We are the Reader. We are Chicago. And we speak Chicago.

Editorial Independence

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Donor Transparency

We are committed to transparency in funding our organization. Accepting financial support from individuals or groups does not mean we endorse donor products, services, or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, and foundations to support our ongoing free journalism. Our news judgments are made completely independently and are not based on or influenced by donors. Supporters do not have the right to assign, review, or edit content.

We will make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a nonprofit, we will avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources. We do accept advertising from government entities, political parties, elected officials, and candidates actively seeking public office, but we do not endorse in any elections. We do accept donations from individuals, and this can include politicians and candidates, but we do not allow donors to influence editorial decisions.

See our most recent Century Circle impact and financials report.
Learn about the Chicago Independent Media Alliance.

Chicago Reader Champions

Funders who have given $1,000 or more in 2022 or 2023.


  • Bernard Bartilad
  • James Bennett and Terry Vanden Hoek
  • Louis Bernstein
  • Lora Branch and Simone Koehlinger
  • Evette Cardona
  • John Chavez and Lisa Gershenson
  • Tom Chiola
  • Steve Cohen
  • Brecken Cutler
  • Roxanne Decyk and Lew Watts
  • Matthew Doubleday
  • Chaz Ebert
  • Anne Evens
  • Eve Ewing
  • Janice Feinberg, PharmD, JD
  • Vanessa Fernandez
  • Dalila Fridi and Elizabeth McKnight
  • Commissioner Bridget Gainer
  • Kristen Hackney
  • Paul Hanover and Nancy Katz
  • Christie Hefner
  • Rena Henderson Mason
  • David Hiller
  • David Hoffman
  • Grayson Holmbeck
  • Nancy Johnson
  • Jonathan Lehman
  • Michael Leppen
  • Reese Marcusson
  • Michael Mcraith
  • Michael Mock
  • Gail Morse and Late Lauren Verdich
  • Sharon Mylrea
  • Kenneth W. O’Keefe and Jason Stephens
  • Diane Pascal
  • Eileen Rhodes
  • Bruce Sagan and Bette Cerf Hill
  • Nancy Schaffer and Karen Dixon
  • Joseph Seliga
  • Joe Shanahan
  • Adele Simmons
  • Julia Stasch
  • Sari Staver
  • Jason Stephens
  • Lilly Wachowski
  • Khalilah Young


  • Borst Accounting Solutions
  • Bruce and Erika Novak Foundation
  • CFL Workforce and Community Initiative
  • City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
  • Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY Foundation
  • Darrell R. Windle Charitable Fund
  • Democracy Fund
  • Elevate
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • GNI News Equity Fund
  • Joseph Cothrel & Linda Heban Giving Fund
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman Foundation
  • Law Offices of Jeffery Leving
  • Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
  • Miner, Barnhill & Galland P.C.
  • Miriam U. Hoover Foundation
  • Oppenheim Lamat Charitable Fund
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
  • Quaterfold LLC
  • Sodade Revival, LLC
  • Square One Foundation
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • The Builders Initiative
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust
  • The Field Foundation of Illinois
  • The Howard S Dubin Family Foundation
  • The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation
  • The MacArthur Foundation
  • The Pierce Family Charitable Foundation
  • The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
  • Tully & Associates LTD
  • Walder Foundation