The Illinois Answers Project is Illinois’ nonpartisan investigations and solutions journalism news organization. We are published by the Better Government Association, Illinois’ nonprofit full-service watchdog organization.

Our Mission

The Illinois Answers Project investigates significant problems in Chicago and Illinois through in-depth reporting and offers the most comprehensive solutions-focused reporting in the state. We inform, engage and mobilize residents, civic leaders and public officials to generate and implement changes that build a state of Illinois in which all communities can prosper.

How We Operate

The Illinois Answers Project is published by the Better Government Association, a nonprofit news organization founded in 1923 and winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. The Illinois Answers Project staff produces all of the investigative and solutions-focused journalism. The BGA also publishes BGA Policy, which advocates for more transparent, accountable and efficient government through public policy reform. The Illinois Answers Project staff and BGA Policy staff operate independently of each other and with separate staff. Each staff follows strict policies and regulations that ensure the separation of journalism and advocacy.

Solutions Journalism

Solutions journalism finds and explains strategies and policies that either have solved or can solve issues facing Illinois residents. Solutions journalism is the necessary next step in the evolution of local journalism; rather than stopping at just identifying an issue, our staff reports on well-researched solutions for that issue.

Our solutions are analyzed and vetted with the same rigor as our investigative journalism. Solutions-focused stories also will investigate and analyze proposed solutions to problems to determine if the promised corrections took place. Our solutions stories can be found here.

Editorial Independence Policy

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

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains complete editorial control of all coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

We will accept anonymous donations for general support only, and only under conditions that safeguard and protect the editorial independence of our organization in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Illinois Answers Project?

The Illinois Answers Project is an investigations and solutions-focused nonprofit and nonpartisan news organization published by the Better Government Association. Launched in November 2022, the Illinois Answers Project identifies problems and solutions to significant Chicago and Illinois problems.

What is the Illinois Answers Project’s relationship to the Better Government Association?

The Illinois Answers Project is published by the BGA. All investigative and solutions journalism previously produced by the BGA will now be produced by the Illinois Answers Project. The BGA leadership team also oversees the Illinois Answers Project.

What is the Illinois Answers Project’s relationship with Better Government Association Policy?

In addition to the Illinois Answers Project, the BGA also publishes BGA Policy. BGA Policy is an advocate for a more transparent, accountable and efficient government through public policy reform. The Illinois Answers Project staff and BGA Policy staff operate independently and follow strict policies and regulations that ensure the separation of journalism and advocacy.

What is Solutions Journalism?

Solutions journalism finds and explains strategies and, in the case of local and state governments, policies that either have solved or can solve issues facing Illinois residents. Solutions journalism is the necessary next step in the evolution of local journalism; rather than stopping at just reporting on an issue, our staff reports on well-researched solutions for that issue.

Our solutions are analyzed and vetted with the same rigor as our investigative journalism.

Who funds the Illinois Answers Project?

We are funded by readers, donors and grants alike. Donations are made to our publisher, the Better Government Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The BGA may accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not based on donor support. A list of the BGA’s 2021 donors can be found here.

Our launch was funded in part by a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and a partnership between the BGA and McCormick

How can I donate?

Philanthropic contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations are critical to the success of our organization.  We are grateful to all who have supported our work.  To learn more about making a donation and joining our expanding list of contributors, you can do so here.

Who works for the Illinois Answers Project?

A link to our staff page can be found here. If you’d like to join the team, a list of our open roles can be found here.