The Legacy Society is a group of supporters of Wisconsin Watch who have included our nonprofit in their estate plans, including wills, trusts, retirement plan distributions and life insurance. They are visionary philanthropists who want to ensure the financial stability and strong future of Wisconsin Watch.

Members of the Legacy Society invest in our investigative reporting and training of future generations of investigative journalists. This informs the citizenry and strengthens democracy. Public acknowledgment of these gifts inspires others to do the same.

Your planned gift makes you a lifetime member of the Legacy Society.

A selection of Wisconsin Watch staff are seen in Madison Wis., on July 20, 2021. Your gift to the Center helps ensure the future of investigative journalism in Wisconsin. Narayan Mahon / Wisconsin Watch

Ways to join the Legacy Society


Including Wisconsin Watch in your will, trust or estate plan is as simple as including this language:

“I hereby give, devise and bequeath to Wisconsin Watch (WCIJ Inc.), a nonprofit, non-stock Wisconsin corporation with principal offices in Madison, Wisconsin the sum of $_____ for its general purposes.”

Retirement plan

Name WCIJ Inc. as a beneficiary of your IRA (including eligible qualified charitable distribution), 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement plan. Simply make the change with your plan provider with a Change of Beneficiary Form. Beneficiary changes do not need to involve your estate lawyer and are easy and revocable. No income tax is due on distributions.

Life insurance

The gift of a life insurance policy is deductible as a charitable contribution. If you continue to pay premiums after making your gift, the premiums are also tax-deductible.

Madison Community Foundation fund

Supporters can make Wisconsin Watch a beneficiary of their estate by naming the WCIJ endowment fund at the Madison Community Foundation. This is an easy option for donors who have already designated MCF in their estate planning.

Legacy Society Founding Members

Barbara Johnson • Renie Schapiro • Sharon Stark and Peter Livingston • Carol Toussaint

When I think about leaving a legacy, the cause I most want to support is democracy — and democracy right here in Wisconsin.  For democracy to work, an independent press must keep us informed and hold the powerful to account.  The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is doing exactly this work superbly.

Journalism was devastated when most forms of advertising moved to the internet.  The number of news outlets and practicing journalists in Wisconsin has dropped dramatically in the last two decades. WCIJ has emerged to help fill the gap. It was an early pioneer in nonprofit journalism and is now a national model.  Its deeply researched, fact-checked stories about Wisconsin are available to all news outlets to distribute. The Center has grown mightily in recent years, establishing itself as a statewide institution.

To continue its work, the Center needs reliable revenue. I’m pleased to leave a legacy gift to such a fine organization doing such important work . My gift will be made to the WCIJ fund at the Madison Community Foundation.

Barbara Johnson

Madison, WI


Please contact us with any questions.

We look forward to discussing how you can impact the future of journalism and democracy in Wisconsin and beyond.

If you have already included Wisconsin Watch in your estate plan, we want to hear from you so we can acknowledge your generosity! Send us a message at

Wisconsin Watch
P.O. Box 5079
Milwaukee, WI 53205

Not quite ready to join the Legacy Society? You can always donate to the Center with any amount that is right for you!