The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, the first bilingual investigative nonprofit in the Sunshine State, has received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS ruling allows FCIR to act as a public charity and receive contributions that are tax-deductible.

“Our approval as a nonprofit tax-exempt organization is wonderful news — the final step in organizing the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and soon we’ll take our first steps as an independent organization,” said Sharon Rosenhause, president of FCIR’s board of directors.

The 501(c)3 status allows FCIR to accept direct donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to produce investigative journalism. FCIR launched in September under a fiscal sponsor, Public Communications, a Tampa-based nonprofit that assists documentary filmmakers and other media organizations.

FCIR’s journalism focuses on government at all levels and how the decisions of public officials affect communities throughout Florida. FCIR’s office is located at the International Media Center, a nonprofit program at Florida International University dedicated to training journalists in Latin America.

“We thank our founders, Mc Nelly Torres and Trevor Aaronson, for their vision and incredible hard work,” Rosenhause said. “For our audience and supporters, current and future, we’ll focus on offering more and varied original content and serving the public interest in Florida.”

FCIR’s institutional funders include Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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