Why This Chicago Value Investor Backs Investigative Journalism

Richard H. Driehaus is a successful investment advisor who started his own firm in the late 1970s and established his own family foundation in 1983. But he’s been playing the stock market since he was 13 years old, investing money he earned as a newspaper delivery boy. Since founding Driehaus Capital Management in the early 1980s, he’s been well-known for his expertise in aggressive growth equity management.

In both Driehaus’ investment career and in his philanthropy, he had prided himself on using a value-based process over standard evaluation methods. Driehaus explained, "The real word is not that precise. I'm convinced that there is no universal valuation method. In fact, in the short run, valuation is not the key factor." In his career, Driehaus was known to buy stocks from good companies and hold on to them until changes were favorable. It appears that his approach to philanthropy is quite similar (Read Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Profile).

Driehaus’ days working as a paperboy must have struck a chord because he regularly supports investigative journalism through the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Driehaus recognizes that modern commercial journalism is fragile, yet still powerful when it educates the public, keeps government accountable, and helps democracy thrive. The Driehaus Foundation defines “investigative reporting” very loosely, considering writers, photographers, filmmakers, and reporters from a variety of media outlets for grants. This grantmaking program isn’t exclusive to Chicago journalists, yet almost all investigative reporting grants stay within the city limits.

There are no current deadlines posted for Driehaus’ investigative reporting grant program, but that doesn’t mean grants aren’t being made. So far in 2014, the Driehaus Foundation has awarded $45,000 to Chicago Public Media, $50,000 to the Community Renewal Society for the Chicago Reporter, and $13,000 to the Better Government Association to boost the prizes for the 2014 Investigative Reporting Awards.

Although the deadline for submissions for the Investigative Reporting Awards has passed for 2014, these are given every year to recognize the best in government-related investigative reporting from across the Midwest region. Applicants are judged in terms of accuracy, clarity, completeness, difficulty in obtaining sources, resourcefulness, official responses, and policy changes. First place wins $10,000, second place $5,000, and third place $3,000.

To learn more about the investigative reporting grant program at Driehaus, you can reach out to Executive Director Kim Coventry at kimcoventry@driehausfoundation.org