A nonprofit organization is a corporation formed to carry out a specific purpose, whether it is educational, religious, scientific or community-related. University of Illinois journalism professor and former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Brant Houston on covering nonprofits: Research a nonprofit through news stories, its Website and the courthouse. Read news stories going back at least five years, if the nonprofit has been around that long. The reporting and writing tactics for covering the nonprofit world are the same as they are for writing about for-profit businesses. In many cases, the financial performance tells the clearest picture of how well, or how poorly, the organization is performing. According to the Foundation Center, there are more than 87,000 foundations in the country with more than $798 billion in assets. In 2013, they handed out more than $56 billion in gifts to nonprofit organizations and other individuals and groups.