Dear Facing South reader -- I'm writing to ask for your help today.

As you know, the BP oil spill is one of our country's biggest disasters ever -- and for many on the Gulf Coast, the situation is only getting worse.

But do you feel like you're getting the whole story about the BP disaster? Over and over again, BP and politicians have blocked access to information and downplayed the impact of the catastrophe on ocean life and coastal communities.

I, along with Facing South's ace reporter Sue Sturgis, want to change that.

In just six days, Sue and I are heading to the Gulf Coast for a week-long fact-finding trip. We want to dig deeper and investigate hidden stories others are missing: Is BP making the problem better or worse? Where is the money going? Who is being helped -- and who is being left behind?

Sue and I have been reporting together about Gulf issues for five years. We've broken key stories and produced dozens of reports on Katrina and Gulf Coast recovery.

We also know how to get results: Our coverage has been featured by ABC News, CNN and USA Today, and everyone from grassroots leaders to members of Congress and the United Nations have used our reports to heighten awareness and bring change.

Now, a new disaster demands our attention -- and we need your help.

Can you help us raise $7,000 in the next 6 days with a contribution of $35, $50 or more for our investigative trip to the Gulf Coast?

No donation is too large or too small, and every dollar of your tax-deductible contribution will go towards our national coverage of the Gulf tragedy.

Thank you for your support -- and for helping shine a light on the crisis in the Gulf.

Chris Kromm
Publisher of Facing South

PS: Wow -- y'all have already helped us raise over $1,500 in donations and pledges for our Gulf reporting trip. Thank you! With your help we can definitely reach our $7,000 goal by Monday! Please donate whatever you can today.

All contributions to the Institute Investigative Fund are tax-deductible.