The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 5pm EST
  • How FIJ Helped to Uncover the My Lai Massacre

    Seymour HershClick here to hear veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh tell how – with financial support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism – he learned about the massacre of civilians in Vietnam, how he tracked down Lt. William Calley and, in so doing, changed the world’s perception of American intervention in Southeast Asia. It demonstrates how small grants from our fund have enabled talented journalists to produce big, important stories, changing the course of history.

    “Private Violence” Airs Tonight on HBO

    October 20th, 2014

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism is one of the proud sponsors of “Private Violence,” a documentary praised in today’s New York Times for illuminating the “entrenched” problem of domestic violence in “shocking clarity.” Quoting from the review: “[the film's] objective is to change the presumptions so that victims are not fighting an uphill battle from the beginning.”

    Private Violence airs tonight at 9pm on HBO.


    Taxpayers Bankroll Hospital

    October 10th, 2014

    hospitalFrom Moonshine Ink, an investigation of public funds drained for a hospital expansion in a small California town and an “all-in-the-family”  consultant contract that is an apparent conflict of interest. Reporter David Bunker finds that public funding of the hospital district does not clearly benefit patients.

    “The billing and care at Tahoe Forest Hospital is similar to a private hospital experience,” he reports.

    Moonshine Ink’s investigation is in-depth, with periodic follow-up reports:

    The CEO responds.

    Hospital board finds insufficient evidence of conflict.

    Sparks fly at hospital board meeting.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Green Park Foundation and The Park Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Emily Dettling/Moonshine Ink





    Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation Renews Support

    October 3rd, 2014

    (Washington) – The Fund for Investigative Journalism is pleased to announce The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation has renewed its support of the Fund’s grant-making program for independent investigative reporters.

    The $25,000 in support from The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation will underwrite grants for reporters who have the ideas, sources, and know-how to produce groundbreaking investigative journalism, but lack the resources to complete their projects.

    For more than forty years, the Fund has paid reporting expenses of journalists who produce in-depth, exclusive stories that have impact. In 1969, one of the first grants from the Fund helped freelance reporter Seymour Hersh break the story of the My Lai massacre.

    In addition to support from The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, the Fund receives support from The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, The Gannett Foundation, The Green Park Foundation, The Park Foundation, The Nara Fund, The Reva & David Logan Foundation, The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, from private family foundations, and from individual donors, many of them referred by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington.

    One of the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s board members, David Ottaway, also serves on the board of the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.

    The Fund also offers a mentoring program for grantees, in partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors and with the Society of Environmental Journalists – which recruit mentors from among their members.

    Pro bono legal services are provided by Dykema Gossett PLLC, a national commercial law firm with a broad portfolio of community service and pro bono clients.

    Pro bono business advisory services are provided by Leigh Riddick, Associate Professor of Finance at The American University’s Kogod School of Business.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism makes grants three to four times each year. Potential applicants are invited to contact the office by email, email hidden; JavaScript is required, or phone, 202-662-7564, with questions about the Fund’s grant-making program and to sign up for email notifications of application deadlines.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism relies on donations, which can be made online,, or by mail to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, 529 14th Street NW – 13th floor, Washington D.C. 20045.

    Mozambican Elephant Slaughter

    September 30th, 2014

    Elephant killedFrom Estacios Valoi for Oxpeckers, findings of official complicity in the slaughter of elephants – which has become “industrial” in scale in northern Mozambique.

    “The killing of elephants in the north of Mozambique is reaching proportions never seen before,” an advisor to the World Conservation Society told Valoi. Their ivory tusks are then smuggled across borders, mainly to China and Vietnam.

    Despite tougher laws, Valoi’s investigation found that officials facilitate the illegal trade. “Some sell weapons and ammunition, military uniforms and boots, and others facilitate the release of detainees and the disappearance of evidence,” reports Valoi.

    Valoi is a member of the Forum for African Investigative Reporters.

    Photo credit: Estacios Valoi

    [Reporting supported by The Green Park Foundation and The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]


    “Fighting Goliath” in the Pacific Northwest

    September 22nd, 2014

    Mildred LakeFor “Making Contact” and KBOO-FM – Portland, Barbara Bernstein has produced the radio documentary “Fighting Goliath,” exploring the environmental protest in the Pacific Northwest over proposed industrial trucking corridors for heavy mining equipment. The equipment “mega-loads” were headed to Canada and the sites of the controversial Tar Sands mines, one step in the process of exploiting Canadian oil resources for American gas tanks, if the Keystone Pipeline is authorized. If the US pipeline is not approved, the tar sands oil will go through Canadian pipelines to the Pacific coast.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Alex S. MacLean

    Cameroon Waters Soiled by Palm Oil Farming

    September 22nd, 2014

    TombstoneFor, reporter Christian Locka reports that a contractor working for the leading palm oil corporation in Cameroon dumped human excrement in the Mboma river, polluting water used for drinking and cooking water. The company, formerly owned by the state, is now owned by a French businessman.

    Land has been taken to make way for the palm oil farms, and graveyards, schools, churches – entire villages have been destroyed.

    The government, which receives money from the corporation, remains silent in the face of the abuses.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Christian Locka

    Money Flows, Clean Water Does Not

    September 19th, 2014

    ChadFrom Chad Bouchard for 100Reporters, the tragic story of millions of dollars from the U. S. State Department squandered on misguided attempts to bring clean drinking water to rural residents of Iraq. The project in the Sinjar district, in northwestern Iraq, was undermined in part by a history of government corruption in the region, corruption that has fueled anger and aided Islamic State recruitment. Since Bouchard’s visit there, the Islamic State attacked Sinjar and now controls the area.

    The Iraqis accuse Americans in charge of reconstruction projects with refusing to listen to local geologists familiar with water and soil conditions, preferring to do things their own way.

    The projects, marked by cracked pipelines, stolen parts, and shoddy materials, have been largely abandoned. Residents have to pay out of their own pockets to provide basic water services their government and American dollars have not provided.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Sami Hilali 




    A Pesticide Too Dangerous for Homes, Still Used on Farms

    September 8th, 2014

    Lovett-pesticide notice-orangesLi Miao Lovett reports for the National Radio Project that a chemical considered too dangerous for household use is still being sprayed to kill insects on croplands, exposing farmworkers and their families to its hazards.

    An excerpt from the report:

    In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – EPA – moved to protect children by banning in-home use, but the pesticide [chlorpyrifos] remains widely used in agriculture.

    So you won’t find this chemical now in your can of bug spray but farmworkers and their children continue to be exposed to chlorpyrifos.

    Photo credit: Li Miao Lovett.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    Shining a Light on Boston Public Housing

    September 8th, 2014

    buld_1buld_1HUD jpgFrom Spare Change, the nation’s oldest street newspaper, published in Boston and sold by homeless and low-income vendors: an investigation of public housing conditions by Shawn Musgrave. In his initial report, Musgrave details the frustrations in getting public records from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Although some housing advocates in Boston say housing conditions have improved in recent years, Musgrave’s attempts to check that out have been stymied, so far, by HUD’s failure to provide timely information. But Musgrave is not done investigating.

    Photo credit: Zhengzeng Wang for Spare Change News

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Lost in the Woods

    September 5th, 2014

    locg deckwith Dick FFor High Country News, Claudine LoMonaco reports on a bungled attempt to restore Arizona forest land. The project, she reports, is “in danger of unraveling. And the blame for the delays, uncertainty and outright failures seems to lie squarely with the [U. S.] Forest Service.”

    Photo credit: 4FRI/USDA Forest Service.

    [Reporting supported by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and The Park Foundation.]