Apply for an FIJ Grant

Welcome to the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s application page for grants and fellowships for investigative projects.

The following applies to FIJ’s general grants. FIJ offers special grants that have different guidelines, as described in the application form.

Applications are taken 3 to 4 times a year.  The next application deadline will be Monday, February 3, 2020.  All application deadlines are set at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, or 8:59 pm on the U.S. West Coast.

The maximum grant is $10,000. Grants cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection and equipment rental. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends, as part of the budget.

With the generosity of the Scripps Howard Foundation, FIJ has the ability to provide mentors to a select number of our grant recipients. You will be able to apply for a mentor during the grant application process.

Letter of Commitment. Before you apply, be sure to obtain a “Letter of Commitment” from a news editor who can pledge in writing that the news outlet will publish or air the specific story you propose – as long as it meets the publication’s expectations and standards.

This letter should not be thought of as an unqualified pledge. If the work is not satisfactory, the news outlet cannot be expected to publish it. FIJ needs this commitment before it makes a grant because it doesn’t have the capacity to help reporters place stories. The letter must be written on letterhead that includes contact information for the news outlet and the individual signing it.

If you are book author applying for a grant, a signed book contract from a publisher serves as the commitment.

The Board of Directors looks for:  stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance, or misuse of power – in the public and private sectors.

The Fund encourages proposals written for ethnic media and submitted by journalists of color.

It is Fund policy to pay the first half of approved grants to successful applicants, with the second half of the grant paid on evidence of publication of a finished project in accordance with the original proposal. Second half grants are not guaranteed if projects are not completed in a timely fashion.

In addition to the letter of commitment, applications must include a proposal, resume, work samples and a budget. All application documents must be written in English and budgets expressed in U.S. dollars.

Guidelines for international reporting grants: To be considered, foreign-based story proposals must come from US-based reporters or have a strong US angle, involving American citizens, government or business. All stories must be published in English and have a media outlet in the United States.

Budget guidelines: Your estimated budget must itemize expenses of reporting such as travel, document fees, equipment rentals, and small stipends. Be specific. Vague line items may be denied. Identify other sources of funding. If you are applying for a book grant, provide detail as to resources available from the publisher, and explain why a grant is needed.

Disclaimer of Liability: The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s role in assisting journalists is limited to making grants. The Fund assumes no liability for the legal and/or safety risks undertaken by journalists in the course of their reporting.

Mentors: FIJ now offers a competitive opportunity to be matched with a mentor. FIJ operates this program in partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists, with seed funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation. As part of the application form, we ask that you explain how a mentor can help you and whether you can commit to keep your mentor informed of your progress.  Mentors act as sounding boards, and work with grantees over the length of their projects. We especially encourage applications for writing mentors, even for seasoned reporters.

Questions: Executive Director Sandy Bergo welcomes questions about the application process and requirements by email, sbergo@fij.org. Contact us before the application deadline and we will be happy to help. Application materials cannot be changed after they are submitted.

Review: The Board of Directors reviews and votes on all eligible proposals. Approximately six weeks after the application deadline has passed, applicants will be notified by email of the board’s decision.

Future deadlines:  Generally, FIJ accepts applications with deadlines in February, May, and September.

In the meantime, check out FIJ’s Frequently Asked Questions: http://fij.org/application-faqs/.

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