Apply for a Grant
The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Board of Directors meets three times each year to consider grant applications for investigative projects.
Applications are now closed, but will reopen again before the end of the year. Plans are underway to accept applications through Submittable.com, rather than through this website. The requirements will be similar, so reading the instructions below will be helpful in preparing an application for the next deadline, which is Monday February 6, 2017 – 5pm Eastern Time.
Again, the information below is intended for background, as some requirements may change once FIJ begins to accept applications again.
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. Grants average $5,000 and cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends.
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.
All application documents must be written in English and budgets expressed in U.S. dollars.
New guidelines for international reporting grants: The Fund is not currently making grants for foreign-based stories that do not have a US component. To be considered, proposals must come from US-based reporters or stories must have a US angle, involving American citizens, government, or business. All stories must be published in English – either by an English language publication or outlet, or by an outlet that has an affiliation with an English language site.
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: In partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists, mentors are recruited for successful grantees, upon request. Mentors act as sounding boards, and work with grantees over the length of their projects. Mentoring grantees is an important part of the Fund’s program to support independent journalists.
Application Process: The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) accepts online applications, using the form to the right. Before uploading name each attachment: Proposal, Budget, Resume, Writing Sample-1, Writing Sample-2, Letter-of-Commitment.
Proposal: For the first page of the proposal, provide answers to the questions below. Applications without complete answers will not be reviewed.
In 125 words or less, summarize your idea for the story, project, or book, explaining the point of the investigation and/or what you are trying to prove:
News outlet or book publisher:
If writing for a news outlet, are you a freelancer or are you on staff?
Name of person signing letter of commitment or book contract:
Contact information for person signing letter of commitment or book contract:
Size of audience or readership (circulation or web traffic):
(Book authors can leave the audience/readership question blank.)
Grant Amount Requested:
If you are requesting a grant to support research for a book, provide detail in your budget as to the resources available from the publisher, and explain why a grant is needed.
Anticipated completion date (within one year). If you need more than one year, please explain:
If the request is for a foreign reporting grant, explain the US angle. (Refer to new foreign reporting guidelines above.)
Has the applicant received a grant from the Fund previously? If so, was it successfully completed?
Is the applicant an advocate for this topic?
How did you hear of the Fund?
List three references with contact information.
Has the applicant or his/her reporting partners for this project been found guilty or liable in any court proceedings, lost any professional license, or been expelled from any professional organization? If so, explain:
Will the news outlet acknowledge the Fund for Investigative Journalism?
Proposal narrative: Follow the above question and answer section with a proposal narrative of no more than three pages. The body of the proposal should explain why you consider the story to be investigative in nature, what is new, how you plan to go about conducting the investigation, and the potential for impact.
If the subject matter has been covered previously, be sure to explain how the proposed investigation would significantly advance the story.
Resume (CV): Three pages maximum.
Budget: Provide an itemized budget of expenses, other revenue sources, and the amount being requested. Refer to this sample budget when formatting the request. Be as specific as possible. Vague line items may be omitted or delay consideration by one grant cycle.
Writing Samples: One or two examples of previously published (or aired) work. For book authors, a sample chapter may be submitted. Writing samples may be in any medium (print, audio, video.)
Letter of commitment: The applicant needs to provide a letter signed by a news executive committing to publish the story, as long as it is completed as proposed and meets the news outlet’s journalistic standards. The letter must make specific reference to the story proposed. A general reference letter or expression of interest in publishing the reporter’s work does not suffice. For book authors, a signed book contract serves as the letter of commitment. A letter of commitment is a non-negotiable requirement.
Journalism Standards: In accordance with generally accepted journalism standards, the use of composites or disguised identities is not allowed.
The Online Form: If you do not fill in a required field, you will be taken to an error page and may need to start over. Press the back button on your browser to go back to the form with your field values remembered; note however some browsers do not support this function. Pressing the “go back to form” link will take you to an empty form.
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.
Between grant cycles: Potential alternative funding sources are The George Polk Grants for Investigative Reporting, liu.edu/polk/grants, The Investigative Fund, http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/, the Pulitzer Center, http://pulitzercenter.org/, and The Society of Environmental Journalists, http://www.sej.org/initiatives/fej-program-guidelines. Contact each organization directly.
-This page was updated 10-17-16.