Apply for a Grant
The deadline for the Fall application cycle is Monday, September 21, 2015, at 5pm Eastern Time.
The deadline for the Winter application cycle is Monday, February 1, 2016 at 5pm Eastern Time.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Board of Directors meets three to four times each year to consider grant applications for investigative projects and books.
What 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 accepts applications for projects on domestic and international issues. All entries must be written in English.
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.
The Fund encourages proposals written for ethnic media. 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.
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.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism accepts online applications, using the form to the right. If this presents a hardship, contact us by mail, phone, or email to make other arrangements. Before uploading application materials, name each attachment with these headings: Proposal, Budget, Resume, Writing Sample-1, Writing Sample-2, Letter-of-Commitment.
Attachment size limit
Proposal: Provide a cover sheet as the first page of the proposal, recapping basic information and answering the questions below. Applications without completed cover sheets 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:
Anticipated completion date:
Has the applicant received an FIJ grant previously? If so, was it successfully completed?
Is the applicant an advocate for this topic?
How you heard 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: The entire proposal should run no more than four pages, including the Cover Sheet. The body of the proposal should outline the story, what the reporter expects to prove, how this will be done, and the types of sources to be used. If the project is expected to take more than one year to complete, explain the reason for this. For books, include the anticipated publication date.
If the subject of the investigation has been covered previously, acknowledge that coverage and explain how the proposed investigation would significantly advance the story.
Resume (CV): Three pages maximum.
Budget: Provide an itemized, detailed budget that estimates expenses, other revenue sources, how much is being requested from FIJ, and how the grant will be used. Refer to this sample budget when formatting the request.
Writing Samples: No more than two. For book authors, a sample chapter may be submitted. Writing samples may be in any medium (print, audio, video.)
Letter of commitment: This is a letter signed by a news executive committing to publish the proposed story, as long as it is completed as promised 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. An application submitted without this commitment is considered incomplete and will not be considered.
Reminder: Our online form requires that attachments be given the following names: Proposal, Budget, Resume, Writing Sample-1, Writing Sample-2, Letter-of-Commitment.
If you forget to fill a required field, or fill it in incorrectly, you will be taken to an error page. Press the back button on your browser to go back to the form with your field values remembered. Note: some browsers such as Internet Explorer do not support this function and you will need to start over. 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. Incomplete or late applications will not be reviewed. 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/, and the Pulitzer Center, which specializes in international reporting, http://pulitzercenter.org/. The Society of Environmental Journalists also makes grants for environmental reporting: http://www.sej.org/initiatives/fej-program-guidelines. Contact each organization directly for their current guidelines.