The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday, February 2, 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.

    Uganda Oil Sector Falls Short

    December 4th, 2014

    Joseph MazigeFrom Joseph Mazige, for Munno Voice of Uganda, an investigation of newly developed oil fields, which have failed to meet expectations for reducing joblessness and poverty. Instead, the oil companies provide good jobs for skilled foreign citizens but offer local residents positions as guards and laborers. Local business owners also complain they are denied service contracts; the foreign oil firms do not believe they meet their standards. A scholarship fund has been established by one firm to begin to address the skills gap. Local residents also report that violent evictions and land-grabs have cleared the way for the international oil companies.

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

    Photo credit: Joseph Mazige

    False Sense of Security on Campus

    December 4th, 2014

    clery-nutshell-art-g3rufjd1-1campus-crime2eja-jpgA joint investigation by the Student Press Law Center and The Columbus Dispatch casts serious doubts on the accuracy of crime reports sent by colleges to the U.S. Department of Education. An overwhelming number of colleges report no sexual assaults, or no violent crimes at all, each year. The investigative team documented crimes – including the report of a gang rape committed in a dorm room – that were reported to college authorities, but not to the feds as required by law. Students and parents rely on accurate statistics to judge whether colleges being considered by high school seniors are safe to attend.

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

    Photo credit: Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch

    Giving Thanks

    December 2nd, 2014

    (Washington) – The board and staff of the Fund for Investigative Journalism would like to express our gratitude to the individuals and organizations that have donated time and resources in support of investigative reporting this year.

    Major Contributors:

    The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

    The Reva & David Logan Foundation

    The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation

    The Park Foundation

    The Green Park Foundation

    The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation

    The Gannett Foundation

    The Nara Fund

    Connie Rydberg and Nirav Kapadia

    Shari and Charles Pfleeger


    David Biello, Scientific American

    Michael Berens, Seattle Times

    Jenni Bergal, Stateline

    Rose Ciotta, WIBV-TV – Buffalo

    Sarah Cohen, New York Times

    Marla Cone, Environmental Health News

    Peggy Engel, Alicia Patterson Foundation

    Mary Fricker, RepoWatch

    Dianna Hunt, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

    David Jackson, Chicago Tribune

    Ingrid Lobet, Houston Chronicle

    Kristen Lombardi, Center for Public Integrity

    Josh Meyer, Northwestern University

    Jim Morris, Center for Public Integrity

    Shawn Musgrave, Muckrock

    Deborah Nelson, University of Maryland

    Ron Nixon, New York Times

    Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle

    Judy Pasternak, Author

    Danny Robin, Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Ricardo Sandoval Palos, National Public Radio

    Michael Sorkin, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Joe Stephens, Princeton University

    Mc Nelly Torres, NBC6 – Miami

    Ken Ward, Charleston Gazette

    Scott Zamost, CNN


    Catalogue for Philanthropy – Greater Washington

    Investigative Reporters and Editors

    Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University

    Society of Environmental Journalists

    Eric Fingerhut, Pro Bono Attorney, Dykema

    Leigh Riddick, Pro Bono Financial Advisor, Kogod School of Business, American University

    Thanks to all !

    Pay to Play Culture in DC government

    October 30th, 2014

    DC-Wilson buildingFor WAMU-FM, Patrick Madden reports on District of Columbia contractors who contribute to local politicians – who have the final say over contracts worth $1 million or more. Madden took a deep dive into campaign contributions and found the tight control over contracts by City Council members has spawned a “Pay to Play” culture in DC government. Madden and the team at WAMU also developed a publicly accessible database that shows how the money flows.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    Photo credit: William Reid/WAMU

    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