The Fund for Investigative Journalism provides grants and other support for reporters to produce high-quality, unbiased, nonpartisan investigative stories that have an impact.
Freelance journalists, staff reporters and media outlets are eligible for grants, and their investigations can be for print, online or broadcast stories, books, documentaries or podcasts.
We provide several types of grants:
- Regular grants: We review proposals three to four times a year for grants up to $10,000. The next deadline is Monday, January 29, 2024.
- Seed funding: We provide small grants, up to $2,500, for preliminary reporting that can lead to full investigations. These grants cover costs like open-records requests and initial reporting trips.
- Expedited grants: In rare cases, we provide expedited review for proposals that are extremely urgent and cannot wait for the regular review cycle. These proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis and applicants receive a decision within about two to four weeks.
- Follow-up grants: We accept proposals for timely follow-up coverage to original investigations that were produced with grants from the Fund. Grantees can apply for expedited review for follow-up grants up to $2,500.
- Emergency Grants: Threats to Democracy in the U.S.: These grants are for stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing related to threats to democracy in the U.S. for up to $10,000. We will review proposals on a rolling basis. Grant decisions can be expected within 2-4 weeks of submission of application.
- Diversity Fellowship: In our commitment to increasing diversity in the field of investigative journalism, the Fund for Investigative Journalism offers diversity fellowships. Information about these fellowships will be posted to our website when applications are open.
Regular, Expedited, and Follow-up proposals are submitted through the same application form. Seed funding is submitted through a special application form. Emergency Grants are submitted through their own application form. Diversity Fellowships are submitted through their own application form, which is posted here when fellowships are open.
More information about our grants is below. Additional resources about applying for grants include:
General information about grants
We review applications for regular grants three or four times a year. The deadline to apply for regular grants is Monday, January 29, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Applicants receive a decision about six weeks after the deadline.
In rare cases, we provide expedited review for extremely urgent proposals. Applicants who request expedited review must explain why the proposal is critically urgent and how waiting for regular review would harm the public or render the story moot. If expedited review is granted, applicants receive a decision within about two to four weeks. We also review applications for stories on threats to democracy on this expedited timeline.
We review applications for seed funding (small grants for preliminary reporting) a couple of times a year. The next deadline to apply for seed funding is Thursday, September 14, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
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.
Reporters who have already published an investigation with a grant from the Fund can request up to $2,500 for timely follow-up coverage to the original story.
Reporters who do not yet have a full investigative proposal, but need support to do initial reporting to develop a story, an apply for seed funding to help cover the expenses of preliminary reporting. These grants range from $1,000 to $2,500.
For grants for full investigative proposals, the Fund requires applicants to obtain a “Letter of Commitment” from a news outlet agreeing to publish or air the story. The letter states that the news outlet intends to run the story, provided it meets the outlet’s expectations and standards. Proposals for seed funding do not require a Letter of Commitment, but applicants can share a letter of recommendation from an editor, mentor or professor if they choose to.
The Letter of Commitment for full proposals should not be thought of as an unqualified pledge. If the work is not satisfactory, the news outlet cannot be expected to publish it. The Fund needs this commitment before we make a grant because we don’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. If you are a documentary filmmaker, a letter of support from a distributor or broadcaster can serve 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.
To be considered, foreign-based story proposals must come from U.S.-based reporters or have a strong U.S. angle, involving American citizens, government or business. All stories must be published in English and have a media outlet in the United States.
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. View a sample budget.
The Fund offers grantees the opportunity to be matched with a seasoned investigative reporter to serve as a mentor. The Scripps Howard Foundation supports our mentoring program. 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 a sounding board and work with grantees for the duration of the project.
Our Board of Directors reviews and votes on all eligible proposals.
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.