The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Board of Directors meets three times each year to consider grant applications for investigative projects. The next deadline is Monday, May 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm Eastern time.
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.
To apply for a grant (and request a mentor), visit: investigate.submittable.com.
The application portal will be open at least one month before the deadline.
If you are not prepared to apply for the current round of grants, one additional opportunity will be available later this year, with the following deadline: Monday, September 24.
Letter of Commitment. Before you apply, be sure to obtain a “Letter of Commitment” from a news editor, pledging that 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.
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.
Application requirements include a proposal, resume, work sample, budget, and a letter of commitment from a news outlet pledging to run the story if it is completed as proposed and meets the news organization’s journalistic standards. 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. If you were previously awarded a grant and are seeking a mentor, please contact FIJ for information on how to apply.
Questions: Executive Director Sandy Bergo and Director of Operations Bobby Calvan welcome questions about the application process and requirements by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or phone, 202-662-7564. 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.
Additional resources available to investigative reporters: Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE) for grants and services such as researchers and pro-bono lawyers, http://www.projectword.org/fire/guidelines; The George Polk Grants for Investigative Reporting, liu.edu/polk/grants; The Investigative Fund, http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/; the Pulitzer Center, http://pulitzercenter.org/; for economic and business topics: McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism. and The Society of Environmental Journalists, http://www.sej.org/initiatives/fej-program-guidelines. For a residential fellowship, the Logan Nonfiction Program, http://careyinstitute.org/programs/nonfiction/nonfiction-fellowship/ Contact each organization directly to learn what these programs currently offer, their application requirements and deadlines.