Fund for Investigative Journalism announces Regular and Expedited Grants Program

The Fund for Investigative Journalism provides grants and other support for reporters to produce high-quality, unbiased, nonpartisan investigative stories that have an impact.

Donor Name: Fund for Investigative Journalism

Country: United States

State: All States

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline (mm/dd/yyyy): 01/31/2022

Size of the Grant: $10,000

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.

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.

Grant Information

Grants are for specific investigative projects. They average $5,000 but can be as high as $10,000. They cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends.

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.

Basic information and requirements

  • While most applicants are freelancers, all journalists can apply for grants. The Fund encourages proposals from journalists of color.
  • The Fund provides grants for print and online articles, television and radio stories, documentaries, podcasts, and books.
  • 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, in a media outlet in the United States.
  • Applications must include a brief summary (100 words or less), proposal (1,000 words or less), budget, resume, clips, references, and letter of commitment from a media outlet to publish the story.

Types of grants and timing of review

  • The Fund has a quarterly grantmaking cycle for proposals for investigative stories on any topic. Deadlines are posted on our website. Applicants receive a decision about six weeks after the deadline for proposals.
  • In rare cases, the Fund provides expedited grant review for proposals that are extremely urgent. To qualify for expedited review, a proposal must meet both of the following criteria: The topic area of reporting needs critically urgent attention from the public; and Waiting for review in the regular grant cycle would either harm the public if the story is not told sooner or render the story untimely/moot if it has to wait for regular review applicants who request expedited review must explain in detail how they meet these criteria.
  • Requests for expedited review are processed immediately, and if an expedited review is granted applicants receive a decision about their proposal within about two weeks. If expedited review is not granted, applicants are informed that the proposal will be reviewed during the regular cycle.
  • The Fund also provides expedited grants for time-sensitive follow-ups to original investigations that were produced with grants from the Fund. These grants are up to $2,500. Current grantees who request follow-up grants must submit a short proposal and budget.
  • The same application form is used for all types of grants. There are options on the form to request an expedited review or specify that the application is for a follow-up grant.
  • For all types of grants, the first half of the grant award is paid when the proposal is approved and the second half is paid when the story is published.

Key information to include in the proposal

The Fund’s Board of Directors reviews every grant application carefully and votes on which to approve. The narrative proposal in the grant application should answer four key questions clearly and directly:

  • What makes this an investigative journalism project? (Explain what wrongdoing it would uncover in the public or private sector that has been previously hidden or unknown.)
  • What is your investigative plan? (Share your general roadmap for tracking down information, including public records, other documents, interviews, and your own observations.)
  • What will you uncover that’s new? (Distinguish what new information your investigation would uncover or expose, as opposed to what information you’ll report on that’s already public.)
  • Why are you uniquely suited to do this? (Share any experience you have covering the relevant field or issues, or what background you have that qualifies you for this investigative journalism project.)

For more information, visit Fund for Investigative Journalism.