Welcome to the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s online portal to apply for grants and fellowships for investigative projects.

Grant Deadlines for 2024:

Regular Grants

  • Winter: January 29 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Spring: April 29 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Summer: September 9 at 11:59 pm ET

Seed Grants

  • Winter: February 16 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Spring: May 10 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Summer: September 20 at 11:59 pm ET

Questions:  If you have questions about how to apply for a grant, please check our FAQ page first. If we haven’t answered your question you can email us at grants@fij.org. If you would like to reach us over the phone, please say so in your email and we will connect you with someone who can help. Do not hesitate to contact us before the application deadline! We are happy to help. 

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. If expedited review is requested and granted, applicants will be notified of the board’s decision within about two weeks.

Thank you for your interest in applying for a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. The Fund provides grants to journalists for investigative stories that break new ground – which means they uncover wrongdoing in the public and private sectors and reveal information that was previously unknown or hidden. Below is an overview of the grant application. You can also watch this short video about what to include in the grant application.

Basic information and requirements

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All information contained in an application is held strictly confidential by the Fund's board and staff, is shared with no one outside of the organization, and is used solely for the purpose of making a grant decision.

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: (1) The topic area of reporting needs critically urgent attention from the public; and (2) 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 five key questions clearly and directly:

  1. 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.)
  2. What initial findings do you already have? (Tell us what information you’ve already developed and hope to develop that will make this a good story. Be specific. We don’t want to know that you’ve developed ‘a ton of evidence.’ We’re looking for details if you have them. The more we know about what you’ve learned, the easier it is for us to evaluate your proposal. All information is held strictly confidential.)
  3. What is your investigative plan? (Share your general roadmap for tracking down information, including public records, other documents, interviews, and your own observations.)
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)

Budget guidelines

  • Your estimated budget should itemize expenses of reporting such as travel, document fees, equipment rentals (not purchase), and small stipends. The budget should be specific and detailed.
  • Grants will not cover expenses such as office space rental, office supplies, and equipment purchase.
  • Your budget should also identify other sources of funding, if applicable. If you are applying for a book grant, provide detail about resources available from the publisher, and explain why a grant is needed.

Please follow the prompts below to apply. If you have questions or need help completing an application, email grants@fij.org and you will receive a response within one business day.

Thank you for your interest in applying for a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. This application is for seed funding to cover the expenses of preliminary reporting, such as open-records requests and initial reporting trips. If you want to apply for a regular grant, with a full investigative story proposal, please use the form for regular grants. 

Overview of grants for seed funding

  • Grants are for preliminary reporting for specific projects. The grants cover early reporting that can lead to full investigative projects. This includes, for example, open-records requests and initial reporting trips to identify and interview sources.
  • Grants are $1,000 to $2,500. The entire grant is paid up-front.
  • Journalists who receive seed funding can apply for full grants (up to $10,000) once they conduct the preliminary reporting and secure a commitment from a media outlet to publish or broadcast the story.
  • All information contained in an application is held strictly confidential by the Fund's board and staff, is shared with no one outside of the organization, and is used solely for the purpose of making a grant decision.

Criteria for seed funding

  • Freelance journalists and those who are not in full-time staff roles at a media outlet are eligible to apply for seed funding.
  • Seed funding must be used to obtain documents or information that could lead to a full investigative story. The journalist’s time can be one cost covered by the grant, but it may not be the only cost. 
  • Other criteria for seed funding mirrors the Fund’s criteria for full grants: stories must be investigative in nature (meaning they uncover wrongdoing that was previously hidden or unknown), and journalists must be U.S.-based or working on a story with a very strong U.S. angle.

What to include in the application

  • Resume and two work samples
  • You can include a letter of recommendation from an editor, mentor or professor if you choose, but this is completely optional.
  • A short overview of your project and a short, detailed description of the preliminary reporting you need funding to carry out (such as open-records requests or travel).
  • Estimates of costs that you need funding to cover, with a rationale for how the estimates were calculated.
  • A brief explanation of other reporting that has been done on this subject and how your project would advance the story.

Please follow the prompts below to apply. If you have questions or need help completing an application, email grants@fij.org.

Fund for Investigative Journalism