Grants Fund Investigative Journalism

Deadline: 15 August, 2011, 5pm
Open to: not defined
Grant: $5,000

The grants, sponsored by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, are intended to support investigative projects around the world.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism was founded in 1969 by the late Philip M. Stern, a public-spirited philanthropist who devoted his life “to balancing the scales of justice,” in the words of a friend. Stern was convinced small amounts of money invested in the work of determined journalists would yield enormous results in the fight against racism, poverty, corporate greed and governmental corruption.


  • Tall entries must be written in English.
  • Investigations involving government accountability, environmental issues, or local issues with national implications are encouraged.
  •  Watchdog reporting for ethnic media is also encouraged.


  • The average grant is $5,000. The Fund will pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs or public records document fees. The Fund grants will not cover grantees’ writing fees or salaries, the costs of purchasing equipment, or other capital expenses.
  • Once approved, grantees will be invited to participate in a mentoring program jointly sponsored by the Fund and Investigative Reporters and Editors.
  • 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 or if the projects are published in a different form or in a different outlet than originally proposed.


  • The applicant must write a proposal letter outlining the story, what he or she expects to prove, how this will be done, and the types of sources for the proof. Include the anticipated completion date. Project lengths typically range from a few months to one year. If more time is needed, please explain that in the proposal. For books, include the anticipated publication date.
  • If the proposed topic of the investigation has been covered previously, explain in the proposal what has already been done, and how the proposed investigation would break new ground or significantly advance the story.
  • The letter must be supported by a resume, a detailed budget to justify the size of the requested grant, two writing samples or one sample book chapter, and a signed letter of commitment from a news executive for the intended news outlet. The letter of commitment must be presented on the news outlet’s letterhead and state its intent to publish or broadcast the investigative report as proposed, as long as the finished work meets the news organization’s standards.
  • A letter of commitment is required for all applicants and is a non-negotiable requirement. In the case of individuals seeking grants for books, a signed copy of a contract with a publisher is required and should be substituted for the commitment letter.

How to Apply

The Fund for Investigative Journalism accepts online applications. If this presents a hardship, please contact them by mail, phone, or email to request an exception. Large attachments, 10Mb or greater, may not go through; contact them by email if you need to send a large file.

Apply for a Grant

For more information

The questions about the grant-making process are encouraged to call or email Sandy Bergo at 202-391-0206 or

The Official Website

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