The Fund for Investigative Journalism Grant

Deadline: 1 November 2011
Open to: Writers or journalists with investigations involving government accountability, environmental issues, or local issues with national implications.
Grant: $5,000


The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is currently accepting grant proposals from eligible applicants for investigative projects and books. Since FIJ was founded in 1969, it has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to freelance reporters, authors and small publications, enabling the publication of more than 700 stories and broadcasts and some 50 books.


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.
In exceptional cases, the Fund will consider awarding a small stipend as part of the grant.

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 projects that are eligible to apply for this grant include investigations involving government accountability, environmental issues, or local issues with national implicationsWatchdog reporting for ethnic media is also encouraged. All entries must be written in English.

How to apply?

The Fund for Investigative Journalism accepts online applications, using the form, which can be found here. If this presents a hardship, please contact the Fund by mail, phone, or email to request an exception. Large attachments, 10Mb or greater, may not go through; contact the Fund by email if you need to send a large file.  All applicants will be notified of decisions about six weeks after the application deadline.

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. Applications submitted without a letter of commitment or a book contract are ineligible for grant awards.

The deadline for the application is 1 November 2011.


Prospective applicants with 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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