Maybe you’re freelance. Perhaps you’re at a publication where the idea of a splurge is finding $10 on the street and buying a box of doughnuts for the staff. It makes it tough for reporters pursuing a story that involves significant time and money. No matter how intriguing an investigation, you’ve got bills to pay.
Grants for journalism projects can help provide the extra scratch you need to satisfy your story itch. Foundations and other organizations offer programs to help fund work journalists might not otherwise be able to do. The money may not be enough to completely carry you, but it can make the difference between following a dream and taking on yet another meet-the-rent assignment.
Only a few of the grants itemized here are specifically earmarked for business journalism, but a good business story could potentially fit within their scope. Before you start applying, read this advice from Jillian Keenan, who has repeatedly used grants to help support her journalism, whether directly for stories or tapping into other resources, like travel, that could otherwise take a bite out of your budget.
And realize that these are only some examples. Further research might get you to other opportunities.
Alicia Patterson Foundation
The Alicia Patterson Foundation offers fellowships to full-time print journalists, either U.S. citizens or non-citizens working for U.S. print publications. Freelancers are also welcome to apply. Stipends are $20,000 for six months and $40,000 for a year. It is a full-time fellowship, so staff would need to take a leave of absence, but you can do freelance work so long as you meet the program’s obligations.
Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute Reporting Award
The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University offers up to two awards “for a significant work of journalism in any medium on an under-reported topic in the public interest.” The maximum award is $12,500. You get an NYU ID and full library and reference privileges.
Fund for Investigative Journalism
The Fund for Investigative Journalism offers amounts up to $10,000 for “out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental.” Small stipends are sometimes possible, but not generally available. You need a letter of commitment from a news editor, pledging to publish the piece as long as it meets editorial standards. There must be a strong U.S. angle, which can include an American business.
Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting
In association with In These Times, the Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting provides “editorial and financial support to journalists pursuing in-depth investigative projects that align with In These Times’ mission of advancing democracy and economic justice, informing movements for a more humane world, and providing an accessible forum for debate about the policies that shape our future.” Amounts aren’t listed, but they claim a commitment to “compensating writers fairly for their work.” There is a per-word rate and compensation for travel and other expenses.
McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism
The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism offers grants of up to $15,000 “to support in-depth, ambitious coverage of critical issues related to the global economy and business.” Grants run over no more than three months, though the organization can consider longer grants, depending on the proposal. They offer editorial assistance, provide aid in placing pieces and sometimes publish them as e-books or through the CUNY J-School’s book imprint. You need at least five years of professional experience and the program is open to freelancers as well as staff.
Nation Institute Investigative Fund
The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute “incubates and supports important investigative stories with the potential for social impact, particularly on issues that may be bypassed by the mainstream media.” Reporters can get “editorial guidance, institutional support, and grants to cover the research costs associated with investigative journalism.” The project budget is funded at $1.2 million annually, most of which goes to covering reporters’ travel and research costs.