Funding opportunities to support coronavirus coverage

Updated May 26, 2020

[For more resources available to news organizations in light of the coronavirus pandemic, please visit lenfestinstitute.org/coronavirus.]

It’s a time of great need for news organizations of all sizes. Teams are working remotely trying to serve their communities while maintaining their own personal health and safety. To make things even more daunting, the already fragile journalism business models are showing signs of cracking. 

As publishers deal with this new reality, opportunities for funding and the use of tools for free or reduced cost have emerged. We’ve collected some of these here, and we’ll continue to update the list. Please email [email protected] if there’s anything you’d like us to include. For additional resources, please visit lenfestinstitute.org/coronavirus.

Grant opportunities

Economic Hardship Reporting Project

The Economic Hardship Reporting Project is offering grants for United States-based journalists reporting on the intersection of COVID-19 and financial suffering. It’s also offering a limited number of grants to journalists experiencing financial hardships. Learn more about the application here.

  • Grant amount: Roughly $1/word or a $300-$500 day rate for photojournalists. $500-$1500 for emergency hardship grants.
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility: Must be a journalist or photojournalist based in the United States.

The Philadelphia COVID-19 Community Information Fund 

The Philadelphia COVID-19 Community Information Fund supports local journalists who have continued to work and keep Philadelphia’s most vulnerable communities informed. Learn more  here.

  • Grant amount: A total of $750,000 will be awarded. 
  • Deadline: No deadline has been established yet. You can sign up below to be notified when the grant applications are available. 
  • Eligibility: Must be a community media organization in the Philadelphia-area.

National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is launching the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists to support writers, photographers, videographers, audio journalists, cartographers, filmmakers, and data visualization experts covering the impact of the coronavirus in their local communities. More details here.

  • Grant amount: $1,000–8,000
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility requirements: Open to journalists from around the world.

Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

The Pulitzer Center is offering grants to support collaborative coverage of the coronavirus crisis. It is focused on proposals that:” Focus on systemic, under-reported issues underlying the coronavirus crisis, Use data-driven and/or interdisciplinary approaches to reporting on coronavirus, Hold the powerful accountable.”  Find out more here

  • Grant amount: Unspecified. Previous grants have been between $5,000 and $10,000
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility requirements: Open to all journalists from all regions all around the world

Internews

The global nonprofit Internews has created an emergency fund to support local and community media around the world cover the coronavirus crisis. More details here.

  • Grant amount: Grant amounts vary, and Internews will also provide expert advisory services for journalists
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility requirements: Initially limited to existing Internews partners, but it plans to expand the opportunity to others.

Format

The Photographer Fund from Format, a digital photography platform, is providing support for independent or freelance photographers affected by coronavirus. Apply here.  

  • Grant amount: Up to $500 per applicant 
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility requirements: Self-employed photographers facing financial hardships.

The Association of Independents in Radio

AIR is providing financial support to those independent audio creators who have been affected by this crisis. Learn more here

  • Grant amount: Maximum $599
  • Deadline: Rolling with the goal of responding within 10 days of application
  • Eligibility: Must be an AIR member with good standing who demonstrates urgent need

International Women’s Media Foundation

The IWMF COVID-19 Relief Fund provides emergency assistance to woman-identifying journalists who need support during this time of need. More details here.

  • Grant amount: Up to $2,000, though special consideration will be given for larger grants on a case-by-case basis.
  • Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Eligibility: Open to women-identifying journalists around the world.

Fund for Investigative Journalism

FIJ is providing grants to U.S. freelance journalists to support investigative reporting on the coronavirus that “break new ground and expose wrongdoing in the public or private sector.” Full details here.

  • Grant amount: Up to $10,000.
  • Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Eligibility: All stories must be focused on the United States and published in English with a U.S.-based outlet.

PEN America 

The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is extending its pre-existing emergency funding to cover those writer’s whose livelihoods are at stake because of coronavirus. Apply here. 

  • Grant amount: $500 to $1,000 based on applicant need
  • Deadline: Rolling. Response is sent within 10 days. 
  • Eligibility: Applicant must be a professional writer based in the United States and must demonstrate that this grant will help them address an emergency situation

Microloans for Journalists

Journalists from across the country have come together to create a network of lenders and borrowers, connecting journalists who face layoffs or furloughs with journalists who can help. Find out more about applying or lending here.   

  • Grant amount: A $500 interest-free loan, to be repaid in one year
  • Deadline: Rolling.
  • Eligibility: Any journalist in the United States who needs financial support because they have been laid off or furloughed can sign up.

Freelancers Union

The Freelancers Relief Fund assists freelancers who are struggling with sudden challenges related to their work because of the pandemic. Apply or donate here.

  • Grant amount: Up to $1,000 per household
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility: To qualify, applicants must be:
    • A freelancer who primarily resides in the United States
    • Able to prove that freelance work is their primary source of income for at least one year prior
    • Able to explain how their income has decreased by at least 50% due to pandemic

Oklahoma Watch

The Coronavirus Storytelling Project brings together journalists from all over Oklahoma who are telling stories about how people are meeting challenges and obstacles of the pandemic.

  • Grant amount: A one-time $500 stipend
  • Deadline: Midnight CDT each Saturday 
  • Eligibility: Journalists must produce a first-person narrative or data driven written piece or a multi-media (podcast, video or photo package) product about the challenges other journalists face during the pandemic or issues related to the state of Oklahoma

New Mexico Local News Fund

The New Mexico Local News Fund has created an emergency grant to help journalists of New Mexico with child care, purchasing equipment to work from home, food costs or other costs imposed by the pandemic. 

  • Grant amounts: Capped at $750 
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility: Intended for those who identify journalism as their primary source of income 

Chicago Headline Club

The Chicago Headline Club is supplying grants for professional costs during the pandemic including job search and work-from-home tool expenses

  • Grant amount: $500
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility: Chicago-area journalists who are unemployed or under-employed and struggling financially during the pandemic 

PINF

The Public Interest News Foundation launched the PINF Emergency Fund to support independent publishers throughout the UK during the pandemic. 

  • Grant Amount: Maximum of £3,000 per newsroom
  • Deadline: June 2
  • Eligibility: To qualify, newsrooms must have an annual turnover below £2m and are suffering financially as a result of COVID-19

Investigative Journalism for Europe

The Investigative Support Scheme from IJ4EU provides support to new or existing cross-border investigative projects in Europe. 

  • Grant amount: Maximum €50,000 per project
  • Deadline: June 14
  • Eligibility: Organizations must:
  • Be based in at least two EU member states or at least one EU member state and one official EU candidate country
  • Propose a project focused on a cross-border related topic
  • Propose a new project, a recently started project, or a new phase of an existing project

Civitates

Civitates’ fund for Independent Public Service Journalism is calling for project proposals that appeal to the public interest and defend democracy. 

  • Grant amount: Organizations with an annual budget of €100,000 can apply for up to 50% of their annual budget while those with an annual budget of €200,000 and above can apply for up to 40% of their annual budget.
  • Deadline: June 30
  • Eligibility: Newsrooms are eligible if they are independent, non-profit and registered in a European country

Programs with deadlines that have passed:

Community Listening and Engagement Fund

The CLEF COVID-19 Response Fund will provide subsidies for local newsrooms to use Hearken, GroundSource, The Listening Post Collective, Coral by Vox, or DocumentCloud/MuckRock to support COVID-19 coverage. Learn more and apply here

  • Grant amount: Subsidies vary by the chosen tool and service. 
  • Deadline: April 27 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
  • Eligibility: Open to U.S.-based non-profit and for-profit newsrooms that are already committed to community engagement and are looking to advance their work in response to COVID-19.

Facebook Journalism Project

The Facebook Journalism Project, in partnership with The Lenfest Institute and other industry groups, has launched the FJP COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program to ensure that local news organizations can continue to serve their communities. View the application here. 

  • Grant amount: Range from $25,000-$100,000
  • Deadline: Applications are due April 24.
  • Eligibility: Publishers must be: 
    • Based in the United States
    • Actively covering COVID-19
    • Serving a defined geographic area

The European Journalism Centre

With support from the Facebook Journalism Project, the European Journalism Fund aims to support local and community news organizations who serve the most affected communities across europe. The fund is split into three tracks to serve engagement, business and technological needs.

  • Grant amount: Each track provides grants between €5,000 and €50,000
  • Deadline: April 24, 9 a.m. CEST
  • Eligibility: Newsrooms or journalists who are based in Europe and are covering COVID-19 to serve local, hyper local, or regional communities can apply. Newsrooms can be non-profit or for profit. 

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub 

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub’s coronavirus challenge grant seeks projects that incorporate technology to mitigate effects of coronavirus on a community. Learn more here

  • Grant amount: Up to $15,000
  • Deadline: March 30
  • Eligibility requirements: 
    • Demonstrate significant professional experience with technology
    • Show that they have experience solving complex problems at the intersection of policy and technology
    • Have a concrete idea for how to solve a problem related to the effects of COVID-19

Substack

The newsletter platform Substack is awarding $100,000 in grants to writers experiencing economic strain due to coronavirus. Learn more here.

  • Grant amount: Range from $500 to $5,000, plus mentorship from the Substack team.
  • Deadline: April 7
  • Eligibility: Independent writers experiencing loss of income due to coronavirus.

Chicago COVID-19 Journalism Support Fund

A coalition of funders in Chicago created the Fund to enable expanded coverage on the impact of coronavirus on Chicago-area communities. Full details here.

  • Grant amount: Up to $10,000 for a six-month grant term.
  • Deadline: April 15, 2020
  • Eligibility: Open to for-profit and non-profit news organizations in the Chicago area with budgets of $2 million or less. Full requirements here.

Google News Initiative Journalism Emergency Relief Fund

The Journalism Emergency Relief Fund is designed to provide aid to small, medium, and local news organizations around the world. More details and application here.

  • Grant amount: Grants will range from “the low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.”
  • Deadline: Applications are due April 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
  • Eligibility: Small and medium-sized news organizations producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis. Full eligibility requirements here.

The Africa-China Reporting Project 

The Africa-China Reporting Project from Wits Journalism is taking applications for public health journalism project proposals on how Africa is responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Learn more here

  • Grant amount: $1,500
  • Deadline: April 30
  • Eligibility requirements: Open to all journalists who present Africa-focused initiatives.

Tools 

  • Hearken has launched emergency engagement resources for newsrooms covering coronavirus. Consulting calls will be held March 26, April 2, April 9, April 23, May 7 and May 21. 
  • Google is offering free access to its advanced Hangouts video conferencing tools for some G Suite clients until July 1.
  • Hootsuite is giving free access to professional plans for small businesses and non-profits until July 1
  • Mailchimp is offering free standard Mailchimp accounts for public service organizations sending public health information through June 30
  • Surveymonkey is offering its tools at a discounted yearly rate for non-profits 
  • NewsGuard, the platform that assesses the accuracy and trustworthiness of news sources, is offering its services for free until July 1, keeping users from misleading news while they try to stay informed.

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