Fund for Environmental Journalism Program Guidelines

Once you have reviewed the General Guidelines for Applicants to determine the eligibility of your project as well as your own eligibility as an applicant, you may submit a proposal for funding for work that would be completed in the year following a grant award, also known as the grant period. (Grants are awarded approximately 60 days from the application deadline).

At this point in time, only online applications in English are being accepted.
International applicants must give advance consideration to how they expect to pay the application fee and receive grant funds.  SEJ cannot waive fees or arrange international wire transfers, and no more than 10% of a grant may be spent on the delivery of funds.

PLEASE NOTE>> The following guidelines and forms provide information as applied to past competitive rounds of the Fund for Environmental Journalism. Updated forms and instructions will be posted here in May 2015, applicable to 2015-2016 rounds.

Submission Process

1)  You will be asked to complete an application through the SEJ website using one of the following links:

SEJ Member Grant Application Form (free for SEJ members)

Non-Member Grant Application Form ($40 application fee)

You do not have to be a member to apply for a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism. If you do apply and are approved for membership (requires separate application), the grant application fee may be applied to your membership whether or not you receive a grant. The cost of SEJ membership is $40 for the first year. However, if you are not already an approved member of SEJ at the time of application, please use the Non-Member Grant Application Form.

2)  In addition to your application form, you must provide a case for support in three core documents:

  • A proposal: In narrative form, the proposal must include a project description including a reporting plan, timeline and fundraising plan; your dissemination plan including commentary on the size of the targeted media market; and the roles and qualifications of the team;
  • A budget showing a potential FEJ grant in the context of ALL projected income and expenses for the ENTIRE project, including the status of other grants pending, if applicable;
  • Project leader(s)' resume(s).

Letters of support, work samples, and other team members' resumes may be submitted as "additional documentation," but keep in mind that these may not be reviewed unless a proposal has reached semi-finalist status.


Criteria for Selection

Environmental journalism projects will be selected for FEJ funding with attention to the following questions:

· What is the news value of the project or venture including its topic and the importance of that topic to the community the work will inform?

· Does the project make an original, leadership-quality contribution to the field of environmental journalism?

· How strong is the publication/dissemination plan for the completed work? Please note that the distribution prospects, especially firm commitments for airing or publishing funded work, and the size and type of the target audience, are heavily weighted in the review process.

· How strong is the applicant’s case that their work will be significantly enabled and improved through support from the FEJ?

· How strong is the connection between the proposed expense (i.e., travel plan, training plan, consulting expense) and the quality or quantity of eventual environmental journalism outputs?

· What are the qualifications and track record of the applicant?

Additional criteria include: how far along the project is; the scope of the project relative to the budget requested and available; whether FEJ would be the sole funder; and the potential reach of the finished project.


Program Management and Policies

SEJ will consider requests for funding of up to $3,500 for authorized expenses of environmental journalism projects and entrepreneurial ventures. SEJ headquarters staff will support the project in managing the online submissions system, gathering support materials, managing the judging process, notifying applicants of decisions, creating and co-signing agreements with winners, maintaining confidentiality policies with all SEJ personnel, and following up with winners on reporting requirements at the proper time.

In disbursing funds to winning applicants SEJ will not take on the relationship of employer or project supervisor. SEJ will not retain rights to published works or expect royalties. However, awarding of FEJ grants is conditional upon SEJ being granted permission to electronically link to, or re-publish work supported in part by the FEJ. Winning applicants and/or the publisher/rights-holder must co-sign a letter of understanding with SEJ on these and other legal points and agree to provide a brief report on use of the funds upon completion of the project or within 12 months of receipt of the grant, whichever is sooner. Winners also must be prepared to document the use of funds with paid invoices and sales receipts reflecting authorized categories of expense.

All SEJ personnel involved with this program will maintain strict confidentiality with regard to the content of all submissions. Unless written permission is provided by a grantee, public announcements about winning entries will be limited to the names of the winners and amounts awarded until the project is completed and published.


FEJ Program Funding Notes

SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism was launched in 2010 with a board of directors decision and allocation from the organization's  general operating budget in 2010. Scope of the program has grown since then through foundation grants and donations from individual supporters.  The Society of Environmental Journalists continues to solicit individual gifts and foundation grants in support of competitive rounds and special journalism project opportunities.  Supporters of SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism in 2015 include the Grantham Foundation, the Wyss Foundation and individual donors to SEJ.