SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism invests in top quality public service journalism on environment-related issues, and the journalists who produce it. FEJ grants support development and dissemination of significant coverage that otherwise could not be completed. The selection jury looks for news value, undiscovered or under-reported news, a fresh take on a familiar story, and potential for community impact.
Applications are no longer being accepted for Winter 2015 - 2016 grants from SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism. Names of winners in the current round, and information on new opportunities in 2016, will be posted in late January.
Future applicants: Please note, coverage topic categories may be eliminated or otherwise change for 2016 - 2017, pending news on grants to SEJ that make this program possible.
In 2015, SEJ had funding for story projects in three categories: 1) open topic, including international; 2) coverage of land-use issues of North America; and 3) coverage of biodiversity conservation and climate-change impacts in North America. Freelance independent journalists were invited to include a stipend in the proposed budget. (See guidelines.)
Past rounds of grants from SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism have been underwritten by the Cornell Douglas Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Energy Foundation, Grantham Foundation, Wyss Foundation and individual members and friends of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Your gift makes a difference! Please support FEJ 2016 - 2017 grants by making a donation  today. Thanks.
SEJ celebrates past grantees! Please enjoy descriptions of winning projects and links to completed work:
2015: Summer 
2015 GUIDELINES FOR APPLICANTS
NOTE: These guidelines will be updated in February 2016
WHO MAY APPLY FOR A GRANT?
Journalists working independently or on the staff of either a for-profit or non-profit news organization worldwide may apply for a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism. SEJ membership is not required, but all applicants must meet eligibility requirements for SEJ membership. Membership disqualifiers include paid employment in public relations, media relations, or lobbying on environment-related issues. If you're not sure, please review SEJ's membership eligibility requirements .
Applicants are limited to one grant per 2-year period and two grants per 5-year period. There is no lifetime cap on the number of grants a journalist may receive. (There is a one-year blackout period for applicants having served on the FEJ jury.)
HOW ARE FUNDS TO BE USED?
Journalists may request up to $5,000 to produce and disseminate environmental coverage. In the 2015-16 cycles, one portion of the total grant fund available will be available for story projects on any topic, including international topics; another substantial portion of funding is earmarked for coverage of land-use issues of North America; and a third portion is earmarked for coverage of biodiversity conservation and climate-change impacts in North America. North America is defined as United States, Canada and Mexico.
Examples of eligible expenses include travel costs; document-access fees; costs related to environmental testing; and fees for professional services such as graphic design, website development, and legal and translation services.
In addition, proposals submitted by freelance independent journalists may make the case for up to $2,000 of an FEJ grant (using a nominal $25/hour) to be allocated to their reporting time. Such stipends are intended to supplement rather than replace standard fees normally paid by media outlets distributing the work. Journalists on staff at media outlets are not eligible to receive stipend payments from FEJ grants.
Project expenses NOT eligible for funding include equipment purchase or maintenance, and indirect expenses such as office rent or utilities. Funds may not be used to reimburse past expenses on a project; only expenses that would be incurred after receipt of a grant check (approximately 60 days after the respective application deadline) will be considered.
All application materials must be in English as the SEJ program does not have translation resources.
Applications must be submitted using the SEJ website portal; applications are not accepted via email, fax or mail.
Important: the proposal narrative must be a maximum of 1,200 words or it will not be reviewed. (Note: the 1,200 words does not include other proposal documents such as the budget, letters of commitment and applicant resumes, all of which should be kept under 2 pages each.)
Applicants are encouraged to apply for minimum budget required for success of the project. Partial funding may be offered. Please submit a full project budget including other sources of funds, making clear which expenses are proposed for FEJ support. State whether or not the project would proceed without FEJ funds. Provide detail, such as airfare based on search date, lab-test price quote, etc. For each personnel line item, including professional services and/or stipend requests (freelance, independent journalists only), you must include a name, number of hours and hourly rate (max $25 up to $2,000 for reporting stipends).
Applicants based outside of North America must give consideration to how they will pay the application fee and receive grant funds. No more than $100 of a grant may be spent on accessing the funds.
Grantees will be selected based on criteria that include the following:
- 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?
- If the story topic is broad or familiar, does the project make an original and leadership contribution to the field of environmental journalism?
- How strong is the publication/dissemination plan for the completed work? Who is the potential audience? What is its potential number?
- How strong is the applicant’s case that the 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? Applicants should have the same professional profile as members of the Society of Environmental Journalists. If you are unsure, please read the SEJ membership guidelines .
2015 APPLICATION DEADLINES: Note: FEJ deadlines may change in 2016
Summer Cycle: apply by July 15; applications are accepted starting May 15 and winners are announced mid-September.
Winter Cycle: apply by November 15; applications are accepted starting September 15 and winners are announced mid-January.
SEJ Members: Fee waived
Non-members: $40 (If you apply and are approved for SEJ membership during the grant application review period, you may apply the fee to first-year membership which is also $40. Please note that this is a completely separate application from the grant application.)
APPLICATION FORMS AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION
2015 application deadlines: July 15 and November 15, midnight local time. Applications are accepted starting 60 days before the respective deadline.
Application form for SEJ members.  If you are not a member of SEJ at the time of your proposal submission, even if you have submitted a member application, please use the non-member application form .
In addition to the application form, applicants must upload four documents:
- Proposal narrative - doublespaced type, maximum 1,200 words including timeline and dissemination plan
- Budget - maximum two pages. See important budget notes under "Additional Guidelines, above."
- Resume/CV - maximum two pages
- At least one letter of commitment, or at least interest, from a publisher, broadcast organization or news site manager. Failure to include this or to explain its absence will compromise the competitiveness of the proposal.
Applicants may provide additional documents and links that they feel will strengthen their case for funding.
Please note: Applications not conforming to guidelines cannot be considered for funding.
Thanks to current generous supporters of the Fund for Environmental Journalism
Foundation support 2015-16:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Grantham Foundation for Protection of the Environment
and The Wyss Foundation
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Please give to the Fund for Environmental Journalism
If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists produce rich and rigorously investigated work,
please make a gift on SEJ's secure website .
* Project funding from SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism is made possible by grants and gifts from foundations and individuals. Donor requirements may limit and define grant opportunities by topic or geography, so check guidelines regularly. It is anticipated that very limited grant funds will be available for open-topic international projects in 2016.