Fund for Environmental Journalism
2020 RAPID RESPONSE GRANTS
Proposal Guidelines and Application
Journalism Projects Covering:
- Climate, conservation or environmental health in North America
- Water quality and availability in the United States
- Mississippi River Basin, including agriculture, food, water and sustainability
- Oceans and coasts globally, including fisheries, sea-level rise and coastal restoration
WHO MAY APPLY FOR A GRANT?
Eligible with no fee:
- SEJ members in good standing may apply with no fee.
- Members of diversity journalism associations (e.g., National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, Asian American Journalists Association, South Asian Journalists Association, NLGJA/Association of LGBTQ Journalists). Email firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of membership to receive a coupon code that you can use to waive the FEJ application fee.
Eligible with $40 fee:
- Non-members whose professional work meets SEJ's membership eligibility requirements.
- If you apply and are approved for SEJ membership, your entry fee will cover your first-year membership dues. Apply for SEJ membership.
- Your paid work involves lobbying, media relations or public relations on environment-related issues.
- You received an FEJ grant in 2019 or 2020.
- You are a current member of the SEJ staff or board of directors; or your staff or board service ended after April 1, 2019.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Read these important terms:
- Only one application per person will be accepted.
- Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.
- All application materials must be in English and must be submitted via the Submission Form; we cannot accept applications via mail, email or fax.
- The total amount requested cannot exceed $2500 per individual or $5000 for team or outlet applications. Please apply for the minimum budget required for success of the project. Partial funding may be offered.
- Grantees agree to report on use of funds within a year of grant payment and to return any unspent funds.
- SEJ issues FEJ grants in U.S. dollars via bank checks or EFT. If a wire transfer is required, fees will be deducted from the grant amount.
- Stories must cover climate, conservation and/or environmental health in North America.
Gather the following information for your submission (you'll be redirected to the Submission Form after payment):
- Contact information
- Project title
- Brief summary of topic
- Publication/distribution plan
- Expected date of project completion
- Impact measurement plan
- Total amount requested, up to $2500 maximum per individual or $5000 for team/outlet grant
- Budget breakdown (stipend, contractors, other): Use our template
- A résumé of qualifications: Include links to past work (two pages maximum)
- Letter(s) of support or commitment from editor(s) or producer(s) to publish or broadcast finished work or an explanation for omission
Use our budget template: https://bit.ly/2VTkMUR. Please download the file, fill it out, and save as either a PDF, CSV or Excel file. If you do not have Excel, many other programs include the option to export as a PDF, CSV or Excel file.
Eligible expenses include:
- Individual: a stipend of up to $2000
- Team projects or news outlet projects: stipends of up to $4000
- Document access fees or FOIA filing costs
- Professional fees for production, editing, fact-checking, translation, graphic design, data visualization or story-specific website development
- Local travel, but only if allowed under current government restrictions
Ineligible expenses include:
- Equipment purchase or maintenance and indirect expenses (rent, utilities, phone)
- Any costs incurred before the FEJ agreement is signed and returned to SEJ
- Costs of any travel that violates government restrictions or public health best practices
Notes on Stipend: Stipends are intended to supplement rather than replace salaries or assignment fees paid by media outlets. If you are currently directly employed by a news outlet as a member of their staff (e.g., W2 staff), please include a brief rationale for why you need the stipend. For example, you've been furloughed and do not expect to return to regular employment within the next few months; your hours have been permanently or temporarily reduced; or your position is funded by grants or donations and your outlet is experiencing a decline in grants or donations.
WHAT ARE JUDGES LOOKING FOR WHEN CHOOSING GRANTEES?
- What is the news value of the project? Is it timely? Is it on an undercovered topic, or if the topic is broad or familiar, does the project make an original contribution?
- Focus on what makes it new or original and timely, or how it would advance a story that's already gotten coverage. Provide a brief summary of how you are going to report the story.
- What is the likelihood of successful completion within the timeframe?
- Tell us how you will pitch the story, and include a letter of commitment or support from editors expressing interest in publishing/broadcasting your work.
- For team or outlet projects, explain how work will be coordinated between individuals and how funds will be managed.
- What is the potential audience and will the story have impact?
- Describe how you will measure the impact of your story: Will you be able to collect and share readership data? How will you reach influential audiences?
- How appropriate is your budget?
- For salaried staff or outlet projects, explain why stipends are needed.
- For less routine expenses like translation, design or documents, include the name of the service provider and rate, if possible.
- What are the qualifications and track record of the applicant?
- Applicants must be members of SEJ in good standing or qualified for SEJ membership.
- Be sure your résumé includes links to recent work that exemplifies your approach to this project.
FEJ PAYMENT FORM
(After payment, you'll be redirected to the FEJ application form.)