Fund for Women Journalists: Applicant FAQs

What types of projects and opportunities will be supported by the fund?

Applicants may apply for one of two different types of funding: reporting projects or professional development opportunities.

The Fund for Women Journalists will prioritize reporting projects pitched around underreported stories of global importance. 

Reporting projects include journalistic work in any media format, including but not limited to print, digital, broadcast, audio, video, photography and new media.

Professional development opportunities can include security training, conferences, workshops and media development initiatives such as technical skills-building training.

We encourage applicants to consider a one-year timeline or less for completion and publication of their project. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. All applications must include a detailed budget and timeline. 

For reporting projects, we strongly recommend that you apply with a commitment from a news outlet (including a letter of interest from an editor) or a detailed pitching/distribution plan. Please note that the IWMF is unable to work with news outlets (such as the BBC) that do not honor the program’s crediting requirements.

The IWMF is not able to fund all the excellent submissions we receive. The average grant size for the FWJ, from 2021 to 2022, was $6,000 USD. At this time, we are unable to accommodate large grant requests of more than $10,000. 

The FWJ will not award grants to cover tuition expenses for undergraduate or graduate degree programs or to cover the purchase of equipment.

Who is eligible to apply for grants through the fund?

  • Freelance and staff journalists of any nationality may apply.
  • Applications must be submitted in English or Spanish, but reporting may be published in any language.
  • The IWMF accepts applications from individual women and nonbinary journalists and from teams of journalists.
  • FOR TEAMS: Teams may include journalists of any gender; however, the submission must be from a woman or nonbinary journalist, and the team must include at least 50% women or nonbinary journalists.
    • Note: The IWMF believes that gender does not conform to one notion. We are inclusive of all women, nonbinary and gender nonconforming journalists.
  • Journalism must be the applicant’s primary profession.
  • Applicants must have at least one year of professional journalism experience, with a track record of publishing in non-student outlets.

How much money will be given away each year?

Approximately $230,000 will be disbursed each year. Grant sizes will depend on the proposal and the inclusion of a detailed budget.

How often will you distribute grants?

Starting from January 2020, the Fund for Women Journalists will accept applications on a rolling basis; applications take approximately 4-6 weeks from the submission to process. Please keep this in mind as you design your project timeline. Only in rare circumstances are we able to expedite the grant review process for time-sensitive stories.

When should I apply?

We recommend applying at least two months before any planned reporting trips or events/programs you are proposing to attend. We generally do not reimburse or cover expenses already incurred, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Can I include a personal stipend as part of my budget?

Yes, you can include personal stipends for the project’s team members in your budget.

What can I include in the budget?

The budget should include all your hard reporting expenses – such as airfare, lodging and photography – as well as a personal stipend if you are a freelance journalist. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of what can be included in your budget:

  • Stipend for freelance reporter
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Photography
  • Interpreters and translators
  • Fees for public document requests
  • Local producers
  • Video/audio editing
  • Transcription
  • Travel insurance
  • Licensing fees
  • Bank transfer fees
  • PPE (e.g., masks, gloves)
  • COVID-19 tests

We do not fund the following expenses:

  • Tuition or living expenses for undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking programs
  • Professional development opportunities not related to journalism
  • Equipment for rental or purchase (e.g., computers, cameras, microphones, hard drives, software)
  • Payment for sources
  • “Miscellaneous” or “emergency” line items
  • General operating expenses for organizations
  • Expenses already incurred

Does the Fund for Women Journalists provide editorial help or mentorship opportunities?

No. The Fund for Women Journalists does not provide media contacts or feedback on publications, the reporting process or story drafts. We recommend looking into IWMF reporting fellowships if you are seeking a more hands-on experience.

How does the selection process work?

The Fund for Women Journalists operates on a rolling calendar, and there is usually one selection cycle every month. We often receive 50-100+ applications per month, and we are not able to fund all the great proposals we receive. In 2021, the acceptance rate for grant proposals was 12.6%.

Applicants will generally hear back within 4 to 6 weeks of applying. The IWMF first reviews all applications for eligibility and sends the top applications to the selection committee. The committee will then select the strongest proposals – usually 3 to 5 – for an interview, and the IWMF reaches out to the applicant to schedule a Zoom interview.

The interviews are intended for us to learn more about your proposal and professional experience and address any questions raised by the committee. There will be no “gotcha” questions. Keep in mind the meeting will be recorded for the selection committee to watch later.

After the interviews have been completed, the selection committee will reconvene to select the grantees based on the strength of the project and the available budget. We are unable to provide individual feedback on applications not selected.

My application has been accepted. What next?

Congratulations! Once we send an acceptance, we will ask you to return a signed agreement (which includes crediting and publicity requirements), banking and tax information, and a headshot and professional biography for the website. We will also schedule a short Zoom orientation for you.

The grant agreement will be created using the timeline you provided in your application. Generally, we ask that projects be completed within 1 year of application approval, and this end date will be reflected in the agreement. If you anticipate or experience any delays, please keep in touch with your grant manager.

Please note that the IWMF is unable to work with news outlets (such as the BBC) that do not honor the program’s crediting requirements.

My application was not accepted. Can I receive feedback?

Due to the high number of applications that we receive every month (often between 50 and 100+), we cannot provide individual feedback to applicants.

I received a grant from the IWMF in the past. Can I apply again?

Yes, you may re-apply to the Fund for Women Journalists or any other IWMF grant programs, provided that you do not have a grant currently pending with us. Please keep in mind that we receive many applications and often must prioritize journalists who have not received these opportunities before.

How can I learn more about the fund?

For more information about the Fund, please continue to visit the IWMF website, where you can sign up to receive updates about the Fund. You can also follow us through social media platforms. If you have specific questions about the Fund, please email the associate program manager Taylor Moore at tmoore@iwmf.org.

Apply to the Fund for Women Journalists here.