Fund for Environmental Journalism Proposal Guidelines

Fund for Environmental Journalism


Proposal Guidelines and Application


Journalism Projects Covering:

  • Clean Energy Transition in the U.S.


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Who May Apply for a Grant?
How Do I Apply?
Budget Guidelines
What Are Judges Looking for When Choosing Grantees?
If Successful, When Will I Be Notified?


DEADLINE: January 8, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET



All applicants whose professional work meets SEJ's membership eligibility requirements.

Eligible with no fee:

  • SEJ members in good standing may apply with no fee.
  • Members of diversity journalism associations (e.g., Asian American Journalists Association, Indigenous Journalists Association, Military Veterans in Journalism, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, NLGJA/Association of LGBTQ Journalists, South Asian Journalists Association, Trans Journalists Association, The Uproot Project). Email with proof of membership to receive a coupon code that you can use to waive the FEJ application fee.

Eligible with $40 fee:

Not eligible:

  • Your paid work involves lobbying, media relations or public relations on environment-related issues.
  • You are a current member of the SEJ staff or board of directors; or your staff or board service ended after December 31, 2022.
  • You have an open grant from any previous year, i.e., you have not submitted your final narrative and financial report for a prior FEJ grant.



Read these important terms:

  • Only one application per individual or outlet is allowed.
  • 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 $5000. Stipends are limited to $2500 per individual.* Please apply for the minimum budget required for success of the project. Partial funding may be offered.   
  • Story must be completed one year from award. 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 the clean energy transition in the United States. Story proposals on electrification in local communities are encouraged, as well as those that reflect diverse and inclusive perspectives.

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 $5000 maximum
  • 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

Be prepared to choose one of the following:

"I am applying on my own behalf. If the grant is awarded to me, I will sign the grant agreement, receive and manage the funds, handle any required taxes or tax reporting, file the final financial report, and return any funds if unspent or the project is not delivered."
"I am applying on behalf of a news organization. If the grant is awarded to my news organization, a responsible party at the news organization will sign the grant agreement, receive and manage the funds, handle any required taxes or tax reporting, file the final financial report, and return any funds if unspent or the project is not delivered."



Use our budget template. 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:

  • Stipends of up to $2500 per person*
  • Document access fees or FOIA filing costs
  • Professional fees for production, editing, fact-checking, translation, graphic design, data visualization or story-specific website development
  • Travel within the United States, as allowed under current government restrictions. Note: Any proposals that include travel funding must include an explanation of how the applicant will both (1) comply with current government travel restrictions and public health best practices and (2) ensure that the project can be completed within one year of grant award. Projects that are dependent on travel across national borders are discouraged, and will require additional justification or explanation.
  • Equipment and supplies expenses under $500

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 assignment fees paid by media outlets and are mainly intended to support freelance journalists. Staff directly employed (e.g., W2 staff) by 501c3 news outlets are also eligible for the stipend. Stipends for W2 staff will be paid to the media outlet and can be reassigned to other staff only with advance approval from SEJ. Any services performed under a contract should be listed in the Contract section of the budget.



  • 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.



Selected grantees will be notified in January 2024.


(After payment, you'll be redirected to the FEJ application form.)



Questions? Contact

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