Research Funding Opportunities
Following is a synopsis of possible funding sources for research and creative projects in communications. It is a starting point for those looking for help in finding funding sources outside and within the University. This is not an exhaustive list but offers resources that are likely to be recurring.
The information given is edited copy from Web sites and is intended to offer a quick picture of what types of funding various foundations might offer. For more extensive information and to check for any updates, please visit the individual Web sites. (Note the last date it was revised, above.) Keep in mind that most foundations change their funding priorities every few years or after big events such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina.
This page is a work in progress. We will strive to update resources when new information is available, and your input toward that end is welcome. If you are aware of funding sources not listed, have other suggestions for improving this resource or happen upon broken links, please contact the ICR at 217-333-1549.
Since 1881, the American Association of University Women has been the nation's leading voice promoting education and equity for women and girls. One of the world's largest sources of funding exclusively for graduate women, the AAUW Educational Foundation supports aspiring scholars around the globe, teachers and activists in local communities, women at critical stages of their careers and those pursuing professions where women are underrepresented. Its fellowships and grants include:
American Fellowships support women doctoral candidates completing dissertations and scholars seeking funds for postdoctoral research leave or for preparing completed research for publication. Applicants must be U.S citizens or permanent residents. One-year postdoctoral research leave fellowships, dissertation fellowships, and summer/short-term research publication grants are offered.
International Fellowships are awarded for fulltime graduate or postgraduate study or research to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Supplemental grants support community-based projects in the fellow's home country.
American Council of Learned Societies
633 Third Ave., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10017-6795
The American Council of Learned Societies is a private nonprofit federation of 68 national scholarly organizations. Its mission is the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies. Some of its many fellowship and grant programs include:
The ACLS fellowships are intended as salary replacement to help scholars who already have a Ph.D. devote six to 12 continuous months to fulltime research and writing. An ACLS fellowship may be held concurrently with other fellowships and grants and any sabbatical pay, up to an amount equal to the candidate's current academic year salary.
The Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships support advanced assistant professors and untenured associate professors in the humanities and related social sciences whose scholarly contributions have advanced their fields and who have well designed and carefully developed plans for new research. The fellowships are intended to provide time and resources to enable these faculty members to conduct their research under optimal conditions.
The Arca Foundation is dedicated to the pursuit of social equity and justice, particularly given the growing disparities in our world. Moreover, it has been said before but bears repeating that a vibrant democracy requires speaking Truth to Power. In pursuit of these principles, the foundation has adopted experimental, strategic and innovative approaches that give voice to the unheard and raise unasked questions. While the foundation's specific program focus may change from time to time, it achieves its fundamental purpose by supporting efforts that can affect public policy.
Beginning in 2005, the Arca Foundation will support a new strategic focus on media and democracy, which we anticipate will comprise one-third of our grantmaking for the next three to five years. It will continue to fund both policy and content projects, those that fit within a coordinated strategic plan, projects that create and distribute alternative content and projects that influence the content and approach of mainstream media.
Proposal deadlines are March 1 and September 1.
Carnegie Corporation of New York
437 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10022
Since 1999, the Carnegie Scholars Program has been supporting individual scholars to conduct research that extends the boundaries of its grantmaking priorities. For the next few years, the scholars program will focus on supporting scholars whose research relates to intellectual and policy developments in Islam and Muslim communities. Individuals must be nominated by an invited nominator to be considered.
The overarching goal of the Strengthening U.S. Democracy (SUSD) Program is to increase civic participation in the United States. Activities address both the structural and attitudinal barriers to full civic/electoral participation and also help to renew the nonprofit sector, which is vital to the social, economic and political welfare of the nation. The program focuses on two segments of the population crucial to the future of our democracy, yet not generally engaged: young people and immigrants.
The site's Grantseeker Quiz helps you determine whether your proposal would be a match for funding from Carnegie.
The Education Initiative seeks to improve the quality of preschool, elementary and secondary education in ways that enhance opportunities and achievement for all children. The goals of this initiative are twofold. First and foremost, the initiative supports the development of high-performing schools and professional collegial networks of schools focused on rigorous academic instruction for all students. Special priority is given to efforts designed to close the achievement gap experienced by children in under-performing schools. Second, the initiative also will support efforts to expand meaningful options for high-quality education and enhanced opportunities to learn. A primary intent of the Trust's Education Initiative is to fund high-impact, focused efforts that inform and are informed by research. Downloadable forms and documents for grant seekers are available.
Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
210 Park Ave., Suite 3150
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation supports local and national efforts to improve the quality of journalism practices among various media. The foundation currently provides funding for projects that promote excellence and instill high ethical standards in journalism.
Letter of inquiry deadlines are April 15 or October 15.
The Ford Foundation
320 E. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10017
The Ford Foundation includes goals to: "strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement." See the grant application information.
For newspapers to reflect their communities, newsroom staffs and the stories they cover should closely mirror the diversity of the population in the newspapers' circulation areas. The Freedom Forum is charting an aggressive course to identify, recruit and train people of color for journalism careers.
The Funding Exchange is a network of social justice foundations throughout the United States with a national office in New York City, committed to change, not charity. The Media Justice Fund supports local and national efforts to organize around media reform policies, open access to technology and accountability by media corporations. The Media Justice Fund promotes projects that manifest strong collaborations between social justice and media justice activists and their agendas. In addition to wireless projects, the Funding Exchange also is involved in the following projects:
The OUT Fund, which supports radical organizing projects working to fight injustice, end oppression and build community among lesbians, gay men, Two Spirit, bisexuals, trans, queer, questioning and intersex people.
The Saguaro Fund, which supports organizing projects that primarily serve and are led by communities of color. Saguaro Fund priorities include leadership development, networking, alliance-building and multi-issue organizing that makes connections across divisions.
The Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, which supports media activism and grassroots organizing by funding the pre-production and distribution of social issue film and video projects, and the production and distribution of radio projects.
A key role of the Gannett Foundation is investing in the future of our industry. The Gannett Foundation supports several journalism education and training programs each year. Its media funding mission is to support media education, technological advances in the industry and the study of journalism, with particular attention to the First Amendment and its responsibilities. The foundation particularly favors programs or projects that benefit the communities in which Gannett does business and that seek to encourage diversity in our newsrooms and in our coverage. Its priorities are encouraging young people to enter the field of journalism and supporting innovative training approaches for mid-career journalists.
To apply for a media grant, please send a letter of inquiry describing the program for which you seek funds, a one-page outline of costs and any other funding sources, committed and applied for. Send it by e-mail to the foundation's manager, Irma Simpson, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail. You will be contacted to discuss further and to determine whether a full proposal is to be submitted.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a nonpartisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between the United States and Europe.
The German Marshall Fund's journalism program was established in 1999 to promote interest in and understanding of European issues in the U.S. media and among the American public at large. The program initially aimed at widening the corps of American journalists reporting on Europe, as well as keeping those with European experience up to date on events, ideas and policy questions relevant to the Euro-Atlantic community. Today the program works to promote coverage of transatlantic issues by both American and European journalists and to encourage an open and spirited exchange between media professionals on both sides of the Atlantic. By providing financial support to journalists in this way, GMF hopes to contribute to better reporting on both sides of the Atlantic and to allow stories to be told that might not otherwise be covered.
The Glaser Progress Foundation
P.O. Box 91123
Seattle, WA 98111
The program's mission is to strengthen democracy by making independent voices heard. In his book, "The Media Monopoly," Ben Bagdikian writes, "The object of reform is not to silence voices but to multiply them, not to foreclose ideas but to awaken them." Without a strong and diverse community of independent voices, we cannot build a global democracy, much less protect our own. The goal of independent media is not to comfort or sell but to inspire and mobilize. It currently serves what Howard Zinn calls the "unreported resistance," the "permanent adversarial culture," but its real ambition is to give voice to the world's silent majority.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
2121 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
The Hewlett Foundation makes grants to address the most serious social and environmental problems facing society, where risk capital, responsibly invested, may make a difference over time. The foundation places a high value on sustaining and improving institutions that make positive contributions to society.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Wachovia Financial Center, Suite 3300
200 S. Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33131-2349
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation was established in 1950 as a private foundation independent of the Knight brothers' newspaper enterprises. It is dedicated to furthering their ideals of service to community, to the highest standards of journalistic excellence and to the defense of a free press. Its several programs include:
News in the Public Interest:
The foundation's News in the Public Interest grants engage in partnerships with others concerned with the maintenance and strengthening of journalism to serve the public interest. They encourage mainstream journalism to get tougher about keeping a critical eye on those in public and private power. They shore up nonprofit news systems, including on the community level. And they increase direct funding of journalism in the public interest.
What is news in the public interest? It is the news good citizens need to run their government and their lives. It includes 1) engaging local, state, national and international government news; 2) explanatory journalism about public policy trends; 3) investigative journalism about abuse of power in all levels of society; and 4) journalism about how and why the news media do what they do.
Electronic and New Media:
The foundation seeks to advance the best values of journalism through the rapidly developing electronic media, especially the World Wide Web. Goals are to gain influence on the lines of what is already done with print media, including but not limited to, existing programs; encourage quality journalism be practiced in all media, by firms and groups big and small; build the capacity and viability of organizations that work in the electronic and new media fields; and help seed and lead the development of new tools, products, approaches and learning to help quality news reach all audiences.
Press Freedom and Freedom of Information:
The foundation's goals are to protect and expand freedom of the press and freedom of information at home and abroad; increase coordination of existing global programs and increase impact with new media; and target swing countries. Most recently, recognizing a window of opportunity in Eastern Europe and other areas, the foundation has made grants to foster and protect the development of emerging free press institutions. These activities abroad have been and will continue to be the foundation's primary thrust in international philanthropy.
Education and Training:
Newsroom training and education has been expanding slowly this past decade. American journalists today feel ill-equipped to cover the complexities of the modern world. Eight out of 10 journalists said they want more professional development. Training heads their list of job-improvement needs. Journalism Initiatives, therefore, seeks to emphasize education for current and future journalists, increase the impact and number of journalists reached by existing programs, and encourage the news industry to increase its investment in training.
News and Newsroom Diversity:
The foundation seeks to increase news and newsroom diversity in the United States. It aims to have Knight journalism training programs reflect the populations they serve and national programs reflect the nation's demographics. Better tools are needed to map diversity, which includes race, gender, generation, class, geography and ideology. Beginning with its high school initiative, the foundation aims to expand the number of students of diverse backgrounds in the employment pipeline.
High School Journalism Program:
With $12 million in grants since 2000, the foundation's initiative has aimed to strengthen interest in journalism and the importance of the First Amendment among young Americans. It hopes to increase the number of students of color going into journalism, the number of student media outlets, the number of well-trained journalism teachers and the First Amendment and media literacy of students.
The foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. The foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, helps strengthen institutions, helps improve public policy and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media. Funding programs include:
Education: Grantmaking in education seeks to help improve student learning through better instruction, research, and a better understanding of the effect of technology on young people. Current efforts focus on improving schools in Chicago neighborhoods where other Foundation-funded community revitalization efforts are under way. Other grantmaking supports new work designed to explore how and to what effect young people use digital media — mobile phones, video games, computers and other devices — the possible implications for improving learning and education, and an exploration of how national policy, as currently reflected in the No Child Left Behind Act, affects individual student outcomes.
Intellectual Property and the Public Domain: Supports work in intellectual property and the long-term protection of public domain as part of its support for multiyear initiatives in changing areas of special interest. Grants support new models, policy analysis and public education designed to bring about balance between public and private interests concerning intellectual property rights in a digital era.
Public Radio: The foundation's support for public radio in the United States is designed to improve the diversity of viewpoints and high-quality content available on public radio. Funding is intended to maintain and strengthen its program-production infrastructure.
The Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation is a charitable grantmaking organization that supports work in journalism, communities, citizenship and education.
The foundation believes that nothing is more critical to the vitality of a democracy than a free, vigorous and diverse news media, providing citizens the information they need to make reasoned decisions. The foundation supports this goal by funding or conducting carefully selected programs in five priority areas: leadership, freedom of expression, diversity, U.S. military-media relations and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.
The NEH is an independent grantmaking agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities. Its many different grant programs include:
Fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research in the humanities that contributes to scholarly knowledge or to the general public's understanding of the humanities. Recipients usually produce scholarly articles, monographs on specialized subjects, books on broad topics, archaeological site reports, translations, editions or other scholarly tools. Fellowships support fulltime work on a humanities project for a period of six to 12 months. Applicants may be faculty or staff members of colleges, universities or primary or secondary schools, or they may be independent scholars or writers.
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230
The NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States. The foundation accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.
Open Society Institute
400 W. 59th St.
New York, NY 10019
Telephone: (212) 548-0600
The Open Society Institute (OSI) aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights and economic, legal and social reform. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health and independent media.
The Information Program promotes the equitable deployment of knowledge and communications resources — providing access to content, tools, and networks — for civic empowerment and effective democratic governance. The program focuses on seven areas: internet policy, technology support for civil society organizations and networks, Information Communication Technologies (ICT) Toolsets, library consortia for developing countries (EIFL), open access to research literature, intellectual property, citizen-government communication and translations.
The Media Program supports training aimed at current or future media professionals. This includes instruction in a variety of professional skills as well as indepth reporting on specialized areas (such as human rights, minorities, economics and finance, education, public health and elections).
Special focus areas in the media program include media self-regulation and accountability, assistance to media outlets, media association building, promotion of media freedom, journalism and media management training and media-related research.
The Pew Charitable Trust
One Commerce Square
2005 Market St., Suite 1700
Philadelphia, PA 19103-7077
The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by informing the public on key issues and trends, as a highly credible source of independent, nonpartisan research and polling information; by advancing policy solutions on important issues facing the American people; and by supporting the arts, heritage, health and well-being of our diverse citizenry and civic life.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project studies the social and civic impact of the Internet, arguably the most far-ranging, behavior-changing communications innovation in recent history. The project surveys not only what people think about the technology but also how they use it — for instance, to learn about health care, expand their educational and religious activities, engage in politics and build relationships with family and friends.
The practice of journalism:
Journalism is at a crossroads. Increasingly, the profession seems overwhelmed by the sheer size of the media, hidebound habits, infotainment, the quest for sensation and gossip, the imperatives of the stock market or a pursuit of ever-fragmenting audiences.
One way for journalism to regain its center is to reflect on what makes it unique — its basic purpose and core standards. Even in a new era, journalism has one responsibility other forms of communication and entertainment do not: to provide citizens with the information they need to navigate the society. That does not mean abandoning the entertaining or the profitable. But it does imply a commitment to fairness and completeness in offering information about democratic institutions and in organizing that information so that people can make smart decisions about their lives.
Scripps Howard Foundation
P.O. Box 5380
Cincinnati, OH 45201-5380
The Scripps Howard Foundation's mission is to advance the cause of a free press through support of excellence in journalism, quality journalism education and professional development.
Encouraging excellence in journalism is a particular focus of the Scripps Howard Foundation. Organizations receiving grants provide special services aimed at improving journalism in significant ways. The Journalism Fund makes grants in support of journalism education, First Amendment causes, mid-career development, research, readership development, consumer education on media issues, international free press, professional organizations, workforce development, quality journalism teaching, diversity, ethics and other media-related programs.
All requests must be submitted in writing. Send Journalism Fund requests to: Judith G. Clabes, president and CEO, email@example.com
The council leads innovation, builds interdisciplinary and international networks, and focuses research on important public issues. Independent and not-for-profit, the SSRC is guided by the belief that justice, prosperity and democracy all require better understanding of complex social, cultural, economic and political processes. Its key interests include democracy and the public sphere, global security and cooperation, international migration and knowledge institutions.
The Public Sphere Program:
A democratic society is defined not just by its elections but also by its public life — by the institutions and channels of communication that support the formulation of common goals and public accountability. Several SSRC programs address these issues in complementary ways:
The Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere Program strengthens connections between media research and media reform, bringing together academic, advocacy and policy communities in the United States and around the world. Its broader purpose is to ensure that debates about media ownership, broadband access, digital broadcasting, community media and other crucial infrastructures of public life are shaped by high-quality research and a rich understanding of the public interest.
The Culture, Creativity, and Information Technology Program seeks better understanding of the ways in which digital technologies are transforming the production, distribution and experience of culture — online and offline. Topics include the growth of network-mediated forms of cultural participation and of cultural institutions devoted to digital media.
The Intellectual Property, Markets, and Cultural Flows Program promotes stronger analysis of the growth of intellectual property rights as a tool for regulating cultural life and access to knowledge. It focuses on areas where the law and standard economic theories provide especially weak descriptions of actual cultural and social practice.
The National Research Commission on Elections and Voting Program brings scholarly research, knowledge and perspective to bear on efforts to improve the integrity of the American electoral process.
Activism and Citizenship Program focuses on new approaches to understanding various aspects of youth activism, and especially those in which young people are involved in "contentious politics" through participation in purposeful and organized collective action.
Along with international flows of capital, information and technology, international migration is one of the major forces of change in the world. Approximately 125 million people live outside their country of birth. This enormous movement of people is changing the demographic composition of both host and sending societies, and building new connections between them, with profound implications for economic, cultural and political life. The Council believes these transformations and their implications are best understood through research that focuses both on the experiences of individual nations and localities and on comparative perspectives across nations and regions.
Established in 1981, Town Creek Foundation seeks a healthy environment, an informed society and a peaceful world. The foundation is committed to achieving its mission through public education, citizen action and advocacy.
News and commentary:
The foundation supports news and commentary programs on issues directly relevant to the foundation's areas of interest. Programs supported include news and public affairs programming through selected public radio and public television outlets, investigative reporting and programs that monitor and challenge mainstream media to present a broader range of perspectives and stories. Proposals for the News and Commentary Program should describe the audience to be targeted and the outcomes or responses being sought. NOTE: Individual film and video productions are generally not supported.