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How to Apply to the Impact Fund

How to Apply: 

All applications must be filed through our online application.  We suggest that you begin preparing your application in Word or another text-based format so that you can cut and paste the components into the online application.

 The application asks for the following:

  • A  statement of purpose
  • A project proposal, including statement of impact and proposed budget
  • Three samples of professional work
  • A current resumé
  • A letter of reference
  • An Editor's Checklist signed by a supervising editor and confirming the media outlet's intent to publish or broadcast the project

Applicants must join and post a profile and photo.

Deadline:  October 16, 2020

Statement of Purpose (500 words): 

Tell us about the applicant(s) for this Fund grant, including names, affiliations of all who will be involved and the size, nature and geographic reach of their outlets’ audiences. Describe your and/or your team’s general reporting or editing experience and aspirations, as well as your and/or your team’s health reporting or editing experience, including the types of stories you and/or your team currently cover or edit. 


Project Proposal, including Statement of Impact and Proposed Budget: 

In no more than 1,000 words, summarize a major California-focused reporting project. We seek proposals that focus on the health of underserved communities, including promising approaches to chronic ills.  Explorations can range from a look at environmental conditions where people live and work to the impact of race and ethnicity on health, or how poverty and education can shape wellbeing. We are especially interested in investigative or explanatory reporting projects that advance public understanding and health policy for underserved or vulnerable populations, which could include people living in low-income neighborhoods, rural areas, prisons, foster homes, juvenile detention centers or homeless encampments.

Summarize likely themes, multimedia components and any social media and audience/community engagement strategies you anticipate (strongly encouraged), such as community forums, interactive digital features, partnerships with other media outlets or community organizations and so on. Tell us what sources or datasets you anticipate using or that you'll be looking for.  Your proposal should be well-researched and should demonstrate that you have done some deep thinking about the relevance of the topic to your community.

Be specific about deliverables (e.g. a three-part multimedia series, three seven-minute radio pieces, a 60-minute TV documentary and so on).  Think big.

Statement of Impact (up to 250 words)

Tell us why your proposed project is important and whether it will break new ground.Explain why this project is needed now and what impact a project like this might have. Include information on how this builds on or distinguishes itself from other journalism on this topic. 

Proposed Budget (up to 250 words)

The maximum grant is $10,000; grants of this size will most likely go to multi-newsroom collaborations.  Specify the size of the grant you’re seeking, and justify it. The size of the requested grant should be commensurate with the scope of the proposed project. Grants are meant to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, dataset acquisition, translation services and multimedia components that your newsroom is not equipped to provide itself (e.g. videography and data visualization). In exceptional cases, we will permit part of each grant to be used to compensate for otherwise uncompensated time. If you’re a freelancer, the media outlet that agrees to publish or broadcast your project should be expected to provide the bulk of your compensation.

Three Samples of Your Work: Submit three samples of your best work. (For work that has only appeared online, please provide working URLs, as well as Word documents or PDFs of the published stories.) Broadcasters should submit links to working URLs of their online stories or CDs/DVDs. If you are an editor, submit work that you supervised and edited, along with an explanation of your role in shaping the content. If you write in a language other than English or Spanish, we prefer to receive translations of your work. If that is not possible, send a comprehensive two-paragraph summary in English of each story. 

Resumé: Please include a current resumé. Note:  Any misrepresentation that is discovered after you are admitted to the Fellowship will result in your dismissal.

Letter of Reference: Please supply a letter of reference from your assigning editor, producer, or news director that discusses your abilities and potential as a journalist in detail and the newsroom's support for your project

Editor/Story Checklist (download pdf):  Download it, complete it, get your assigning editor's signature on it, and scan it into your computer to submit with your online application or FAX it to us at (877) 413-3873. Both freelance and employed journalists must submit written confirmation of a news organization's commitment to publish or air the work resulting from the grant, assuming it meets its standards.

How We Select Grantees:

When choosing grantees, we consider each candidate's personal and professional accomplishments and potential, as well as the potential contribution of his or her proposed  project on the public's understanding of health issues. We value diversity in both our grantees  and their media outlets. We encourage applications from candidates who serve non-English speaking audiences. The Center will only review complete applications submitted by the deadline.

Tips for Maximizing Your Chances of Being Selected

  • Think big journalistically. 
  • Provide lots of details about what we can expect from your project.  Provides specifics, such as likely story count and multimedia components. We want to know what will result from our investment in you.
  • We're looking for impact, so tell us what problem your project will expose and what might happen as a result of increased awareness by the public and policymakers.
  • Tell us how you will engage the community with your project.  It's not sufficient any more to just put something out there.  Tell us how you will involve the public both in helping shape your journalism and responding to it.


Do you have a great idea for a potentially impactful reporting project on a health challenge in California?  Our 2020 Impact Fund can provide financial support and six months of mentoring.


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