The International Fund is committed to equity and transparency in all its activities and processes, including the selection of grant recipients.
The International Fund supports independent, public interest media through funding organizations that either produce it directly or work to enable its production. We define public interest media as that which:
- Exists to inform the public on matters that concern them or helps to ensure that power is held to account;
- Provides fact-based information in a trustworthy manner;
- Commits to the demonstrable pursuit of truth, for example through sourcing practices and the representation of the audiences it hopes to serve;
- Is editorially independent;
- Is transparent about processes, finances, and policies used to produce it.
We use a two-stage assessment process to select grant recipients, outlined below.
Initial eligibility assessment
We recognize that there are many media organizations undertaking vital and independent work in the public interest. While the International Fund is committed to supporting a broad range of organizations, we are constrained by availability of funds and unfortunately only able to move forward with those grants that have the strongest alignment with our impact goals and geographic scope and highest potential for our funds to make an impact. We also seek to balance our portfolio across different types of organizations and initiatives.
Proposal assessment and decisions to fund
Select organizations that have high alignment with our strategic priorities are invited to submit a full funding proposal, which includes an organizational and funding narrative, a grant budget, and supporting documentation (the full list of required documents is included in the FAQ). A decision not to progress an organization to this stage should not be seen as a negative evaluation of its mission or published content, but rather as a result of resource constraints. As the International Fund unlocks additional financial resources and scales up grant-making activities, we will grow the level of support we are able to provide.
Once an organization submits a full proposal, they will begin to work directly with a member of our team, if they haven’t already — likely a Regional Director or another member of our regional teams, all of whom have deep knowledge of and experience working in the International Fund’s focus regions. These primary points of contact are a great resource for any questions about the International Fund’s proposal submission and assessment process.
Regional Directors lead the assessment of all proposals that we receive with the following factors in mind:
- Continued analysis of alignment with the International Fund’s three impact goals and of the recipient organization’s mission and plans for the future;
- Potential for grant funds to have a high impact on the recipient organization, the media ecosystem, or both;
- Financial outlook and sustainability of the recipient organization;
- Due diligence review across legal, financial, and governance dimensions (explained in greater detail in the FAQ).
All proposal assessments are then reviewed by the Grant-Making Committee (GMC), the primary decision-making body for all potential grants. All members of our Executive Group, including Regional Directors, serve on the GMC.
As the final step in the process, all grants are submitted to the International Fund’s Board of independent experts prior to contracting. No donors or representatives of any government play a role in selecting grant recipients.
How can I express interest in receiving funding?
Organizations can indicate their interest in receiving funding by submitting the International Fund’s expression of interest form, available in several languages. We commit to reviewing every expression of interest, however due to high volume, we are not able to respond directly to each submission.
How long does it take to hear back after submitting a grant proposal?
Organizations that are invited to submit full grant proposals to the International Fund can expect to receive an update on the status of their proposal within six to eight weeks of submission.
Is there a minimum or maximum grant amount or term?
At the current stage of the International Fund’s development, we aim for a minimum grant amount of $75,000 USD. While there is no strict maximum grant amount, the International Fund is very unlikely to support more than 30% of an organization’s total operating costs. We expect the majority of grants to have a term of 2–3 years.
What kind of funding do you provide?
The International Fund is committed to maximum flexibility in our grant-making. Our goal is to identify uses for grant funds that support the mission and overall financial resilience of our grantees, and we are interested in working collaboratively with prospective recipients in this process.
What kinds of organizations do you fund?
We provide grants to organizations that either produce public interest media or work to enable its production. These organizations can take a variety of forms, including non- and for-profit entities, fiscally sponsored projects, subsidiaries of parent companies, and more. As part of the proposal review process, we will seek to understand the structure and leadership of organizations we are considering funding.
Are there specific types of work or organizations that you cannot support?
At this time, we are only able to fund organizations and cannot provide grants to individuals.
What supporting documentation is submitted as part of the full proposal?
We request that organizations invited to submit a full funding proposal provide the following documentation:
- Evidence of the organization’s legal registration and status;
- Organizational budget and additional financial information;
- Names of key leaders, including owners and board members;
- Overview of internal risk and financial management processes and protocols;
- Additional key policies as relevant and available, including safeguarding and editorial policies.
If any of the above is challenging to procure, we are open to discussing alternative forms of documentation.
How do you approach due diligence?
Our due diligence process is designed as an opportunity to better understand your organization and its work, rather than as a box-ticking exercise. We recognize that this process can often feel daunting for prospective grantees and we work to simplify it and maintain as much flexibility as possible. We also strive to be responsive to the diverse contexts and needs of the organizations that we support.
More specifically, during the due diligence process, we seek to better understand your organization’s legal status, financial plans and outlook, guiding policies, and ownership and governance arrangements, and how these inform your mission and published work. We also check names of all senior leaders, board members, and owners against sanctions and anti-money laundering lists (more information about this process is shared with potential grant recipients prior to checks being run).
Am I able to submit a proposal in my preferred language?
The International Fund is committed to accessibility in the proposal process and to working in as many languages as possible, including with the support of external translators. Please let a member of our team know if you would prefer to submit your application and supporting documentation in a language other than English, French, Spanish, or Arabic.