OPEN CALL FOR FUNDING PROPOSALS Audience First: Investing in Strategies to Better Serve the Public

The Call

Grants awarded through this call are intended to provide funding to enable plans for reaching and engaging new and existing audiences.

A total of at least $5 million in grant funding will be available globally through this open call. Individual grants awarded to media organizations will provide approximately $250,000 USD in funding over a period of 24 months. Applicants should take the approximate grant size into consideration when developing their proposals.

The selection process will prioritize organizations that play a vital role in producing and disseminating public interest journalism in the countries where they work and that are facing a difficult financial situation as result of local market conditions. The International Fund will also seek to ensure geographic balance across its current set of focus countries.

In order to be eligible to apply for and receive funding through this open call, media organizations must:

Be an established legal entity that is none of the following:

A publicly listed and/or traded company

A subsidiary of a larger organization or corporation with significant activities outside media

Majority-owned by an active political actor

Meet the International Fund’s definition of public interest media and focus on publishing original, public interest content.

Operate in one or more of the 40 eligible countries (see FAQs for full list)

Have total annual costs of at least $300,000 USD in the most recent fiscal year

Have existed and continuously published for more than three years

Not have distributed dividends to shareholders in the last three years

Have net income below 5% of total income (average over 3 years) and a cash runway of less than 12 months

These criteria are specific to grants made within the context of this open call only. The Fund looks forward to supporting organizations that may not fit these criteria through future open calls, proactive identification of potential partners, and through expressions of interest.

As part of their funding proposals, eligible organizations will be asked to submit an audience strategy, including objectives and outcomes to be pursued with the support of grant funding. These strategies may focus on audience discovery, reach, engagement, or any combination of the three. Across these focus areas, applicants may be seek to sustain current reach and engagement or aim to expand and deepen them. Further details on expectations and requirements for these strategies are provided in the FAQs and the application form.
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