Journalism & Media Grant Guidelines

Understand guideline and funding cycles

MacArthur publishes program guidelines to help applicants determine whether their idea for a grant fits within a particular grantmaking strategy.

As a general rule, applicants should base this decision on three related criteria that appear in program guidelines: the topical focus addressed by the grantmaking strategy; the geographic area covered by the grantmaking strategy; and, finally, the type of funding (i.e., general operating support, research, program support, etc.) that supports the grantmaking strategy.

Like most strategic grantmaking foundations, the MacArthur Foundation considers funding only those applications that closely match the topical, geographic, and funding criteria for a specific grantmaking strategy.

Overview

MacArthur's goal in journalism and media grantmaking is to provide the public with high-quality, professionally -produced documentary films, deep and analytical journalism, and well-produced news and public affairs programming. In a media environment characterized by proliferating information sources of varying degrees of reliability, the Foundation seeks to support serious, fact-based journalism for television, radio and the web, the type of original reporting that is likely to be blogged about, linked to, tweeted, and otherwise circulated throughout the Internet. Programs supported by the Foundation inform and educate their viewers about important and under-reported topics, provide balance and accurate information, encourage global conversations, and use technology to tell stories in engaging and interactive ways.


Key staff officers for this program are Director Kathy Im. Inquiries about grantmaking should be made by following the process for submitting a letter of inquiry online.


What MacArthur Funds

The Foundation's new Journalism and Media program will launch in mid-2016. Please watch this space for updated guidelines

Beginning in 2016, the MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism and Media Program will discontinue direct support of individual documentary projects, but will increase its overall support of documentary filmmakers and nonfiction media producers through new and existing partner organizations.

Since the mid-eighties, MacArthur has provided more than $48 million in support of more than 300 documentary projects. View a list of documentary film projects supported through previous Open Calls.

At the same time, the Foundation has supported and strengthened a number of partner organizations that provide more comprehensive support to filmmakers, from production funding, editorial advice, and professional mentorship, to broadcast, distribution and public engagement. 

Going forward, the Journalism and Media program will reinforce and expand its support of documentary filmmakers and nonfiction media producers exclusively through partner organizations. These organizations, as a whole, support hundreds of filmmakers each year, and help to diversify the field and raise the artistic achievement and social impact of documentary storytelling.

The Foundation will no longer accept applications for individual documentary projects. This decision reflects a continuing commitment to the documentary community and a desire to deploy MacArthur resources in a way that will allow many more filmmakers, artists and technologists to find the support they need to tell stories that inform, engage, and compel viewers to make changes in themselves or their communities for a more just, verdant and peaceful society.

Filmmakers currently seeking production funds are encouraged to explore the funding opportunities offered by MacArthur’s partner organizations:

POV

Firelight Media

Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Sundance Documentary Fund

Tribeca Film Institute


Updated March 2015