First funding call for proposals 2022

The International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) is a bold, new multilateral initiative designed to support independent public interest media especially in low and middle income settings and to support long term systemic solutions to the current conditions that prevent independent media financing themselves.

The Fund aims to dramatically increase the amount of resources available to support trustworthy, ethical, fact-based journalism, and enable the media to work for democracy. Further details on the Fund can be found at ifpim.org.

Significant progress has been made with this fund, and while still in its early stages of establishment, it has secured sufficient funding to launch an initial small scale call for proposals. This call for proposals is the first of a series of funding opportunities.

Box 1: Definition of Public Interest Media

IFPIM defines Public Interest Media as media that:

  • is free from censorship and independent;
  • exists to inform publics on the issues that shape their lives in ways which serve the public’s rather than any political, commercial or factional interest;
  • enables public debate and dialogue across society; and
  • holds those in power to account on behalf of the public interest.

It implies a focus on ethical and credible media working in the interests of all people across all of society, not just those who have the power or money to pay for or influence media. Public interest media can be commercial, public service or community media and distributed online, broadcast, through print or other channels.

“Without access to trustworthy independent news, populations are left in the dark, governments grow corrupt and democratic institutions soon become a sham.”

Mark Thompson and Maria Ressa

Co-Chairs, IFPIM

Objective of this funding

This first funding call is designed as part of a long term strategy to sustain as well as rebuild public interest media at a time of intense economic pressure with a view to ensuring continued support to journalism in the public interest and expanding audience reach and relationships.

For this first call, applications for funding should relate to one or more of the following objectives:

  • the continued production and dissemination of public interest media reporting to sustain its role and impact in society in the context of adverse market conditions and critical funding needs
  • the development of ambitious approaches to address disinformation challenges in societies, including by testing new forms of engagement with audiences and by partnering with other actors in the media ecosystem or civil society
  • the increase of audience reach and engagement, including those that seek to address the needs of underserved audiences
  • the improvement of representation of society in the media ecosystem including by promoting diversity in the newsroom and through coverage of under-reported issues and communities

Geographical scope

In this first call, concept notes are invited from media organisations with a strong record of public interest journalism in the countries listed below.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, South Africa;
  • Middle East and North Africa: Lebanon, Tunisia;
  • Caribbean, Central and South America: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico;
  • Asia and Pacific: Afghanistan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines;
  • Eastern Europe: Georgia, Ukraine.

Grants must support public interest media in one of the countries listed above. Future calls will include additional countries beyond those listed here.

Grant size and eligibility

Grant amount: Grants will be provided over a period of up to 2 years. We expect the majority of grants to be in the range of $80,000 to $350,000. IFPIM is conscious of the requirement to balance the need for critical funding and the risks associated with creating dependency over one funder. The amount of grant per year is generally expected to be in the range 10% – 30% of the organisation’s annual budget.

Type of applicant: Grants are only available to media organisations (one or more media organisations may apply together) but are not available to individuals or to other actors in the media ecosystem for this funding call. Media organisations are defined as organisations with a registered legal entity engaged in producing and disseminating information to the general public through a medium of mass communication. Both for-profit and not-for-profit media organisations can apply for funding. Applicants must have current revenues of at least $50,000 per year to apply. We expect most applicants to have revenues well in excess of $50,000 per year.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they meet the definition of public interest media as described in Box 1. As long as they do, we will consider applications from media organisations across all: types of platforms (both online and offline); reach and audiences (from national media to local and community outlets); editorial positioning (generalist and more specialised media); and level of organisational maturity (established media and more newly established outlets).

Application and Selection Process

Organisations wishing to apply for funding in this first call will, in the first instance, need to submit a short concept note (approximately 3 to 4 pages) that sets out a description of:

  • the applicant’s organisation, including its fit with IFPIM’s definition of public interest media; and
  • what the applicant is looking to achieve with IFPIM funding.

Concept note forms can be accessed following this link.

Additional information and guidance is available through the links below, which includes ‘frequently asked questions’. If your query is not addressed please send your question before May 20th to: opencall@ifpim.org and head the subject line of your email ‘Question related to Funding Call 1’. Please note we will not respond to individual emails but will update ‘frequently asked questions’ during the application process.

Concept notes will be considered and short-listed for further consideration. Short-listed applicants will then be invited to provide a more detailed proposal, including further information on financials, expected impact and documentation for due diligence purposes. Final funding decisions will be made in line with the selection criteria. We expect this call to have a high number of applicants, of which only a limited number will be successful.

Timeline

Monday 13th June 2022

Deadline for submission of concept notes (until 11.59pm GMT). Applicants will receive an email confirming we have received your submission.

Monday 11th July 2022

All applicants informed of the outcome of the short-listing process. Short-listed applicants will be required to submit a more detailed proposal. Further guidance will be provided to shortlisted applicants at this stage.

Monday 15th August 2022

Deadline for short-listed applicants to submit proposals (until 11:59pm GMT).

Thursday 15th September 2022 onwards

Selection of an initial set of grantees by 15th September, and selection of additional grantees by 15th November. Applicants that are rejected during the selection process will be informed of the outcome shortly after the decision is made. Selected applicants will be taken through the contracting phase. Disbursement of funds will take place shortly after the signature of the grant agreement but the precise timeline will depend on jurisdictions.

Eligibility and selection criteria

The first stage of our selection process is based on our review of applicants’ concept note, organisational information and track record and will take into account the following criteria:

  • All eligibility criteria as set out in the “grant size and eligibility” section being met.
  • Editorial integrity of the organisation, likelihood of producing public interest journalism and alignment with our definition of Public Interest Media.
  • Track record, competencies, and diversity of the organisation and the team.
  • Potential impact of the funding – including alignment of the proposed vision or activities with the objectives of this funding call, and expected impact of the funding based on the applicant’s definition of what success would look like.

In a second stage, short listed applicants’ proposals will be assessed taking into account the impact potential, the quality of the plan to achieve the proposed objectives, the financial needs of the applicant and the alignment between the funding requested and the proposed objectives, the capacity and commitment of the team to drive organisational resilience and development, and the commitment to learning. Further details will be provided to short listed applicants alongside the form to submit proposals.

How to apply

Complete our requirements checklist and concept note form to apply.

The International Fund for Public Interest Media is an independent fund made possible by the generous financial support of: