12 April 2020

A Recap of the COVID-19-Related Funds for Photographers

12 April 2020 - Written by Simon Hall

Get to know, share, and apply for the several special opportunities aimed at supporting freelance photographers through the current crisis.

© Willy Kurniawan / Reuters

To support the photography community, many organisations across the world are creating opportunities to ensure visual journalists have the resources they need to ride out the crisis. Here, we’ve collated some of the best initiatives. This is an evolving list and will be continually updated as new funding opportunities emerge pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check back regularly to stay updated. A full list of award and opportunities not specifically related to the current crisis can be found in our new Awards. You can also find April's opportunities here.

National Geographic COVID-19 Emergency Fund For Journalists / Rolling applications

The National Geographic Society has launched a fund for journalists all over the world who wish to cover the effects of COVID-19 within their own communities. The fund places special emphasis on delivering news to underserved populations, particularly where there is a dearth of evidence-based information getting to those who need it. NGS are particularly interested in local and even hyper-local distribution models. Support ranging from US$1,000 to US$8,000 will be distributed for local coverage of the preparation, response, and impact of this global pandemic as seen through evidence-based reporting. Beyond reporting on medical and physical health related to COVID-19, storytelling that covers social, emotional, economic, and equity issues are also especially welcome. Writers, photographers, videographers, audio journalists, cartographers, filmmakers, and data visualisation experts are all invited to apply.


International Women's Media Foundation Journalism Relief Fund / Rolling applications

The IWMF's Journalism Relief Fund is open to women-identifying journalists in dire straits - journalists who have faced significant financial hardship, lost work, were recently laid off or who urgently need assistance to avoid severe, irreversible outcomes. This fund will provide small grants of up to US$2,000 per request. Special consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to those who have greater financial need. The fund is designed to provide women-identifying journalists with the following: living assistance to prevent homelessness and food insecurity, acute medical care and mental health services, childcare support, or legal support. To be eligible for the IWMF’s Journalism Relief Fund, candidates must be a staff or freelance woman-identifying reporter, working in any medium, whose primary profession is journalism (priority would be given to freelancers and journalists recently laid off).


The Photographer Fund / Rolling applications

Online portfolio platform Format has created a US$25,000 Photographer Fund to help independent photographers who are facing unprecedented financial hardships in the wake of the outbreak. They will be offering assistance of up to US$500 per person and they will be using their own discretion to determine who is granted the funds. The organisers write: “At Format two of our core values are Care and Impact, alongside our mission to help photographers seamlessly run and grow their business. Now, we have an opportunity to live those values and support photographers who may be facing financial difficulties. We know US$25,000 is just a start, but we want to help as many photographers as possible.”


Women Photograph Emergency Fund / Donations

Women Photograph is a non-profit initiative that was established in 2017 to elevate the voices of female visual journalists and shift the gender makeup of the photojournalism community. For the foreseeable future, all donations made to the organisation will go directly to an Emergency Fund dedicated to independent women and non-binary photographers who have been impacted by COVID-19. If you would like to support this initiative, please visit the page to donate.


Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform / Application cycles. Next deadline: 30 April

As a direct response to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the creative sector, Art Jameel has introduced a research and practice platform for independent practitioners. The program is intended primarily for those who work on a per-project basis and whose practices have been affected by program cancellations and project changes, locally or globally. The US$1,000 to US$2,000 micro-fees offered through the platform aim to further the development of ongoing and upcoming research and projects over the coming months. Some projects showing exceptional scope and need may be awarded an extended allocation of up to US$3,000 (based on budget given in the application and jury discretion). The program is open solely to practitioners based in the Middle East and North Africa region.


Pulitzer Center Coronavirus News Collaboration Challenge / Rolling applications.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organisation that supports independent global journalism, is seeking proposals that develop innovative approaches to reporting on the coronavirus crisis using collaboration among journalists and newsrooms across state lines or national borders. This opportunity is open to all newsrooms and independent journalists and the Pulitzer Center are particularly seeking proposals that involve a strategic and concerted effort by multiple journalists and/or newsrooms to pursue a reporting project together, leveraging resources, expertise, and publication platforms. “At a time of scarce media resources, the coronavirus story challenges newsrooms to find creative ways to bring accurate, compelling, and timely information to their readers” says the Pulitzer Center team. “We are eager for proposals that break traditional notions of scooping and competition and instead use the power of sharing and collaboration to increase reporting capacity and expand the reach and impact of stories.”


Yogurt Magazine Open Call / Deadline: 30 April

Yogurt Magazine has initiated a theme-based open call for entries aimed at exploring all the various aspects of the current crisis, specifically the media’s coverage, the isolation resulting from the health emergency, and the perception of a collective psychosis that has been compromising our daily life. The call has a dual purpose: first, to document such an extraordinary historical moment from a multi-authorial viewpoint in order to retrospectively give a profound reading that is not influenced by a unique point of view. And second, to offer a creative outlet to those who are now influenced by this situation. The contest is for single images only and all kinds of languages and linguistic and narrative experimentations are accepted.


Visit our awards page to get a full view of the best photography opportunities currently open for entry.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

6 minutes

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