ICFJ/Facebook South Africa COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund 2020

Deadline: May 19, 2020

Applications are open for the Facebook South Africa COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund 2020. The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is partnering with the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) to administer nine grants to independent local news organizations in South Africa that are producing quality journalism amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

This grant program will provide urgent financial support for independent publishers with a special focus on investigative journalism and local news organizations that are providing trustworthy information about COVID-19. 


The grants will be distributed as follows:

  • Two grants of $35,000 for publishers with 40 or more staff members
  • Seven grants of $10,000 for publishers with less than 40 staff members

The grants can be used for initiatives such as helping launch newsletters, lift paywalls, hire freelance journalists, strengthen data reporting, create online events, fund IT needs, launch software services, support digital distribution methods, salaries, buy personal protection equipment to keep journalists safe, as well as to ensure the basic continuation of work. 


ICFJ and Facebook will consider one application per news brand/newsroom. Organizations must meet the following requirements to be considered for a grant:

  • Independent nonprofit or for-profit local news organizations with their principal place of business located in South Africa;
  • Publishers must not be part of a business consortium, large media groups, or government-funded.
  • Have been in operation for two years or more;
  • Employ at least five full-time journalists; and
  • Facebook pages and Instagram accounts are in compliance with Facebook community standards and partner monetization policies.

Applicants must not

  • Discriminate based on race, gender, faith, national origin, sexual orientation or disability;
  • Carry on propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence specific legislation;
  • Influence the outcome of any specific public election or to carry on, directly or indirectly, any voter registration drive;
  • Be on a government web-based watch list of banned entities or employ, deal with, or otherwise be associated with any individuals on such lists, or aid or support any entities or whom it knows or believes to support terrorism;
  • Be a state media company, or a state-supported or funded news foundation; or
  • Be primarily a research organization, rather than a news organization.

Evaluation Criteria

Grant preference will be given to publishers who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Serve immigrant, rural, underserved and economically disadvantaged communities;
  • Represent areas where COVID-19 impact is particularly acute;
  • Actively covering COVID-19 and producing original news content related to COVID-19;
  • Clearly and candidly explain the grant’s contribution to their organization’s long-term viability;
  • Are family- or community-owned or independent;
  • Have an established digital reader revenue business model;
  • Have not yet received grant support from the Facebook Journalism Project in 2020.


Each application must include the following:

  • A description of how grant funds will be used;
  • Budget outlining how the funds will be used;
  • Contact information;
  • Organization information, including number of employees and a link to your website;
  • If applicable, samples of your best coronavirus coverage.
  • The grant will be a one-time award and will require the grant recipient to return a follow-up report on grant impact 90 days after receipt of the funding.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit ICFJ.


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