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2022 California Impact Fund

The USC Center for Health Journalism's California Impact Fund provides reporting support  funding and mentoring  to journalists who think big and want to make a difference.  Our Impact Fund helps journalists bring untold stories to light and investigate promising approaches to chronic ills. We welcome applications from journalists who want to tackle ambitious investigative or explanatory projects – individually, as a newsroom-wide undertaking or as a collaboration with other media outlets in their communities.  The Fund aims to advance what the Center for Health Journalism calls “impact journalism,” which marries powerful narratives, data and community engagement to serve as a catalyst for change. Proposed projects should have the potential for impact, including changing the conversation about the issues addressed or sparking new policies, practices or laws. Depending on the scope of the project, competitively selected grantees receive grant funds of $2,000 to $10,000. We also provide six months of mentoring while grantees work on their projects, providing guidance on everything from story development to mapping out how to tackle reporting, to ways to improve storytelling.

The deadline to apply was November 30, 2021

Projects must focus on California health issues and be published or broadcast either by a California media outlet or a national outlet with a substantial California audience. Preference will be given to mainstream-ethnic media collaborations. Students are not eligible. Freelancers are eligible, but must earn the majority of their income from journalism and also have a confirmed assignment from a media outlet in order to be considered. Two California Impact Fund grantees will be selected for supplementary community engagement grants.

The Fund seeks proposals for: 

  • groundbreaking reporting on the health of underserved communities
  • reporting that illuminates national and state debates on health care policy and ongoing or proposed changes to the social safety net
  • exploration of health disparities and their causes and promising solutions
  • investigations into how poverty, education, environment, structural inequities or race/ethnicityinfluence health and wellbeing
  • reporting projects that advance public understanding and health policy for specific underserved or vulnerable populations, which could include people living in low-income neighborhoods, rural areas, jails, prisons, foster or group homes, juvenile detention centers or homeless encampments. 

Who Could Apply

The  2022 California Impact Fund makes grants to professional journalists who work for or contribute to print, broadcast and online media outlets based in the United States.  Applicants must be based in California or based elsewhere but contributing to a national outlet with a California footprint.  Proposed projects must be focused on California health issues.Applicants do not need to be full-time health reporters, but should have a demonstrated interest in health issues. We prefer that applicants have a minimum of three years of professional experience; many have decades. Journalists writing for ethnic media are strongly encouraged to apply. Proposals for collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets receive preferential consideration, as do projects produced for co-publication or co-broadcast in both mainstream and ethnic news outlets. Freelancers are welcome, but need to have a confirmed assignment and should earn the majority of their income from journalism. Applicants must be based in the United States. Students and interns were ineligible.  

The 2022 California Impact Fund is supported by The California Wellness Foundation..


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