Applications open for grants to fund civic science journalism collaborations

Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University and Rita Allen Foundation partner on pilot program

Projects will be prioritized that:

  • Emphasize meaningful collaborations between civic science and journalism organizations to achieve shared purpose, including building awareness of civic science issues and potential solutions.
  • Involve community engagement with the intended audiences and are relevant to communities, particularly communities where new or deeper engagement with science has the potential to be transformative.
  • Have the potential to be a catalyst for future collaborations.

Application FAQs

We’ve tried to answer as many frequently asked questions (FAQs) as we could anticipate. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, let us know. Email the Center at

Who is eligible to apply?

The lead applicant for the grant must be a U.S.-based 501c3 nonprofit organization conducting work primarily in the United States or have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based nonprofit organization.

I’m a freelancer. Can I be a partner?

Yes, as long as you have an affiliation with a civic science and/or journalistic organization that is documented. Grant applicants must be United States-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations conducting work primarily in the United States or have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor. (Note: Grants will be made to organizations, not individuals.)

What can I use the money for?

The awards are intended to cover the cost of the applicant’s and co-collaborator’s time, project materials, equipment and associated production/editing costs to complete the project.

How much money can I apply for?

The grant opportunity will allow for awards of up to $15,000 per project. The collaborators need to decide amongst themselves how to allocate the grant between each other. One grant will be made to the lead organization, and the lead organization will be responsible for disseminating the money among the partners as needed. The lead organization must be United States-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization conducting work primarily in the United States or have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor.

I would like to apply, but I don’t have a collaborator in mind.

We strongly encourage applicants to seek their own collaborators when possible. However, the Center will do its best to connect collaborators together as well. Email the Center at

When will I be notified of my application status?

As soon as you apply, you’ll get a confirmation email that includes a copy of your application.

What is the grant period?

The grant period for all grants will be June 1, 2023 through November 30, 2023. Projects must be completed and funds spent within this timeframe.

What paperwork will you need from me to disburse the grant?

Grantees will work directly with the Rita Allen Foundation to complete grant agreements, arrange disbursement of the grant, and to complete grant reporting at the end of term.

  • Organizational budget
  • Audited Financial Statements (most recent available, substitutions will be accepted with prior approval)
  • Form 990 (most recent)
  • IRS Tax Determination Letter

Can I apply for more than one project?

Yes, you can, but we encourage you to focus on one project to make it the best it can be.

What if I need more money than the maximum amount?

To be able to support a range of projects, the maximum is $15,000 per project. If you need help figuring out how to rein in the cost of your effort so it’s more affordable, the Center is happy to help. Email

How will you judge applications?

A review committee of external judges will read all applications and rate them based on the following questions:

  • Does the project emphasize meaningful collaboration between journalists and civil society organizations to develop new relationships and perspectives that advance civic science?
  • Does the project meaningfully engage underserved communities?
  • Does the project have the potential to be impactful on its intended audience? Or to help contribute to greater understanding of the barriers to collaboration and impact?
  • To what extent does the project involve community engagement with the intended audience?
  • Are at least one civic organization and one journalism partner named in the proposal?
  • Does the journalism partner have quantifiable and significant reach to the intended audience?
  • Does the civic organization partner have a commitment to the concept of civic science?
  • How do the organizations advance diversity, equity, inclusion?
  • Is the proposal right-sized for the requested amount?
  • Are the project costs clear, credible and realistic?

What are my reporting responsibilities if I am awarded, and accept, an award?

The grantees will be asking to take a pre-project survey and an end-of-project survey. Additionally, you will be asked to submit a final report on how the project went, its outcomes and lessons learned. Last, the Center will interview select grantees for a final report to be published publicly about this overall effort.

Where can I learn more about civic science?

The following resources are a starting point to learn more about civic science, the growing civic science network, and inspirations for this collaborative, emerging body of research and practice.

What if you haven’t answered my question in these FAQs?

Email the Center at

👋 Want to learn more about collaborative journalism?

You can subscribe to our collaborative journalism newsletter for more updates and information. And of course, visit to learn more about the topic of collaborative journalism — including our growing database of collaborative journalism projects, which is currently being updated.



An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair State University

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Stefanie Murray

Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.