Media Democracy Fund: Grants for Journalism

OVERVIEW: The Media Democracy Fund supports organizations defending people’s freedom of expression and their right to communicate in the digital age.  

IP TAKE: This funder supports media organizations and outlets rather than individual journalists. MDF awards both project specific and general operating support grants.

PROFILE: Media Democracy Fund (MDF) is an outgrowth of the media and technology program that Helen Brunner developed for the Albert A. List Foundation. Launched in 2006, MDF is not a traditional grantmaker in that it works with NGOs, companies, philanthropic advisors and individual donors to award grants to journalists and media outlets that “[p]rotect the public’s rights in the digital age.” MDF is a project of the New Venture Fund.

The fund supports projects and organizations that “[a]ddress opportunities or threats as they arise throughout the year,” through its Rapid Response Fund and Open Technology Fund. Additional grantmaking programs include Global Initiatives, Media Democracy Action Fund, Privacy and Surveillance Fund, Copyright Initiative and Open Internet Defense Fund,

The Rapid Response Fund awards grants to organizations addressing timely issues. Activities supported include, but are not limited to, research, communications, organization, litigation and policy advocacy. The Open Technology Fund supports “[h]uman rights technology and internet freedom projects.” Issues addressed include surveillance, interference, censorship and other encroachments on freedom of expression.

Past MDF grantees include the Center for Rural Strategies, which received support for its work increasing the impact of rural organizations working on media and technology policy; and the Media Consortium, which received a grant for its work enhancing media and technology training policy for journalists and strategic planning for the independent news sector. To learn more about MDF grantees, explore its grant list.

MDF does not accept unsolicited grant applications or requests for funding.


Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only).