Adkins Arboretum Art Competition
Close by the Chesapeake Bay, the Adkins Arboretum is a nature preserve that blends art and science in its mission of conservation. The Arboretum’s Annual Art Competition invites photographers, painters and sculptors to interpret this carefully preserved ecosystem for Mid-Atlantic native plants. Competition winners receive the Leon Andrus Award and have their work exhibited in the Arboretum’s Visitor's Center gallery, or in the case of 3 dimensional art, in the natural surroundings it converses with.

Aftermath Project 
“War is only half the story.” This organization’s important mission is to help reveal the other half of the story: the aftermath. Stories of devastation and loss, but also of reconstruction and regeneration. Founded by a photojournalist, Sara Terry, who investigated the consequences of the Bosnian war, The Aftermath Project’s main goal is to fund photographers who are covering the aftereffects of conflict through an annual grant competition. The money for the grants for the 2006 program was raised through the auction of photographs generously donated by some of the most recognized photojournalists, fine art photographers, and reportage photographers. The site offers an impressive gallery of the auction photos, as well as guidelines for applying for the grants.

Alexia Foundation 
Each year this foundation awards professional and student grants to photographers, encouraging work that promotes world peace and cultural understanding. There is a cash grant to help professional photographers realize a photo documentary project as well as a scholarship for student photographers to study photojournalism at Syracuse University in London, England. The Foundation was established to honor the ideals and spirit of a young photojournalism student killed in a terrorist incident. 

Alicia Patterson Fellowship Awards
The foundation named for ground-breaking Newsday publisher Alicia Patterson aims to “foster, promote, sustain and improve the best traditions of American journalism” by offering 6 and 12-month fulltime fellowships to journalists working for American publications. Just as Patterson left her mark on the male-dominated postwar newspaper world, her Foundation seeks to support the very core of that world, professional journalists. Fellows are given the time, support and resources to do in-depth investigations on their chosen topics, some of which are presented in the site’s Stories section.

Annenberg Foundation Grants
One of the country’s largest private family foundations, the well-respected Annenberg Foundation has focused its considerable grant-making power on education. If this seems like a broad subject, it is, and the Foundation addresses the need for education broadly: education and youth development, arts, culture and humanities, civic and community life, health and human services, animal services and the environment are areas in which Annenberg has invested in projects and allied itself with other philanthropic institutions. The Foundation invites non-profit organizations seeking grants to look through the files of past grant recipients, where international collaborations line up alongside local LA County initiatives, and view the winning projects to get a sense of the work they support.

Antropographia Award
As a non-profit believes that photojournalism continues to be one of the most powerful tools we have for changing how people understand and relate to each other, Montreal-based AnthropoGraphia has set itself a goal: “to write human stories, using photography as the medium.” Many of these stories come to light through AnthropoGraphia’s annual award, which recognizes excellent storytelling in defense of human rights. Invited curators have what looks like some exceptional submissions to choose from, although the winning stories are not fully published on the site. If viewers can’t see the work online, they can view it person in some of the most reputable photo galleries in the world as the award show tours.

APA / Lucie Foundation Scholarships
Together the American Photographers Association and Lucie Foundation offer an annual $5,000 grant to a professional photographer seeking to complete work on a series or beginning work on a new series. A smaller scholarship is available to emerging photographers to support work on a specific project or a general portfolio. Previous grant winners’ essays and submitted work gives a sense of the variety of practices and individual visions that these grant support around the world.

Bayeux Calvados Prize
Bayeux, a Normand town that has not forgotten the War and the D-Day landing of 1945, annually honours the commitment and sacrifices of war correspondents with awards that recognize outstanding work in various media. Beyond the acknowledgment of excellence and the generous prizes (€7,000 in each of 10 categories), Bayeux remembers the heroism and sacrifice of the growing number of journalists who are killed each year for doing their work. In collaboration with Reporters Without Borders, the city has inaugurated a memorial dedicated to reporters from around the world, killed in the line of duty since 1944. The annual unveiling of the names of fallen colleagues is the sad counterpoint to the Bayeux Calvados Prize celebrations.  

Blue Earth Alliance 
Based on the idea that “Photographers are the eyes and conscience of society,” Blue Earth Alliance uses the knowledge and experience of its network of members to foster significant documentary projects on cultures, the environment and social issues. The Alliance accepts project proposals from photographers twice a year. Those chosen are guided by selected Alliance board members through the process of organizing, fundraising, shooting and publishing or exhibiting the project. This mentoring approach transmits invaluable experience to emerging documentary photographers, empowering them to bring their stories to light. 

Burn Emerging Photographer’s Grant
Magnum photographer David Allen Harvey’s dynamic online magazine provides a curated space for up and coming photographers, and Burn’s Emerging Photographers Grant (EPG) is a particularly sought-after prize for those building their careers in documentary photography and photojournalism. Visitors to the site can judge the entries for themselves, as all the finalists’ stories are posted along with a paragraph explaining their project. The quality of the photo essays submitted to the EPG is generally outstanding, making this a prime place to watch for the next generation of remarkable artists.

Canon Female Photojournalist Award
Women photojournalists do not always see the recognition that their male counterparts do, but for over a decade France’s Association des Femmes Journalistes and Canon France have presented an annual international award to outstanding women photojournalists under the spotlight of the highly-regarded annual Visa pour l’Image photo festival in Perpignan. Here, photojournalists such as Ami Vitale, Brenda Ann Kenneally and Sarah Caron have received awards of 8000 euros, funds that recognize and support the work of dedicated artists and journalists.

Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Awards
Building on international asset manager Edouard Camignac’s longstanding patronage of the arts, his firm’s foundation has created a generous award for excellence in photojournalism that goes a step further and assists photographers with exhibiting and publishing their winning works. The substantial prize of 50,000 euros is designed to give material and moral support to photojournalists working in challenging situations, helping them to complete their projects according to their own vision and to get the finished work seen. In creating these Awards, the Camignac Gestion Foundation has made a strong commitment to the independent voice, the untold story and the minority view. The Foundation also recognises the other value of such work, as it commits to purchasing images from the winning project, bringing them into its large and influential art collection.

CDS Documentary Essay Prize
Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies rewards excellence in documentary photography and writing in alternating years with the CDS Documentary Essay Prize. The $3,000 award supports an on-going or recently completed long-term documentary project, which can then benefit from the exposure that publication in Document, the CDS’ quarterly magazine, and a gallery on the CDS website can bring.

Center Choice Awards
Santa Fe’s non-profit CENTER helps to bring the work of talented photographers to the attention of respected curators, photo editors and gallery owners through its annual Choice Awards. Every year Center invites photo experts, who are at the top of their respective fields, to make their choices among hundreds of proposed photo projects and write a Juror’s Statement that chronicles their process and the reasons for their decisions. Beyond having their work selected by the likes of Malcolm Daniel, first, second and third place winners all receive exposure through exhibition, publication, portfolio reviews and more.

Center Project Development Grant
One of the more dynamic photo organizations on the scene, Center pursues its mission of supporting committed photographers in many ways, among them is the $5000 Project Development Grant. The Grant is much more than money for a documentary or photojournalism work-in-progress, it is an exhibition at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Art, participation in Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, portfolio reviews with Review Santa Fe and the Eyeist and a place in the Art Photo Index. These are all tangible and important ways for a grant winner to get feedback, to be seen and to prepare the next project.

Center for Photography at Woodstock Photographer’s Fellowship Fund
The Center for Photography at Woodstock wants “to build audiences, enhance dialogue, and encourage inquiry about contemporary photography and related media.” The Fellowship Fund was established to recognize and support the work of New York State photographers, providing two annual grants of $1,000. Guidelines and application forms can be found on the packed web site, along with information on programs in education, gallery space exhibitions, Photography Quarterly Magazine, news of artists’ residencies and other services.

Center Project Launch Grant
Among Center’s carefully considered series of awards supporting documentary and fine arts photo projects is the Project Launch Grant, a $5000 grant that comes with a package of extras that insure that the winning work will be seen in venues that count. Selected by an A-List jury, the winner benefits from a cash award that helps finish the project, which can then begin to be disseminated through the series of exhibition and publication venues that the award provides. The Project Launch Grant’s portfolio review invitations and workshop vouchers help to insure that the next project is already in development.

Center Santa Fe Prize
A biennial $10 000 cash prize awarded to an outstanding photographic project, the Center’s Santa Fe Prize for Photography identifies exceptional new talent chosen from a broad selection of photo community nominations. This substantial award supports a work-in-progress or completed photo project, book ending it with an online exhibition and invitation to the Santa Fe Review.

Center Teaching Award
Recognising not the just stand-out photographers, but the also the educators that inspire and mentor them, the Center has instituted an annual Excellence in Teaching Award to highlight exceptional teachers from high school to postgraduate levels in all areas of photo education. The $3000 prize is awarded to nominated educators whose passion for teaching photography has helped to ignite the artistic fire of their students.

Daylight Community Arts Foundation
In addition to publishing the gorgeous bi-annual Daylight Magazine, Daylight Community Arts Foundation (DCAF) has implemented a series of programs that aim to help “underrepresented communities share their stories.” Distributing cameras, establishing darkroom and digital imaging facilities, administering photographic workshops, and curating local and traveling exhibitions are all part of the Foundation’s mission to make photography a vital tool for self-expression and participation in what they have accurately labeled “the global visual dialogue.” Their website also offers great monthly podcasts of narrated photo essays from around the world.

Daylight Photo Awards
Among the many ways that non-profit publisher Daylight boosts photographers and their work is the International Photo Awards, a $1000 prize that comes with an exhibition at the Daylight Project Space in Hillsborough, NC. The jurors for this prize are a typically impressive mix of established photographers, photo editors and curators, and their choices include the grand-prize winner as well as a series of “jurors picks” which are included in the DPS’ annual “Best of Show” exhibition. The wider world can view the chosen work on the Daylight Prize site.

Documentary Project Fund
The Documentary Project Fund looks for creative people, committed to photography as a medium for change in their communities. The DPF’s support comes in the form of two grants, the $5000 Community Project award as well as a $3500 award for emerging artists. The Fund lays out its rules and expectations in its candid FAQ page, where the emphasis is on a passionate commitment to art, storytelling and community.

Eugene Smith Fund 
Eugene Smith’s legacy of committed, idealistic and humanistic work is perpetuated by this major annual grant of $30,000. The site’s gallery of past winners exhibits the powerful work of established photographers. Although the themes are generally far less optimistic than Smith’s work, they are rigorous and compelling photo essays, true to Smith’s humanistic vision. The Fund also offers the Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism, an annual $5,000 grant to encourage and support leadership in fields connected to photojournalism, such as editing research, education and management. Special preference is given to work that promotes social change or furthers the concerns of photojournalism. Application forms for both grants can be downloaded from the site. 

The Fence – Photoville Brooklyn
Busting out of the confines of art galleries and museums, THE FENCE brings photo narratives from around the world to the inner city streets of Brooklyn, Boston, Atlanta, Houston and Santa Fe. Organizers invite rising stars of documentary photography to submit photo essays, which are then printed on large-scale posters and hung, perhaps symbolically, on a fence. THE FENCE’s curating has allowed much artistically and thematically important photography to find new audiences, who may be surprised to discover art, a story or a window into another world just hanging on their neighborhood fence. THE FENCE is also a photography competition, where the Jury's Choice winner merits such prizes as an exhibition at Photoville in New York City, a $5,000 Cash Prize to contribute to future work, and a Leica T camera package.

Fifty Crows International Fund for Documentary Photography 
As an off-shoot of the venerable Mother Jones Magazine, the Foundation aims to raise public awareness through “Social Change Photography.” Fifty Crows raises and manages a fund that awards annual grants of $5,000 to local and foreign photographers documenting important social and political issues in an assigned region of the world. Their aim in not only to support the independent work of politically and socially engaged photojournalists and documentary photographers, but to give challenging stories the widest possible audience. A well-constructed site gives application information, galleries for the winning projects, and valuable commentary from the judges. A look at the winning projects gives an immediate sense of the value of this program.

Foam Paul Huf Award
Amsterdam’s champion of contemporary photography, the vital Foam organization, continues its work of nurturing new photography through the Paul Huf Award, a prize offered to emerging young photographers under the age of 35. Paul Huf was a super star of Dutch photography from the 1950s to the turn of the century, and it is his enthusiasm for the challenge of new work from young photographers that Foam is channeling with this generous cash prize of € 20,000 and an exhibition at the Foam Museum. The invitation to submit work is open to young photographers around the world, and the style is equally open-ended: anything goes.

Focus for Humanity NGO Grant
Helping photographers to highlight the work of non-governmental agencies, Focus For Humanity proposes a grant to NGOs that pays for the creative services of a professional photographer. The photographers apply for the $5000 grant with their NGO partners, and the winning applicants are guided by a Focus for Humanity advisor, assuring the best possible use of a non-profit’s precious budget for documenting and branding of their works.

Ford Foundation
What started as a Michigan-based charitable foundation funded by heirs to the Ford Motor Company fortune has become one of the most important national and international funders of projects that advance human welfare. Under its very broad mandate, the Ford Foundation currently funds projects and organizations that work towards the charity’s main goals: Democratic and Accountable Government, Economic Fairness, Educational Opportunity and Scholarship, Freedom of Expression, Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice, Human Rights, Metropolitan Opportunity, and Sustainable Development. It can be difficult to take in the scope of the Foundations activities and the extent of its influence in North America and abroad. To get an idea, browse through the Foundation’s enormous Grants Database and see the large and small grants (well over 10 000 in the past 7 years) that power positive change in so many areas.

Foto Evidence Book Award
Documentary photographers who are committed to exploring stories of human rights and social justice can amplify public awareness of these issues through the Foto Evidence Book Award, a prize that celebrates outstanding projects through publication and exhibition. Indeed, the annual award winner, chosen for an exceptional body of work that exposes social injustice, will have that work published by Foto Evidence and join selected finalists for a New York City gallery exhibition and a showcase on the Foto Evidence site.

FotoVisura Grant
Foto Visura, an international non-profit that allows photographers to self-publish online, offers its members the opportunity to apply for two grants that recognise outstanding work. Both the Foto Visura Grant and the Student Grant reward exceptional personal projects with a cash award, online and gallery exhibitions, the possibility of artist talks, residencies, workshops and portfolio reviews, and perhaps most importantly, the notice of the panel of important photo-editors, curators and professional photographers who judge the competition.

Foundation Grants to Individuals Online 
A gold mine for grant-seekers, the Foundation Center offers detailed descriptions of more than 6,000 foundation programs that fund students, artists, researchers, and other grant-seekers, all organized in an efficient online database. A monthly subscription fee opens the door to this information bank, which is updated quarterly, and includes tutorials and search tips.

Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship
The storied Fulbright Fellowship, which has given many American graduate students the opportunity to study abroad for year, has teamed up with the National Geographic in order to offer a Digital Storytelling Fellowship to U.S. citizens, financing an academic year of overseas travel with the goal of exploring an important social or environmental topic through digital storytelling. Chosen “Fulbrighters” are trained by National Geographic staff and editors in the art digital storytelling using media such as photography, video, audio and social media. They then use these tools to do a comparative study of their topic in three countries. Benefiting from the mentorship of writers, editors and artists, the fellows produce stories that will ultimately be published in the National Geographic magazine, blog, or website.

Getty Grants for Good 
Getty Images, a giant among purveyors of stock photography and editorial images, supports the work of both committed photographers and grassroots nonprofits when they award their “Grants for Good.” As the Getty Images site explains: “Nonprofit agencies need imagery to tell their stories,” so the agency offers two annual grants of $15,000 to help photographers and nonprofits come together and make the sort of compelling images that create positive change. The grant recipients, chosen by a panel of respected photo-industry professionals, are even offered the support of Getty’s team of art directors, photo editors and producers. Recent winning projects are promoted by Getty Images in the press and prominently featured on the site’s Community Involvement page.

Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography 
The world’s largest stock photography agency, Getty Images, awards five major annual grants of $20,000, with the intention of providing the winning photojournalists the support and the editorial freedom to pursue projects of social and cultural importance. In addition to the funding, recipients receive support from Getty Images' team of photo editors and the resulting work is initially marketed through Getty Images.

Getty Images Creative Grants
In the interest of helping non-profits to create a compelling narrative about their work, Getty Images offers two substantial grants of $20,000 to photographers or filmmakers who direct their creative talents to the non-for-profit sector. In fact, the grants are shared equally between the non-profit and the artist, who work together to create a campaign that will focus people’s attention on, and perhaps change conventional thinking about, a given issue. These generous grants are meant to help organizations that would likely never have the means to generate attention and awareness, and Getty can sometimes add an extra grant to its offerings, focusing on a specific issue, such as the empowerment of women and girls.

Gordon Parks Foundation
The Foundation assembles, preserves and disseminates the work of Gordon Parks, a legend of 20th century photography who documented some of the most important social and political issues of his era, always with framed with his profound respect for human dignity. The Foundation’s Archive page presents a wonderful selection images from Parks’ varied career, and there is a regular update of recent exhibitions, publications and events that feature his work. The Foundation also takes an active role in supporting young photographers with scholarships that include the Nikon/Gordon Parks Photography Scholarship for emerging photographers, and the HBO/Gordon Parks Scholarship for Ghetto Film School Students, which reminds us that Parks was also the filmmaker responsible for the classic "Blaxploitation" film Shaft.

Gottlieb Foundation
As one of the founders of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Adolf Gottlieb became very successful artist over the course of his career, a fact that made him, if anything, more empathetic to the financial struggles of committed artists. Formalizing a tradition of extending financial aid to artists in their acquaintance, Gottlieb and his wife Esther built their Foundation with the intention of helping mature artists in financial need. Individual grants are offered to artists who have at least 20 years of artistic production behind them but are facing financial difficulty. Emergency grants are also offered to mature artists beset by catastrophes such as fire or flooding. Adolph Gottlieb has left a rare legacy to the art world: incomparable work and compassionate giving.

Graham Foundation
The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts wants to more people to experience architecture in different ways, and so their grants are destined to individuals and organizations that find new approaches that help people to see, feel and think about architecture. The Graham Foundation is open to a wide variety of grantees, as long as their projects “expands the boundaries of thinking about architecture and space.” Clearly, there is scope for artistic interpretation here!

Hamdan International Photography Award
While Dubai is known for enormous wealth and a frantic pace of development, there is a movement to assure that culture and the arts also have place here, and the Hamdan International Photography Award is one of its more high-profile initiatives. The annual competition is organized around a broad theme such as “ Love of Earth” or “Beauty of Light,” with chosen categories in which to channel submissions that conform to the content rules (participants should read them carefully). The Award comes with a Dubai-sized $120,000 Grand Prize and a total of $400,000 in prizes for the thematic categories, all of which contributes to the sense that the arts are becoming a priority in Dubai.

Ian Parry Scholarship
Established to honour the life of London Sunday Times photojournalist Ian Parry, who died while on assignment at the age of 24, this scholarship intends to bring positive momentum to the careers of young photographers. Students in a photography program or photographers under the 24 are eligible for the £3,500 prize, which comes with a number of equally rewarding “benefits,” including publication in the Sunday Times Magazine, photo gear from Cannon, a nomination for the Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam, a spot in Getty Images’ Emerging Talent group as well as a paid assignment for Save the Children.

Ideas Tap Award
The annual Ideas Tap Photographic Awards, offered in association with the Magnum Photo Agency, is one of the many useful ways that UK-based arts charity Ideas Tap works to support young emerging artists. There are two award categories:16 to 22 year olds and the 23 to 30 age group, and while there is only one overall winner in each section, there are 12 finalists that benefit from a mentoring session with a Magnum photographer, and 6 of those finalist receive a £1,500 grant to help finance a photo project, as well as a place in the Ideas Tap exhibition. The overall winners receive £5,000 and two enviable internships at Magnum: one week with the Magnum in Motion team in New York, and a six-week paid internship with Magnum in London.

Inge Morath Award
Ingeborg Morath Miller, longstanding member of Magnum Photos and legendary photojournalist, is the inspiration for a prize that rewards exceptional work from women documentary photographers. Established and financed by Morath’s colleagues at Magnum as a tribute to her, the award is administered by the Inge Morath Foundation, while Magnum photographers select the finalists. Every year, links to the work of winners and finalists are added to the site, creating a gallery of excellent photojournalism.

Istanbul Photo Awards
Initiated by the venerable Anadolu Photo Agency, the Istanbul Photo Awards rewards outstanding work in news and sports photography. Free to enter and adjudicated by a typically high profile international jury, the Istanbul Photo Awards rewards the most meaningful images of the year with a place in the photo exhibition that travels from Ankara to New York, via Istanbul and Vienna, as well as in a stylish publication that can be downloaded from the site.

John Gutmann Fellowship 
Not only did German-born, San Francisco-based photojournalist and teacher John Gutmann leave a lasting legacy of images documenting American life from the Depression era well into the 1990s, he also created a foundation that continues to encourage emerging photographers through the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship. The Foundation offers annual awards of between $5,000 to $10,000 to “an emerging artist who exhibits professional accomplishment, serious artistic commitment, and need in the field of creative photography.” Details for fellowship eligibility are outlined on the site, as well as galleries full of Gutmann’s luminous work.

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Since 1925, the venerable John Simon Guggenheim Foundation has awarded annual Fellowships to many disciplines, including photography. Supporting individuals only, the Foundation attributes substantial grants to “assist research and artistic creation.” Past Fellows include mature photographers such as Gilles Peress, Eugene Smith and Diane Arbus. Extensive information on the Fellowships, which are only offered to applicants from the Americas, is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Kentucky Foundation for Women Grants
Women making art within a feminist framework can apply for support from two sources: the Artist Enrichment grant that funds individual artists and art organizations that promote social change, or the Art Meets Activism grant that is aimed at artists and organizations that engage others in art-based social change projects. Through these two grants, the KFW distributes $200,000 in grants annually, a real commitment to the feminist art scene in Kentucky and beyond.

Leeway Foundation
“Funding for women and trans artists creating social change,” Pennsylvania’s Leeway Foundation provides granting opportunities for artists that whose work takes on issues outside of mainstream culture. The Foundation offers two grants: the Transformation Award is an annual $15,000 prize awarded to women and trans artists with at least 5 years of artistic production that addresses social change, and the $2,500 Art and Change Grant that is awarded to support social change art projects. The site provides a good description of the qualities, ranging from “visionary” to “bridge-builder,” that Leeway is looking to find and to nurture in their Delaware Valley arts community.

Leica Oskar Barnack Award
An international jury awards the Leica Oskar Barnack Award to professional photographers whose “unerring powers of observation capture and express the relationship between man and the environment.” Named for the inventor of the legendary Leica camera, and a pioneer of documentary photography, the Oskar Barnack prize is 10,000 Euros and an equivalent amount in Leica photographic gear that rewards work that breaks new ground in exploring the connection between humanity and the environment.

Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award
Leica camera inventor and documentary photography pioneer Oskar Barnack is the inspiration for the annual Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award, an invitation to photographers aged 25 and under to submit their best work to the contest’s online site. The rewards include a Leica rangefinder camera and lens worth 10,000 Euros, a cash prize of 5,000 Euros, and of course, vital recognition at the start of one’s career. 

Lens Culture Exposure Awards
Nine jurors sift through over 10 000 images submitted by photographers from 62 countries in an open and inclusive call for pictures that yields an eclectic field of top-notch photography. The six winning photographers share a group show in London and an individual gallery on the Lens Culture site.

Luceo Student Project Award
LUCEO, the “Creative Visual Agency,” does not simply conceive of image-based stories for others, it is also very invested in nurturing the vision of emerging photographers. The Agency’s Student Project Award is structured to give more than financial support to its annual laureate: there is hardware and software gear, passes to the annual LOOK Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia, a paid assignment from AARP as well as a paid interview on CNN. Finally, LUCEO itself offers a year-long mentorship to the winning student in order to help them realize a significant body of work and set the stage for an important career.

Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Prize
The Prize, awarded annually to one filmmaker and one photographer, recognizes documentary work that goes beyond observation and incites real change in some of the most intractable situations in the world. This quote, dedicated to the 2014 MRO Prize winner Camille LePage, slain while on assignment, gives a sense of the level of commitment and professionalism that is being honoured: “The MRO Foundation Prize — the highest honour we give to a documentary photographer or filmmaker — was not created as a means to reward merely greatness of the individual, but greatness of the soul, of compassion, of an eyewitness that transcends well above the self.”

National Arts Policy Database
Americans for the Arts, a long time arts advocacy organization, has created a database of resources for individual artists that covers issues from artist’s space to health and safety. The “Funding” section helpfully displays the abstracts and contents of a variety of publications on arts funding in North America.

National Geographic Photo Contest
National Geographic’s photo contest is a hugely popular event in the photo world, and not solely because of the cash prize – the chance to be published in this venerable and vital magazine was enough to inspire entries from 150 countries last year. In typical National Geographic fashion, the rules, FAQs, and galleries of images from former winners are all clearly laid out in friendly and encouraging language. Past winners and editors’ favorites photos galleries will give participants an idea of how high the bar is. They make for compulsive viewing for the rest of us!

National Geographic Young Explorers Grant
National Geographic has a very long history of supporting promising young explorers in disciplines that include archaeology, biology, ecology, geography and photography. Offered to American and international candidates between 18 and 25 years old, Young Explorers Grants are designed to cover the costs of research, conservation and exploration projects that address National Geographic’s own broad mandate: “understanding – and improving – the world we share.”

Nikon Photo Contest
The Nikon Photo Contest has been going for more than three decades, a period that has seen vast changes in the medium. The digital era has changed the dynamics of photography: who makes pictures, how they make them and how photos get seen has been blown wide open. The Nikon Contest acknowledges this by selecting its judges from around the world and broadening categories for types of images. In this way, Nikon has re-imagined its photo contest as a meeting place for the new diversity at play in photography, and the winners’ galleries are a small example of what’s out there.

NPPA Short Grants
The National Press Photographers Association wants to reassert the importance of the community photo story; the kind of micro-level journalism that has yielded compelling, Pulitzer Prize-winning stories in the past, but that is increasingly hard to fund in this rapidly changing media landscape. NPPA Short Grants award small-scale local photo projects with a $3000 grant towards completion. Applications are judged, as they should be, on the strength of the story and on the power of the images.

NPPA Student Scholarship
Undergraduate and graduate students studying photojournalism can submit their portfolios for a chance at part of the National Press Photographers Association’s $14 000 in student scholarships. The NPPA also offers the Still and Multimedia and TV News Scholarships, memorial scholarships which are both worth $2000.

OjodePez Award for Human Values
Offered in the context of the annual PhotoEspaña festival, the OjodePez Award targets documentary photography committed to themes of solidarity, social justice and ethics. OjodePez (or Fish Eye), the respected photo documentary magazine, offers the annual 2000 euro award as a means of inspiration and support for the sort of “human values” documentary projects that they typically publish. The judges are recruited from recognized galleries, magazines, blogs and museums.

Open Meadows Foundation
Open Meadows Foundation is a grant-making organization that supports the kind of projects that stand up for social justice and disenfranchised groups and communities. Grants of up to $2000 are available to initiatives that are led by and are a benefit to women. Projects that might otherwise struggle for funding, those that address subjects such as gender, race and economic disparity should consider Open Meadows.

Open Society Institute
Financier–philanthropist George Soros envisions a world where respect rules: respect of the individual and respect of the institutions of democracy. The Open Society Institute is Soros’s contribution towards shaping this world. The Institute is a grant-making foundation that “aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform.” It does this through financial support of local and international projects (including photographic projects), but also by implementing a range of initiatives that deal with issues which are truly impressive in scope: freedom and democracy, human rights, education, public health and access to care as well as transparency and access to information. If these goals seem improbably ambitious, check the web site for a list of the accomplishments and works in progress, and be impressed. 

Open Society Audience Engagement Award
The Open Society Documentary Photography Project funds the kind of photo documentary work that incites viewers to action. Through its Audience Engagement Grant Program, Open Society offers two levels of support: Project Development, which provides photographers in the early stages of their projects with resources and community through an annual professional development retreat. A second level, Project Implementation, offers funding and professional support to photographers whose projects meet the Audience Engagement’s active social engagement criteria.

Open Society Production Grants
With a goal of opening up the discussion on human rights in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan, Open Society Production Grants offer documentary photographers and photojournalists from these areas the practical and financial support to do important work. Ten grants of $3,500 USD are framed by educational support and mentorship in the form of two master-level workshops on visual storytelling through photography and multimedia that are taught in the region by internationally respected photographers. Open Society looks for photographers, either professional or emerging, who are committed to their country and to the larger mission of building a civil society.

Photographic Museum of Humanity Grants
The Photographic Museum of Humanity, an online gallery of international photography whose mission is inclusion, has created an open international contest that aims to support talented photographers and highlight emerging talents. Photographers working in any genre can submit a series of work for review from the international jury, free of any entry fee but contingent on PMH photographer’s account. The same criteria apply for the special “New Generation” grant for photographers under the age of 25. In all, there are $4000 in cash prizes on offer and pride of place in the “Winners” gallery.

Photographies de l’année
This is a contest open to French speaking professional photographers from around the world – if you can read the rules, you can enter. Photographers from all over the French-speaking world compete in 15 thematic categories where they can employ any process they choose. Category winners come away with a trophy and gifts, while the winner of THE Photographie de l’année, chosen among the 15, is awarded 3000 euros.

Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography
Documentary film-maker and long time champion of independent film Robert Gardner is responsible for a fellowship at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology that helps documentary photographers to create a body of work that examines the “human condition anywhere in the world.” This is not, however, an open competition: an international panel of curators, academics and professional photographers suggests nominees to the Fellowship committee that selects the winner. The Gardner Fellowship features a “generous” stipend that sustains the creation of the work, followed by its publication through the Museum’s press. Past Fellows are featured on the site with small galleries of their work.

Rory Peck Training Fund
Future photojournalists are supported and mentored through grants, workshops and portfolio reviews, yet, the knowledge that is arguably the most vital to a career in the field is rarely spoken of: hostile environment training. The Rory Peck Training Fund targets its training grants to freelance journalists, those who work without the support of an organization and could be most in need of the expensive training. Freelance journalists, photographers, cameramen and filmmakers who have at least 18 months of international work behind them can apply for a bursary that covers much of the cost of an approved hostile environment training course – invaluable training for the real world crisis journalism.

Tim Hetherington Grant
Photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington was killed while on assignment in Libya in 2011, a loss that inspired Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo to create an annual memorial grant that supports the completion of projects that explore human rights issues. Beyond the themes of social justice, judges look for the qualities that were inherent in Tim Hetherington’s own photography: “work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and longer-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.” The annual € 20.000 prize is open to professional photographers who have participated in a recent World Press Photo Contest.

Terry O’Neill Award
Terry O'Neill, one of the original rock & roll photographers, has had such a celebrated career that Britain’s Royal Photographic Society created an annual award in his name, one that looks to get exceptional work seen by a panel of equally celebrated judges (including O’Neil himself). There is £6500 in cash prizes to be divided among the winners, as well as a showcase in the London Sunday Times Magazine and exhibitions in the U.K. and abroad.

Urban Photographer of the Year
Calling for images of the city at all times of the day and night, this prize honors images of the urban experience. The subject can be any city world-wide, and themes to work from include architecture, environment, work, cityscape and transportation. Prizes come in the form of photo gear for runners-up, but The Urban Photographer of the Year wins a trip to the country: a photo safari!

Yarka's Fund
Named in honor of a young photojournalist, Yarka Vendrinska, who valued the personal and empathetic role of old school photojournalism. To mark her passing and most of all to help support the work that she loved, Yarka’s parents created the Yarka Vendrinska Photojournalism Memorial Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation. The Fund offers grants for nonprofits that provide education, training and travel assistance to young photographers. Individuals can benefit from these funds through a nonprofit.