Membership Puzzle Project and Media Development Investment Fund are offers Membership in News Fund in 2020. This is a global fund to catalyze membership design in newsrooms around the world.

The Membership in News Fund provides financial and venture support to help news organizations build strong and flexible relationships with their audience members that can drive greater sustainability and impact – and help expand the journalism field’s understanding of what works.

Membership Puzzle Project first launched the Membership in News Fund in 2018. The $700,000 fund supported 23 membership experiments in 13 countries with grants between $10,000 and $60,000 each. Grant recipients received funding, targeted coaching, and an opportunity to join a global community of practice built around membership.

Ahead of Membership Puzzle Project’s August 2021 sunset, they’re reopening the fund to support membership development projects in the following regions: Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia (the U.S. and Western Europe are out of scope).

Worth of Award

  • The 2020 fund totals $400,000, and they will give a maximum award of $40,000 per proposal.
  • Applicants will be asked to propose a grant amount that is commensurate with the cost of implementing their proposal.


  • They encourage applications from sites that publish coverage that is local/place-based; national (and with further reach); and subject matter/topical.
  • They’ll consider relevant projects from non-profit, for-profit, and cooperatively owned news organizations.
  • There is a strong preference for proposals from the following countries where Luminate already supports independent media: Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, India, and Myanmar. However, strong applications from other countries where MDIF works in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe are also eligible.
  • Eligibility is determined based on what you cover, where your primary audiences live, and/or where the majority of your staff is based, rather than the country your entity is officially registered in. (This is because MPP and MDIF understand that it can be challenging for news organizations to register in the countries they cover.)

To be eligible for consideration for the Membership in News Fund, a media organization must also meet these Media Development Investment Fund criteria:

  • have a reputation for providing unique, credible, independent news, information or debate in the public interest;
  • produce a significant amount of content that (a) is news and information and/or (b) provides a range of political opinions and promotes informed societal debate. The applicant must be independent from the government or of any other interest group;
  • have a record consistent with fostering democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, and dignity and equal rights for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other subjects of discrimination;
  • be legally registered according to all applicable laws;
  • have no part owned by a government or state agency, a foreign legal entity or any political or economic interest. This restriction may be waived where the applicant’s editorial independence is not in question.

How to Apply

  • To begin the application process, please submit the brief registration of interest.

Deadline: They will accept registrations of interest until 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 6, 2020 (find the form below). You will be notified by Nov. 13 if you have been invited to formally apply to the fund. The entire selection process will conclude before the end of 2020, with funding and support to be received beginning in January.

Click here for more details and to apply