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2021 Passion Projects visual storytelling grant application now open for submission

DEADLINE: 11:59 p.m. on July 9

The Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington Pro Chapter and Northwest Journalists of Color are opening up applications for this year’s Passion Projects grants. 

Visual journalists in Washington state with a strong story idea are encouraged to apply for $2,000 and $1,000 grants. Thanks to the resounding support of our community during this year’s online print auction, we will be offering a total of $6,000 in grant funding to support visual storytelling projects

Submit your application via the 2021 Passion Projects Visual Storytelling Grant Application form by 11:59 p.m. on July 9.

These grants are funded by SPJ Western Washington. Members of the NW Photojournalism community and beyond generously donated dozens of prints to help support fundraising for the grants this year.

 SPJ Western Washington Passion Project Grants:

  •  $2,000 – First place grant
  • $1,000 – Second place grant


 Northwest Journalists of Color / SPJ Western Washington Passion Projects Grants:

  • $2,000 – First place grant
  • $1,000 – Second place grant


Grant proposals must be based in visual storytelling and focus on issues of social, environmental, economic, or political concern. Projects must follow the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics. Northwest Journalists of Color and SPJ Western Washington will arrange for out-of-state judging of the grant applications by industry professionals.


TO APPLY: Please submit the following information via this link:


  •  SYNOPSIS: In fewer than 30 words, write a summary of the project.
  •  BIO: No more than 250 words.
  •  WEBSITE: Please include the photojournalist’s webpage
  •  PLEASE INDICATE: Would you like to be considered for the SPJ Western Washington of the Northwest Journalists of Color Passion Projects grant for journalists of color?
  • PROPOSAL: Please submit a description of your project, up to 750 words. Photographers may propose projects that are already in progress or in the early stages. The projects must be self-initiated and self-funded (rights owned by the photographer). The project can be photographed anywhere around the world but the visual storyteller must currently reside in Washington state. Please include relevant research, contacts and a URL to any photographs associated with the project.


Winners will be announced during early Summer 2021. 


To help with your application, read about how the judges chose previous winners:

2020 Ryan T. Bell, Karen Ducey, Chloe Collyer and Soumita Bhattacharya

2019 Jovelle Tamayo, Amanda Cowan and Sharon H. Chang

2018 Gemina Garland-Lewis and Grant Hindsley

2017 Jovelle Tamayo, Ramon Dompor and Sofia Jaramillo

2016 Meryl Schenker

2015 Matt Mills McKnight and David Ryder




The Pew Research Center reports that photographers and visual journalists have been the newsroom staffers hit hardest by layoffs throughout the United States. Their jobs have been trimmed by about half during the last 10 years. More now than ever, photographers and videographers are self-funding important documentary projects within our communities.

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