Our Criteria

We are looking to fund early-stage nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies in categories including:

  • Emerging media properties & platforms with a culture-first approach;

  • Community-based reporting reaching underserved or overlooked audiences;

  • Innovative, idea-stage proposals and experiments leveraging media and tech;

  • Organizing and advocacy groups developing impactful narratives and communication strategies; and

  • Tech tools and platforms driving participation and/or measuring impact.

  1. Regional, state, and local initiatives within and/or serving targeting states

    We are targeting key states on the front lines of the battle for American democracy. These states include: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

  2. Scalable with demonstrated impact and sustainable model

    We have a preference for work that is sustainable and builds progressive power. We’d like to invest in ventures who expect to generate revenue, although they may not now, or who have a plan for a sustainable operating model.

  3. Mission driven with a pro-democracy POV

    We are mission-driven and work to invest in entrepreneurs and activists building progressive power in the United States. We believe that protecting democracy in this climate requires investing in media properties delivering cultural value and fact-based news to historically overlooked Americans.

  4. Diverse, proximate and trusted leadership

    We look for diverse leadership teams with varied skill sets who understand their communities intimately. In our experience, founders with direct experience of the challenges they are working to solve are best positioned to do so. We are especially interested in democratizing access to capital and encourage people who have been historically overlooked by philanthropy and venture capital to apply.

  5. At a stage where $25K in funding would be impactful

    We're looking for early-stage (and even idea-stage) organizations and proposals, which generally means budgets of <$1M. Beyond providing early financial support, we will leverage our existing network to mobilize additional funding to Voices for Democracy funding recipients. Additionally, recipients will gain access to our community of entrepreneurs, activists, and innovators and receive mentorship from our Investments Team.


More information for potential applicants and co-funders

  1. How do I apply?

    We are using a platform called Airtable to process applications, and you can apply here. The application opened on March 22, and will close on May 22 at 11:59 PM PT. We hosted an informational webinar on April 27, and you can view a view the recording here and review the slides here. If you have questions about the open call that are not answered on this page or in the application, please email your question to invest@newmediaventures.org.

  2. What’s the timeline for the open call?

    - March 22:  Accepting applications

    - April 27: Informational webinar for prospective applicants

    - May 22:  Open call closes at 11:59 PM PT

    - June: Due diligence and investment committee meetings

    - July 2023: Final investment decisions made and selected applicants notified

  3. What support do selected organizations receive?

    - $25K to $50K in funding. We typically give unrestricted grants to nonprofits and make investments in for-profits, most often via convertible notes. (Note that we are continuing to fundraise and sign on co-funders throughout the spring to hopefully increase both the number and size of grants/investments.)

    - Access and introductions to NMV's network of institutional and individual funders, and connections with other groups in our portfolio and our ecosystem of allies and partners.

    - Various forms of cohort support and workshops on topics like designing revenue generating strategies, philanthropic fundraising, and building through uncertain financial times.

  4. Who should apply?

    New Media Ventures funds for-profits and nonprofits. We’re looking for scalable solutions from diverse, mission-driven teams. We will consider funding a new project within an existing organization, as well as collaboration proposals from multiple organizations working together to build and scale a solution. Voices for Democracy is best suited for early-stage organizations (pre-seed/seed stage) for which $25K to $50K in funding can make a meaningful difference.

  5. Does New Media Ventures offer other funding opportunities?

    Yes! If Voices for Democracy is not a match for your startup, you may find that our Continuous Investment Cycle is! To get started, please review the criteria here.

  6. Are you still looking for additional funders to join the pooled fund?

    Yes! At NMV we believe that funders are more effective when we work together. That’s why we’re inviting mission-aligned individuals and organizations to join us in supporting the Voices for Democracy open call. For more information, here is our funder-focused deck. If you have additional questions about how to support this project, contact NMV’s Chief of Staff Mia Orans.


Learn more about NMV

Find out more about who we fund and what kind of individuals are in our network. Also explore resources for entrepreneurs in Tools for Change.

Learn More