2014 Women's Initiative Grant Rules

Applications for the 2014 Alexia Women's Initiative Grant are closed.

The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce the call for entries for the 2014 Women's Initiative Grant which will provide a $25,000 grant for a project to be produced on a significant issue involving and affecting women anywhere in the world.

The Alexia Foundation's main purpose is to encourage and help photojournalists create stories that drive change. While our traditional grant guidelines put no limits on the subject matter for grant proposals, a number of proposals about women's rights in the last few years have been so powerful that we have been compelled to create a grant specifically on issues relating to women.

Unlike the first Women's Initiative grant, which specifically focused on abuse of women in the United States, this call for entries is open to photographers any where in the world and is intended to permit the photographer to produce a serious documentary photographic project encompassing any issue involving women anywhere in the world.

While considering the idea of women's issues, several themes that have been suggested, including: femininity and the culture of abuse; women making a difference, leading, changing things for the better; gender inequality; the direct connection to women and education, and the impact on birth rates, health of children and the productivity of the women; gender discrimination, women in leadership, women in the military, mental health issues. They are by no means intended to influence your proposal, but they may help you start thinking about this topic. They are, in fact, just general themes.

All applications are expected to adhere to photojournalism ethical standards. Photos may not be digitally manipulated beyond the bounds of standard of traditional darkroom practice (dodging, burning and cropping). Scenes may not be manipulated in anyway. No objects maybe introduced or removed and subjects should not be directed. The exception is portraits, which should be clearly identified as portraits.

The deadline for submission is June 30, 2014 at 2p.m. EST.

We will notify the winner by email or telephone by Sept. 1, 2014.

The winner will have six months or until March 1, 2015 to complete the project.


Photographers and visual journalists from any country may apply for this Grant. Proposals for projects that have already received grants or awards of more than $1,000 in the previous calendar year are not eligible. The Grant is made to an individual photographer; project proposals that involve multiple content producers will not be accepted.

Judging Criteria

The Grant was established to help promote greater awareness of issues surrounding and impacting women. The strength of your proposal will be judged equally to your photographic skills. The Grant goes to those who clearly and concisely propose significant projects that share in the Foundation’s mission and who demonstrate the ability to accomplish their proposals by showing photographs of the highest caliber. Photographs you submit with your proposal may be about your proposal’s subject or of past work that is of a similar type.

We prefer proposals for stories that have not been published. We welcome proposals for projects already in progress.  And we will gladly consider proposals for stories that further expand and develop concepts that have been published already. 
A well-written statement of purpose proposal is required. This is not a portfolio competition. The grant will be awarded to a photojournalist who can write a concise, focused, and meaningful story proposal concerning women’s abuse and who can demonstrate the ability to visually execute that story with compelling images. There is no mathematical formula for determining grantees, but the proposal and photography must both be considered of the highest quality.
The Alexia Foundation expects to assist the photographer in creating a multimedia production of the finished work. This can be done with still pictures only, but we encourage proposals from photographers with multimedia experience. 
Applications will be judged in two rounds. First, members of the Alexia photojournalism advisory board, the Alexia Board and its executive advisors will review portfolios and move those demonstrating strongest visual storytelling skills to a second round. 
In the second round, judges first read and rank the story proposals for all those portfolios brought forward. If no judge thinks the proposal is worth considering, the portfolio will not be reviewed in the second round. A winner is chosen based on the judges' determination of the combination of the strongest proposal and photography.

Grant of Rights

All applicants understand, acknowledge and agree that should they be awarded a Grant, said Grant recipient retains the copyright to his/her photograph(s), and explicitly grants the Foundation, its licensees, affiliates and their designees an irrevocable, non-exclusive perpetual royalty-free license to use, copy, publish, distribute, screen and display such Grant-related photographs, photo stories, picture essays, multimedia or photo-documentary projects, in any and all manner, form/medium/media now known or hereafter created, and in any publication, advertising, marketing, venue or program sponsored or authorized by the Foundation for the advancement of its mission and goals, including but not limited to educational, promotional and fundraising purposes at the Foundation’s sole discretion, without additional permission or consideration, or notification to the Grant recipient or any third party.

The Alexia Chair at Syracuse University may also use entry materials as part of his educational responsibilities.

Each applicant warrants and represents that every photograph submitted with such applicant’s Grant entry is his/her own original work and that he/she has the unrestricted right to grant to the Foundation the license described above.

Alexia Grants will be awarded subject to these additional terms:

The license granted herein by the applicant to the Foundation for use of photographs submitted with the applicant’s Alexia Grant application shall be extended in all its terms to all works created by the applicant in the course of any project funded in any part by the applicant’s Alexia Grant.

Each applicant shall be deemed to have consented to the use of his/her name, portrait, and/or picture by the Foundation in promotional and public relations materials or for any other purpose related to the Alexia Grant program or the Foundation.

Each applicant shall agree to reasonable requests by the Foundation to present such applicant’s work and/or represent the Foundation at photography workshops, seminars and/or conventions, provided that any necessary expense associated with such presentations is paid by the Foundation.

Each applicant shall be responsible for determining his or her own tax liability arising from acceptance of the Alexia Grant, and for satisfaction of any such liability.

Application Procedure

Your application must include the items listed below – there is no form to fill out in advance. Once those are ready, click the submit button at right and follow instructions from there.

Written Elements

Submit these as either Word or PDF documents.

Synopsis: In not more than twenty-five (25) words, write a synopsis of your project.

Proposal: A written proposal of not more than 750 words to produce a body of work comprised of still or multimedia that will explore issues affecting women. You may propose projects that are already in progress. Any proposal over 750 words will be cut off at that word limit; judges will only see the first 750 words.

Do not put your name or other identifying information on your proposal. All applications will be judged anonymously. 

Only one application per person each year will be accepted.

Resume: A resume which shall include your phone numbers and address along with the names and phone numbers of three (3) references. Do not send any letters of recommendation.

If you are a staff photographer: Professional Grant applicants who are staff photographers must provide written permission from their employer granting them a leave of absence of approximately three (3) months over the course of a year to allow time to complete their project. It is not necessary for this time to be taken in a single block. While all other application elements will be submitted online, the letter of permission must be mailed to:

Mike Davis
The Alexia Competition
Professional Division
S.I. Newhouse School of Communications
215 University Place
Syracuse NY 13244-2100 


Submit a body of work consisting of no more than twenty (20) photographs. Each image must have a caption. The photos may but do not have to pertain to your proposed story. They should demonstrate your ability to accomplish your proposed project. All photographs not related to your story proposal must have been taken within the past two (2) years. There is no time limit on pictures that relate to your story proposal.

Image Preparation: Digital photo files must be formatted as medium-quality JPEG images at 2000 pixels at the longest dimension at 72 dpi. Each image must have a caption. Captions will be read from your inserted metadata, or you may submit captions during the entry process. Do not include your name in captions.??If you propose a multi-media project, please provide URLs for no more than two (2) of your multimedia presentations. These may relate to your proposal, or not.

Entry Rules


1. The Alexia Foundation contest is open to student and professional photographers.

2. All entries must include the personal and academic/professional details of the participants in the resume, as well as a full specification of all digitally submitted images in the form of all required metadata.

3. Before you will be able to enter the contest, you must accept the entry rules and the declaration.

4. All applicants acknowledge and agree that effective with the awarding of each Alexia Grant, the Foundation shall have a perpetual non-exclusive royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute and display, in any medium and in any publication, venue or program sponsored or authorized by the Foundation for the advancement of its mission and goals, any and all photographs submitted with each winning application. Each applicant warrants and represents that every photograph submitted with such applicant's Alexia Grant entry is his/her own original work and that he/she has the unrestricted right to grant to the Foundation the license described below.

5. The photographer grants the Alexia Foundation permission to use material submitted in the contest and selected by the jury indefinitely and without any remuneration being due, in its online archive showcasing the results of previous contests.

6. The Women's Initiative Grant recipient is obligated to provide to the Foundation their completed project in the form of two (2) CDs (or DVDs) of high-resolution digital files (min. 300 dpi) of no fewer than sixty (60) images, along with their personal selection of no more than twenty (20) clearly marked and captioned images. 

This must be completed and sent by traceable form (such as registered mail, FedEx, DHL) to the Foundation by March 1, 2015. One disk should be sent to the Foundation at Syracuse  (Alexia Foundation, Syracuse University Newhouse School, 215 University Place, Syracuse, NY 13244-2100). The second disk should be sent to The Alexia Foundation Headquarters (The Alexia Foundation P.O. Box  87 Bloomingdale, NJ 07403). Finally, the project should also be submitted digitally to eileen@alexiafoundation.org. 

7. Recipients of any Alexia Grant award(s) agree that the Alexia Foundation be given credit when photographs from the Alexia project are published or displayed as follows: “[Grant recipient’s credit]/Alexia Foundation.”

8. The photographer guarantees that to the best of his/her knowledge no third party can claim rights or raise objections to publication/reproduction/distribution of the material submitted.

General rules

9. Picture stories must contain no less than 6 and no more than 20 images. Portfolios of more than 20 images will not be accepted.

10. Images can only be entered once, either as a single image or as part of a picture story. Images submitted more than once will not be accepted.

Material specifications

11. Digital images must meet the following specifications:
• Each image should be formatted as medium-quality JPEG images at no more than 2000x1500 pixels for landscape, or 1500x2000 pixels for verticals (72dpi preferred).
• Each image must have a caption. We read captions from file info, or you can insert captions during the entry process.
• An embedded ICC profile is required. AdobeRGB or sRGB is recommended for color images, Gamma 2.2 for black and white. No CMYK.

12. All required image information, such as the creation date, place and country as well as the caption/description, must be included in the metadata of the image files or typed in manually.

13. The content of the image must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed. The jury is the ultimate arbiter of these standards and may at its discretion request the original, unretouched file as recorded by the camera or an untoned scan of the negative or slide.

Submission of entries

14. Images can be uploaded as .jpg files.

15. The closing date for the 2014 Women's Initiative Grant is 5 p.m. EST on June 30. 

16. All winners will be contacted immediately after the results of the contest have been decided.

17. The conditions set out in the entry rules and in the declaration are binding.

18. The Alexia Foundation expects all participants to act in accordance with the guidelines of professional conduct as laid down in the Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists of the International Federation of Journalists. See:


If you are uncertain about any of these requirements, please contact Alexia Chair Mike Davis at 315-443-7388 or by e-mail at info@alexiafoundation.org.