Substack Independent Writer Grant Program & FAQ

We are donating $100,000 in grants to independent writers on Substack who are experiencing economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the face of crisis, we’re finding that readers are eager to directly support the creators they care about, because they believe, like we do, that journalism and the arts are more necessary than ever. We hope this will inspire you to create interesting and important work that the world needs right now. 

These grants are designed as quick, supplemental cash payments for writers on Substack, and there are no strings attached. Writers can use the funds for whatever they’d like, including investing in office equipment or materials, research, funding their time, or peace of mind.

Grants will range from $500 and up to $5,000, and recipients will also receive digital mentorship from the Substack team focused on best practices and insights to help grow their publications.

Writers can submit an application for a grant here from Tuesday, March 31 through Tuesday, April 7 at 5:00 pm PDT, and we’ll begin notifying grant recipients on Monday, April 13 through Friday, April 20.

Apply for a grant


What is the grant program all about?

We’re launching a grant program to support independent writers experiencing financial hardship because of the current global pandemic. 

In total, we will be donating $100,000 to writers as well as offering in-kind support, like digital coaching and sharing best practices to help take your publication to the next level. Each grant will range from $500 to $5,000. 

There are no strings attached for the cash grants. You can use the funds for whatever you'd like, including office equipment or materials, research, or funding your time.

Grants are for individuals, not media entities or companies.

Can anybody apply?

Any individual writing, or thinking about writing, on Substack who has been directly affected by the current economic downtown, can apply. Please only apply if you are an individual; we won’t be funding media entities or companies.

I don’t identify as a “writer” per se, but I do have a Substack newsletter. What about me?

Yes, you, too! We’d love to support anyone publishing on Substack who has been affected by the crisis.

How will you send the money?

We will have you fill out a W9 (or W8-BEN, for non-U.S. persons) before arranging to wire you the money directly to your bank account, and we’ll be in touch via email to set things up.

I’m outside of the U.S., can I apply?

Yes - at least, as far as we know! We just need you to fill out a W8-BEN and a way to wire you the funds.

I have a question about applying for a grant. How can I get in touch?

We’ve set up an email here: Due to volume, we may not be able to reach out right away, but we’ll try to get to your inquiry as soon as possible. Please only use this email for questions, not to submit your application. Only applications submitted through this form will be reviewed.

When you say “no strings attached,” what does that mean?

If you're selected for a grant, we’ll be in touch directly by email to arrange payment details. We will also be in touch with some specific and tailored recommendations and best practices to help take your publication to the next level, either by email, phone or video calls. That’s it!

Will you do more grant programs in the future?

Absolutely. This is our first experiment with a grant program, and we hope to create more ways to support writers on Substack. Right now, in addition to the grant program, we have plans to launch a digital fellowship program as an extension of our first fellowship, host virtual meet-ups with writers to share insights, and a few other items in the works. You can follow along on our blog for updates.