Blue Earth offers fiscal accountability to the projects we accept for sponsorship. As a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status, Blue Earth is eligible to receive grants and tax-deductible contributions from private foundations, individuals, or other entities.

Blue Earth sponsors documentary projects that educate the public about critical environmental and social issues. We are primarily interested in work that is educational and informational in nature and will consider proposals of any geographic scope involving the photographic and motion picture mediums. Our standard contract sponsors the project for two years.

Along with this fiscal accountability, we also offer other services. When you join our community of visual storytellers, we offer mentorship throughout the life of your project sponsorship, publicity on our blog and newsletters and more depending upon individual needs.

We accept submissions for sponsorship twice each year, January 20th and July 20th. Materials must be received in our offices by the deadline. We announce recipients approximately two months later.

Submission Tips

Projects should:

  • Meet the Blue Earth mission
  • Explain the educational component of their project
  • Show very high quality writing and production values
  • Propose an achievable project in scope, cost,and degree
  • Be innovative; not derivative of existing or past Blue Earth projects
  • Include a thorough budget that reflects the realities of life, including living and working expenses.

Projects should not:

  • Seek funding from Blue Earth
  • Primarily be a means to acquire new photographic equipment
  • Have connections with more appropriate 501(c)3 organizations
  • Be pseudo-scientific in nature.

Application Process

Only electronic applications are accepted, at the email address below. The narrative application should be submitted as a single PDF, named lastname_firstname.pdf. JPEGs should be accessible for download by our office, and videos should be available for online viewing. Please Contact Us for suggestions on free services for sending large image files.

The PDF narrative should include the following information, clearly labeled as separate sections:

  • Brief letter (2 pages or less) describing the proposed project and your previous work
  • Your resume including physical address, phone number, and email. Submissions that do not include contact information will not be considered.
  • Detailed schedule
  • Proposed budget including a line item for your pay
  • A list of sources you plan to approach for funding
  • Three references with complete contact information.

Supporting Materials

For still photography: 20 images of recent work, preferably the same work as your proposed project. Images must:

  • Be 3,000 pixels per side and saved in JPEG format
  • Be named/numbered lastname_firstname_01.jpg, lastname_firstname_02.jpg, etc.
  • Include a caption and copyright in the metadata.

For film projects: samples of recent work, totaling no more than 10 minutes in length, preferably the same work as your proposed project. Video must:

  • Be at least 720p
  • Be hosted on Vimeo, YouTube, or similar service; if password protected, be sure to include credentials for multiple logins by reviewers.

Submission Fee

Submission fee of $30 for members ($60 non-members), check or money order payable to Blue Earth. You may also pay the fee online.

Team Applications

Blue Earth recognizes the collaborative nature of many projects and encourages teams to apply for sponsorship. In addition to the above, team applications should include:

  • A section in the PDF narrative describing the team members and their roles and responsibilities. Please indicate who is the primary contact.
  • Resumes for all core team members.
  • Please address all submissions to contact @

For questions or general mail, please use our contact form.

Important Considerations Before Applying

Before sending in your proposal, please make sure you understand that Blue Earth 501(c)3 sponsorship is a tax status that can be used to approach U.S. companies, foundations, and private individuals for tax-deductible donations. Ordinarily, this tax status will not be useful in seeking funding from sources outside the United States.

Photographers and filmmakers are primarily responsible for developing funding requests for the project. Fiscal sponsorship does not eliminate the substantial amount of work required on your part to secure grants and donations to fund the project.

All requests for funds under the organization’s name are subject to Blue Earth approval and are made on behalf of Blue Earth, which will administer the funds and, after deducting a 5% administration fee, distribute those funds to the project as it progresses. This information will be covered in detail once the project is accepted.

Accepted project photographers and filmmakers are required to sign a sponsorship contract and report to Blue Earth on a regular basis. You will be required to make your best efforts to obtain public exhibitions, screenings, and/or lectures each year of the project in order to further the Blue Earth mission of educating the public about the project.

Blue Earth seeks a diverse project portfolio and subsequently, not all worthy projects can be accepted. Blue Earth may not be able to provide an applicant feedback from the selection panel about their project proposal seeking sponsorship. The selection panel and project portfolio varies somewhat each review round and applicants are encouraged to apply when eligible. If your project falls within our mission statement, we can review your project again in a subsequent submission round.

Please contact us if you have any questions.