MDIF has initiated a wide range of projects to support independent media in emerging and frontier markets. Our initiatives focus on three areas at the intersection of philanthropy and media development: building future media; impact investing in media; and creating and measuring social impact.

Activities include:

South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP)

Launched in August 2017, SAMIP is a $4 million, 3-year initiative to accelerate digital media innovation among independent media outlets and encourage new entrants to the South African market. It provides funding and mentorship to help startups and established companies diversify digital revenues and build products that resonate with their audiences. SAMIP fosters innovation in how media find and tell stories, and innovation in developing new and sustainable business models.


MDIF Ventures

MDIF Ventures invests in young media ventures with a positive social impact and the potential to scale. It focuses on projects located or serving audiences in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat. Building on the success of DNV I, which from 2012 to 2015 invested $3.8 million in early-stage digital media companies, MDIF Ventures invests in companies along the early-stage spectrum, from pre-seed ("friends and family" and angel rounds) through to participating in growth or Series A financing rounds.


Southeast Asia Technical Assistance Initiative (SEATAI)

In an increasingly challenging political and economic environment, business skills are vital if independent media in Southeast Asia are to survive and fulfil their mission to provide audiences with reliable news. Launched in 2019, SEATAI matches the specific business development requirements of its media partners with the knowledge and skills of a senior media executive from the region who acts as their coach. It also provides targeted training, small TA grants and a seed equity investment facility.


Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED)

MDIF is partnering in the Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED) program to support the provision of public interest media in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the program is implemented by a consortium of media support organisations with expertise in different aspects of media and development. MDIF has Ethiopia as its main target country, focusing on capacity building and mentoring of selected media companies, with the aim of increasing their sustainability and strengthening their ability to provide the public with accurate, balanced information that enables them to make informed decisions.


European Press Prize

Quality journalism is of vital importance to healthy democracies, especially during a global epidemic of misinformation. Formed by seven media-owning foundations committed to enhancing public debate, including MDIF, the EPP salutes and encourages journalism of the highest quality from all 47 countries of Europe. Prizes are awarded annually for the best investigative reporting, reportage, opinion and journalism innovation.


Membership Puzzle Project

Founded in 2017 with funding from Luminate, the Membership Puzzle Project:

  • Collects what's already known about making membership work.
  • Researches all the ways that community members can contribute.
  • Funds innovative membership models to identify best practices.
  • Synthesizes the key membership lessons.

Since September 2020, MDIF has provided an institutional home for the Membership Puzzle Project.