Foundation for a Healthy St. Peterburg provides grant to Tampa Bay Times to fund reporting positions

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has given the Tampa Bay Times a $305,000 grant to fund reporting around issues of equity.

The two-year grant will fund salaries and benefits for two reporters and cover small administrative costs.

Margo SnipeMargo Snipe, a recent hire at the Times and a graduate of Georgetown University, will be assigned to the health equity beat. She will focus on health crises that disproportionately affect minority groups. The beat will broadly define health to include social, economic and cultural challenges.

A second reporter will produce enterprise and accountability stories about systemic racism. The reporter might look at policing, education or home lending, among other topics, using data to analyze disparities. That reporter has not been hired.

Mark Katches, the Times’ executive editor, said the grant will allow the newsroom to “cover communities that have been traditionally undercovered and underserved. The kind of reporting we envision will shine a light on disparities and inequities that can ultimately spark change and move Tampa Bay forward.”

The Times, like other newsrooms across the country, has become increasingly reliant on donations and financial support from members of the community. Supporters do not dictate specific stories that are pursued and are not involved in the reporting or editing.

The private foundation was formed in 2013 after the sale of the nonprofit hospital Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. Its goal is to improve the community by advancing racial and health equity.