Voice of OC has received a substantial grant from the California Endowment that will help us fund a beat dedicated to community health reporting.
The grant is part of the Endowment's Building Healthy Communities initiative, a 10-year plan to create "communities where kids and youth are healthy, safe and ready to learn."
"The California Endowment is focused on community health because neighborhood environments play a huge role in determining your chances for living a healthy and productive life," said Mary Lou Fulton, the Endowment's program manager for communication and media grants.
"We're pleased to support Voice of OC's in-depth local reporting that will help to shine a spotlight on community health issues in Orange County."
The Endowment -- which is a large, private, statewide health foundation -- has issued similar grants to news organizations throughout California, including The Oakland Tribune, Oakland Local, the Merced Sun-Star and Voice of OC partners California Watch and HealthyCal.org.
"We are extremely proud to have received this kind of support from the California Endowment," said Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana, Jr. "And we believe our coverage -- which seeks to give residents the tools to make their local governments work for them -- can help us all build more vibrant communities."
The Voice of OC staff is brimming with story ideas that you will start seeing on our pages in the coming weeks.
Much of our coverage will focus on holding the elected and appointed leaders accountable for their decisions regarding public health and on shining a light in areas that need improvement.
But at the same time, we will highlight programs that are working and profile individuals who are making a positive difference in the health of their communities.
In addition to our stories, we will be engaging Orange County residents on this important issue through public forums, guest columns and other events. We welcome input from you on all of these levels, so please, don't be shy.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and suggestions.
-- DAVID WASHBURN