Searchlight awarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant

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Searchlight New Mexico is the recipient of a major two-year grant for news coverage “directed toward child well-being, policy change, and a healthy, just New Mexico,” the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced Nov. 13.

“From the outset, Searchlight New Mexico has put a special emphasis on child well-being, because there is no bigger problem impacting the state,” said Ray Rivera, founder and chairman of the board of Searchlight New Mexico.“This aligns perfectly with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s vision for a Culture of Health in America, with special attention paid to giving children a healthy start in life focus.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted to health and health care. For more than 45 years, the foundation has focused its grantmaking in the area, among others, of promoting healthy communities.

“We believe that high-quality early education, coordinated social services and medical care, and supportive economic policies can ensure a healthy start in life,” said Fred Mann, vice president of communications at RWJF. “We see the journalists of Searchlight New Mexico fighting for those same approaches and building an investigative model that can supplement local reporting where it’s needed most.”

Searchlight New Mexico is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to investigative reporting. It is one of about 200 nonprofit journalism organizations in the United States, most founded with a goal to find a viable model for news reporting in the public interest. On a weekly basis since January, Searchlight has distributed stories related to child well-being to 35 newspapers, websites, television outlets and radio stations.

“We’re so pleased that, with the foundation’s generous support, Searchlight New Mexico can continue its critical mission to improve the lives of children in New Mexico,” added Rivera, a former editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican who now serves as the editor for investigative projects at The Seattle Times.

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