Report for America, the national service program that places journalists in under-covered communities, is funding three reporters for an ambitious effort focused on California’s worst-in-the-nation poverty rate and the growing divide between the state’s rich and poor.

The project brings together CALmatters, McClatchy’s five California news organizations and the 25 Digital First newsrooms across the state in a first-of-its-kind joint reporting collaboration. The Report for America journalists will be based at The Fresno Bee, The Mercury News in San Jose and the CALmatters newsroom in Sacramento as part of a team we’re building to bring an unprecedented level of attention to this vital issue.

With millions of Californians living in or near poverty, we’ll cover the important legislative and policy issues and provide on-the-ground reporting about the people who are affected. This significant expansion of Report for America — which started a year ago with 13 reporters, is assigning 60 more in the coming year and plans to have 1,000 working across the country by 2023 — is the first step toward building a substantial longterm statewide initiative. Several donors have already contributed to the launch of our poverty coverage, and we’re in conversations with others who will help us scale it statewide. The coverage will be made available to our 160 media partners across the state, in multiple languages.

This expansion of Report for America is possible because of generous support from many sources, including these:

  • Facebook
  • Google News Initiative
  • Knight Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Heising-Simons Foundation
  • Dirk and Natasha Ziff
  • Galloway Family Foundation
  • Craig Newmark Philanthropies
  • The Tow Foundation
  • Select Equity Group Foundation
  • Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation
  • The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
  • The Joyce Foundation
  • The Steans Family Foundation
  • Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation
  • Duo Collective

We deeply appreciate their support, and we’re grateful that Report for America is embracing and enabling our effort to bring this important coverage to Californians.

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Neil Chase is the Chief Executive Officer of CalMatters. He was formerly Executive Editor at The Mercury News and the East Bay Times and has worked as a journalist at the San Francisco Examiner, Arizona...