As journalism feels pressure from business and political forces, civic leaders Ron and Charlene Esserman and their family are donating $2.5 million to help fund investigative journalism in South Florida.
“We want to galvanize people to stand up for change, and that’s what a free press does,” Charlene Esserman said.
On Monday, “The Esserman Family Fund for Investigative Journalism at the Miami Foundation” was established. This accumulated with largess from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will help fund an annual $10,000 top prize and two $1,000 honorable mention prizes for South Florida’s “best accountability” reporting.
Additionally, the $2.5 million funding will also support a $50,000 annual, yearlong investigative reporting fellowship at the Miami Herald for early-career reporters.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Esserman family and their commitment to the critical role of local journalism,” said Aminda Marqués González, Miami Herald publisher, president and executive editor. “Thanks to their gift, we will be adding the first reporter for our Investigative Journalism Lab, expanding accountability reporting of underserved pockets in our community.”