A memo from The Washington Post leadership to staff says the grant of a half-million dollars will allow four new hires. In May, the Ford Foundation granted the Los Angeles Times $1 million to "focus on the Vietnamese, Korean and other immigrant communities, the California prison system, the border region and Brazil." It was part of an initiative, the Foundation said, to experiment with "new approaches to preserve and advance high-quality journalism."

We are pleased to announce that the Ford Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to The Washington Post to expand its government-accountability reporting at the national and local levels. The grant will be used to fund four new newsroom positions to work on special projects related to money, politics and government. The Foundation’s support enables us to build on one of our central missions, and the terms of the grant give us complete editorial independence.

The one-year grant -- with an agreement in principle for two additional years -- is part of the Foundation’s Freedom of Expression program, an initiative aimed at promoting journalism in the public interest. This program supports nonprofits, such as ProPublica and National Public Radio, and recently made a grant to the Los Angeles Times. (The Ford Foundation is not connected to the Ford Motor Company.)

Assistant Managing Editor Jeff Leen will supervise the work of this new team, working with editors on other staffs. Its work will augment the work of Jeff’s investigative unit, which remains a centerpiece of The Post’s newsroom.

Marcus, Liz, John, Shirley

Previously: Ford Foundation gives Los Angeles Times $1 million grant

Disclosure: The Poynter Institute is currently a Ford Foundation grantee.