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Catalyze 2024: Dr. Kanika Tomalin

Ashley Morales

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We’re asking thought leaders, business people and creatives to talk about the upcoming new year and give us catalyzing ideas for making St. Pete a better place to live. What should our city look like? What are their hopes, their plans, their problem-solving ideas? This is Catalyze 2024.

It was a “full-circle” year for Dr. Kanika Tomalin, who in 2023 returned to lead an organization she helped create a decade ago. 

In June, Tomalin took the helm at Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. As the new President and CEO, she’s in charge of fulfilling the nonprofit’s mission of improving health equity in Pinellas County. 

“It’s been a really monumental year for the organization overall,” said Tomalin. “We relaunched the Center for Health Equity in January and have had a very strong programmatic year focusing on two areas of impact, BIPOC mental health and wellness and economic equity and justice. We’ve also brought on a lot of talented team members and look forward to great things ahead.”

One of the core pillars of Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg’s (FHSP) mission is to fund, amplify and accelerate the work of other organizations in the community committed to health equity. In 2023, FHSP partnered with Bayfront Health to award $3 million in grant funding to local organizations. Tomalin said the organization plans to continue making progress on its current strategy and take a longer-view look at the future.

“We spent much of this year developing the RFP process and arming the community with readiness to excel through our grant-making work in the areas of mental health and wellness and economic equity and justice,” said Tomalin. “We are also beginning work on a three-to-five-year strategy that we will develop over the course of the next year that’s designed to really crystallize the foundation’s focus and the ways that it works with the community and how we can measure our impact and be clear about the difference we make.”

Tomalin also said the foundation’s partnerships will be key in helping advance racial and health equity in the coming year, noting that St. Pete is a rarity in how the city and county government, most significant corporate leaders and nonprofit sectors come together around some of the community’s most vulnerable.

“It’s really a special time in the city, and the city really has a unique commitment to the elevation of equity as one of the key priorities,” said Tomalin. “The deep understanding of the role that equity plays in our city’s ability to fulfill its potential is a differentiator for our community and one of the reasons why St. Pete will continue to develop into a next-level city.

“The cross-sector collaboration that the residents of this community can count on as it relates to equity is standard-setting, and people across our nation look to our community as an example of what can be done when the private, public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors all come together around the shared goal of ensuring the best for all of the people who are fortunate to call this community home.”

 

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