The Star Tribune, the Midwest's largest news organization, has promoted a longtime business reporter to lead its community engagement efforts and hired an experienced executive to head up its philanthropic projects.

Kavita Kumar is joining the newsroom's opinion team as its community engagement director, a role that endeavors to seek out commentary pieces and other content that covers various aspects of geography, demographics and political affiliations across Minnesota.

"I am honored and excited to launch this new position for the Star Tribune," Kumar said. "My goal is to highlight more diverse perspectives of Minnesotans from all walks of life and to ensure community voices have a place where they can be heard and be part of the public discourse."

Melissa Wind has also joined the Star Tribune as the media company's first head of philanthropic partnership. She will lead the news organization's initiatives to develop and fund its public service mission in this sphere.

"As a lifetime local committed to fostering community, I can't wait to get started building new initiatives powered by the generous nature of Minnesotans," Wind said. "Philanthropy is that magic that happens when we channel our passion into impact, and there is no denying the immense impact the Star Tribune has across Minnesota."

The two new hires come as the Star Tribune expands its footprint across Minnesota and updates its digital content systems as it undergoes a radical transformation into a modern media company.

Kumar moves to the editorial side of the operation after more than 10 years as a reporter on the business team, most recently focused on writing about the economy. Kumar has covered the retail industry for the Star Tribune, including heavyweights such as Target and Best Buy.

She worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 10 years covering retail, consumer affairs and higher education. She earned a bachelor's degree in American Civilization at Brown University and holds a master's in journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

"Kavita is an extraordinary journalist who has served Minnesota so well with her reporting on the economy, retail, and beyond," Star Tribune Publisher and CEO Steve Grove said. "I'm thrilled to see her elevated into this new role that will help the Star Tribune be much more proactive in bringing new voices into our commentary and opinion report."

Wind has a decade of experience in philanthropic development at Huntington's Disease Society of America, Children's Law Center of Minnesota and the American Cancer Society. She has a bachelor's degree in communications and writing from Metro State University.

"Local news organizations are increasingly turning to philanthropy to support their journalism, as well as initiatives centered on education, media literacy, community engagement and innovation," said Paul Kasbohm, executive vice president and chief revenue officer for the Star Tribune. "We're thrilled to welcome Melissa to the team as we continue to seek new ways to fund our journalistic endeavors."