The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced grants totaling up to $2.4 million to twelve local coalitions across the country working to improve the health of people living in those communities.
Chosen from a pool of more than three hundred applicants, the grantees will receive up to $200,000 each over two years to build consensus for and implement policy and systems changes that address factors connected to health, including education levels, income and employment, community safety, and social connectedness. Awarded through RWJF's County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the grants will be managed by Community Catalyst, a Boston-based nonprofit advocacy organization.
Funded projects include an effort to advocate for tax policies that help low-income families in Kentucky retain more of their income — money that can be spent on health improvements such as regular doctor's visits and weight-loss or smoking cessation services; preparing all children in New Mexico for academic, health, and economic success by advocating for policies that create, fund, and sustain a high-quality universally accessible continuum of early-childhood care, health, and education services; and boosting the number of consumer-focused banking services available to low-income residents in Alameda County, California, as well as educating community members about the health and economic benefits of such services.
"These projects are really exciting for two reasons," said James S. Marks, senior vice president and director of the health group at RWJF. "First, they are truly collaborations among diverse community partners who bring expertise, relationships, and resources to improve people's health; and second, that in addition to health behaviors such as smoking and diet, they are focused on factors such as education, family relationships, and income that heavily influence our health and quality of life."