RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Grant amount: US $25,000

Next anticipated deadline: Nov 3, 2018 12:00pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Jan 18, 2019 12:00pm PST (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity

Funding uses: Research, Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico Expand all

Location of residency: United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico Expand all

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize (the Prize) recognizes communities that have placed a priority on health and are creating powerful partnerships and deep commitments that will enable everyone, especially those facing the greatest barriers to good health, the opportunity to live well. A Culture of Health recognizes that health and well-being are greatly influenced by where we live, learn, work, and play; the safety of our surroundings; and the relationships we have in our families and communities. The Prize elevates the compelling stories of local leaders and community members who together are transforming neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and more—so that better health flourishes everywhere.

Selection Criteria

There are characteristics shared by communities that catalyze and sustain positive change. Because the Prize recognizes whole communities, applicants must think beyond their own individual organizations and initiatives to what has been accomplished across the community. Applications will be judged based on the criteria below.

Defining health in the broadest possible terms.

Building a Culture of Health means using diverse strategies to address the many things that influence health in our communities. This includes all of the factors in the County Health Rankings model of health: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. 

Given the importance of social and economic factors in influencing health outcomes, strategies addressing education, employment/income, family and social support, and community safety are considered crucial elements to achieving a Culture of Health.

Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.

Building a Culture of Health means making thoughtful, data-informed, policy, programmatic, and systems changes that are designed to last. This involves having a strategic approach to problem-solving that recognizes the value of evidence and the promise of innovation. Communities are encouraged to demonstrate how residents, leaders, and organizations are collectively identifying priorities and taking coordinated action to implement sustainable solutions to the health challenges they face.

Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.

Building a Culture of Health means intentionally working to identify, reduce, and ultimately eliminate disparities in health, in partnership with those most affected by poor health outcomes. This includes cultivating a shared commitment to equity across the community; valuing diverse perspectives; and fostering a sense of security, belonging, and trust among all residents. Communities are encouraged to demonstrate:

  • how they are engaging in collective problem solving, including full participation by excluded or marginalized groups and those most affected by poor health in making decisions and driving solutions; and
  • what actions they are taking to remove obstacles and increase opportunities for all to be healthy.

Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.

Building a Culture of Health means individuals and organizations across sectors and disciplines are all working together to provide everyone with the opportunity for better health. This includes building diverse and robust partnerships across business, government, residents, and nonprofit organizations. Communities are encouraged to demonstrate how they are developing methods for buy-in, decision-making, and coordinated action; building a shared sense of accountability; continuously communicating about health improvement efforts; and developing leadership skills and capacity among all community members.

Securing and making the most of available resources.

Building a Culture of Health means adopting an enterprising spirit toward health improvement. This includes critically examining existing and potential resources to maximize value, with a focus on leveraging existing assets; prioritizing upstream investments that address social and economic factors that influence health; and cultivating a strong belief that everyone in the community can be a force to improve health. Communities are encouraged to demonstrate how they are creatively approaching the generation, allocation, and mobilization of diverse financial and non-financial resources to improve health.

Measuring and sharing progress and results.

Building a Culture of Health means beginning with the destination in mind and a commitment to measuring the quality and impact of coordinated efforts. This includes:

  • establishing shared goals across sectors and partners;
  • agreeing on definitions of success, with attention to reducing disparities;
  • identifying measureable indicators of progress; and
  • continuously using data to improve processes, track outcomes, and change course when necessary.

Communities are encouraged to demonstrate how they are developing systems for collecting and sharing information, determining impacts across efforts, and communicating and celebrating successes when goals are achieved.

About the Prize

At RWJF, building a Culture of Health has become the central aim of what we do, with a goal of giving every person across the nation an opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Communities are already leading the way to drive local change, and ensuring all residents have an opportunity to make healthy choices in their schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. The RWJF Culture of Health Prize, a collaboration between RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, is the Foundation's way of honoring communities—urban, rural, tribal, large or small—that are beacons of hope and progress for healthier people, families, and places.

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors and elevates U.S. communities that are making great strides in their journey toward better health.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors U.S. communities; submissions representing the work of a single organization will not be considered.
  • With the exception of previous Prize winners and 2017 finalists, all past applicants are eligible to reapply in 2018 (2017 finalists may reapply in 2019).
  • Meet the definition of a community.
    • A “community” must be a geographically defined jurisdiction within the United States* that falls into one of the following categories:
      • City, town, village, borough, or other municipality with a publicly elected governing body
      • County or parish
      • Federally-recognized tribe or a state-designated Indian reservation
      • Native Hawaiian organization serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii
      • Region (such as contiguous towns, cities, or counties)
    • * Communities within U.S. territories are welcome to apply.


  • Neighborhoods, states, and unincorporated local communities are not eligible to apply.

About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary