RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Grant amount: US $25,000

Next anticipated deadline: Nov 4, 2020 12:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Jan 16, 2021 12:00pm PST (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity

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

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

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

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About this funder:




The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize elevates the compelling stories of community members throughout the country who are working together in new ways so that everyone can live their healthiest life possible, regardless of who they are or how much money they make. A Culture of Health recognizes that where we live—such as our access to affordable homes, quality schools, and reliable transportation—affects how long and how well we live. The Prize elevates the compelling stories of community members who are working together to transform neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and more—so that the opportunity for better health flourishes for all.

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 and equity 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 collaboration 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 residents from excluded or marginalized populations and those most affected by poor health are involved as full participants in making decisions and driving solutions; and
  • what actions they are taking to remove obstacles and increase opportunities for all to be health

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, and fostering leadership skills and capacity among all community members.

Communities are encouraged to demonstrate how they are:

  • inspiring people to take action to support change for better health;
  • developing methods for buy-in, decision-making, and coordinated action;
  • building a shared sense of accountability; and
  • continuously communicating about community improvement efforts.

Securing and making the most of available resources.

Building a Culture of Health means adopting an enterprising spirit toward community 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; making equitable decisions about how to invest resources; and cultivating a strong belief that everyone in the community can be a force to improve the community so that all people can live their healthiest lives possible. Communities are encouraged to demonstrate how they are creatively approaching the generation, allocation, and alignment of diverse financial and non-financial resources to improve the community’s health and well-being.

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 measurable 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.

What Prize Winners Receive

In this seventh round of the annual Prize competition, up to 10 winning communities will:

  • Receive a $25,000 cash prize;
  • Receive customized communications materials about their community including videos, photos, and stories captured by journalists and other communications professionals;
  • Receive strategic communications counsel leading up to, during, and in follow-up to the Prize winner announcement;
  • Receive national and local promotion of their stories and successes to inspire others’ efforts, including outreach to media, policy stakeholders and organizational networks; and
  • Engage in opportunities to build knowledge with other national and community leaders working to build a Culture of Health, including past Prize winners through the Prize Alumni Network.

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


  • Eligibility
    • The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors U.S. communities;
      • With the exception of previous Prize winners and 2019 finalists, all past applicants are eligible to reapply for 2020 (2019 finalists may reapply in 2021).
    • Meet the definition of a community.
      • 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 defined as contiguous municipalities, counties, and/or reservations
        • * Communities within U.S. territories are welcome to apply. Communities in places that may have unique governance structures (such as U.S. territories, Alaska, and Hawaii) should contact the Prize program with eligibility questions well in advance of the application deadline.
    • Designate a local U.S. governmental entity or tax exempt public charity operating in its community to accept the $25,000 Prize on the community’s behalf, should they win.
      • Community partners can decide together how to use the funds to benefit the community; budget reports on Prize expenditures are not required.


    • Submissions representing the work of a single organization will not be considered.
    • Neighborhoods and states are not eligible to apply.