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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Sports Award

Awards to USA and Canada Sports Teams and Organizations
that Promote Healthy Communities Through Sport

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Deadline Date:

05/05/21 5:00 PM ET


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Awards of $25,000 to USA and Canada sports teams and organizations to recognize effective uses of sports to foster and sustain healthier communities. Applicants are expected to demonstrate a collaborative and innovative approach to community health improvement and address barriers to vulnerable populations.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Sports Award recognizes professional sports teams, athletes, coaches, and community-based organizations that use sports to catalyze and sustain changes to make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. Through this Award community-based organizations that bring a deep understanding of community needs and acknowledge the power of sports to connect and make people healthier, no matter our race, gender, abilities, or economic background are acknowledged.

There are many barriers that prevent people from living their healthiest lives possible, including socioeconomic status, race, transportation, and ability. An individual’s zip code can significantly impact their quality of life and life expectancy. Where people live shouldn’t determine how long or how well they live. RWJF believes everyone should be surrounded by conditions that help them achieve the healthiest life possible—such as access to healthy food, quality schools, and safe places to exercise and play. Unfortunately, in many communities, there are persistent barriers to health and to opportunities to thrive. For the first time, the world risks raising a generation of children who may live sicker, shorter lives than their parents.

In many sports, there have been racist and oppressive systems that often play a role in women, people of color, and people with disabilities being excluded from places and activities. This program attempts to address those issues by lifting up organizations that provide safe places to play, develop relationships, and build resilience to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs can have serious, long-term impacts on a child’s health and well-being by contributing to high levels of toxic stress that derails healthy development. As seen with past winners and finalists, sports can be used as a vehicle to provide healing, prevent violence, and help youth reach their full potential.

The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered inequities in social determinants to health across communities—along with their significant consequences to physical and mental health. RWJF understands the constraints on typical programming and aims to recognize those that rose to the challenge of supporting their communities. This includes innovative collaboration, temporary transition of goals, and commitment to health equity in a time of crisis.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154396

Number of Grants:

Up to five awards

Estimated Size of Grant:

Each winner receives:
- $25,000 cash prize;
- Eligibility for continued funding through the Opportunity Fund which annually supports past winners.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Foundation will consider applications in the following three categories:
- A professional sports team community relations department or foundation based in the United States or Canada.
- An individual athlete or professional coach's foundation based in the United States or Canada.
- An organization in the United States or Canada that is an influential leader and model for improving community health through sports.

National organizations may submit only one application each. If you are a local “chapter” that falls under the umbrella of or is directly associated with a larger, national organization (for example, Girls on the Run, YMCA, Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs), you are asked to coordinate with the national office—as only the umbrella organization, and not individual chapters, is eligible to apply. Multiple applications will not be accepted. If you submit on behalf of the national office, you are encouraged to highlight the work of your local programs.

If you are an independent sports program, please be sure that you can highlight significant reach and impact and show a successful track record of serving as an influential leader nationally.

Applicants that are not charitable organizations or public entities must apply with an organization that is such an entity and that will receive the prize funds. Additional documentation may be requested.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- March 10, 2021: Call for applications launches on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website
- May 5, 2021 (5:00p.m. ET): Deadline for receipt of online applications
- Week of June 28, 2021: Finalists notified
- Week of September 6, 2021: Winners notified
- Fall 2021: Virtual ceremony

Only submissions through the online application process are eligible. No hard copy materials will be accepted or reviewed.

Eligible organizations must submit their own applications. No third party applications will be accepted.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online application portal:

Direct questions to:
Alisha Greenberg
Director, RWJF Sports Award
Phone: (301) 657-9379

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
50 College Road East
Princeton, NJ 08540-6614
US Toll Free: (877) 843-7953
International: +1 (609) 627-6000

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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