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2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Awards to USA Communities to Recognize
Efforts to Improve Residents' Health

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/18/18 3:00 PM ET


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Prizes of $25,000 and other award benefits to USA and territories local governments, tribes, regions, and nonprofits representing communities that have prioritized health. Initial applications are due November 3. Strong candidates are forming effective partnerships and commitments that will provide all citizens, especially those facing health barriers, with the ability to live well.

A Culture of Health recognizes that health and well-being are greatly influenced by where people live, learn, work, and play; the safety of surroundings; and the relationships present in 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 local 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:

1) 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

2) 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:

1) Establishing shared goals across sectors and partners;
2) Agreeing on definitions of success, with attention to reducing disparities;
3) Identifying measureable indicators of progress; and
4) 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.

Through the RWJF Culture of Health Prize application process, a community comes together to tell their inspiring stories of collaboration, action, and results. Communities should understand they are applying for a prize and not a grant. The Prize recognizes work that has already been accomplished so there is no required workplan or budget. To be competitive, it is imperative that Prize applicants keep a community-wide focus in mind through all phases of the competition.

Community partners can decide together how to use the funds to benefit the community; budget reports on Prize expenditures are not required.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175672

Number of Grants:

There will be up to 10 winning communities.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Winning communities will:
-Receive a $25,000 cash prize;
-Have their stories and successes celebrated broadly to inspire others toward locally-driven change;
-Engage with other national and community leaders as ambassadors for building a Culture of Health; and,
-Join a Prize Alumni Network to learn with other Prize winners and network locally, regionally, and nationally.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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).

Applicants must 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 and states are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must provide primary and alternate contact people for your application, preferably from two different organizations. Each individual will indicate one of the following organization types with which they are affiliated, such as:
-Community coalition or resident group
-Hospital or health care organization
-Local foundation
-Government agency or department
-Nonprofit community-based organization
-Community development organization

Applicants must 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.

Pre-proposal Conference:

An informational webinar discussing the 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Call for Applications is scheduled for September 20, 2017 from 3:00–4:00 PM ET.

Pre-Application Information:

New applications are accepted annually from early August through early November. The RWJF Culture of Health Prize application process has three distinct phases:

-Phase I Application: Applicants are asked to submit a brief essay to introduce their community and showcase accomplishments.

-Phase II Application: A select group of Phase I applicants will be invited to compete for a finalist slot by submitting a Phase II application.

-Phase III Site Visit: Up to 16 Phase II applicants will advance as finalists in the competition and be invited to host a site visit.

-November 3, 2017 (3:00 PM ET): Phase I Applications (for all applicant communities) due.
-December 8, 2017: Invitations extended to select applicant communities to submit Phase II Applications.
-January 18, 2018 (3:00 PM ET): Phase II Applications (for invited communities) due.
-March 2, 2018: Invitations extended to finalist communities to participate in a site visit.
-April 3-June 15, 2018: Site visits with finalist communities.
-Fall 2018: National announcement of winners and celebration and learning event.

Contact Information:

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

Register for the September 20 webinar:

Apply Online:

Carrie Carroll, Deputy Director

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

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)