Forty Years of Leadership

We began as a small community foundation, and evolved—through the generosity of our founder, Robert Wood Johnson—into the nation's largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public's health. Learn more about our beginnings, and discover how many of our grant-making priorities evolved to meet difficult challenges.

We Started Small

We Started Small

It was in the depths of the Great Depression that Robert Wood Johnson rose to the challenge of assisting employees and other members of his community as they coped with the worst economic disaster ever to befall this country. This is our legacy.

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Our First Major Grant Initiative

Our First Major Grant Initiative

David Satcher grew up in poverty in the Jim Crow South. He resolved to one day become a doctor. Satcher did that, and then some: He became the nation's 16th surgeon general in 1998. Satcher credits his time as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar for helping to make him a powerful agent for change.

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Taking on Tobacco

Taking on Tobacco

The path was fraught with peril, but the Foundation embraced the risky effort to save lives lost to tobacco use, and in so doing became a major force for change.

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A Sea Change in End-of-Life Care

A Sea Change in End-of-Life Care

Like many Americans, several of our leaders had personal experience with aging and dying family members. Drawing on that experience, we resolved to do something to change the way the gravely ill lived out their last days. Our dogged pursuit of more humane care at the end of life is regarded as one of our most significant efforts.

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Then and Now

Highlights From Our History

This series documents many of the key programs and projects through which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to effect and influence meaningful social change. Click on the Playlist button (fourth icon from the right in the lower right-hand corner of the screen) to see all of the videos.

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Original Headquarters

First Headquarters, New Brunswick, N.J.

RWJF Anthology Series

We support a biennial book series to disseminate what we have learned from various aspects of our grantmaking.

This chapter, RWJF: The Early Years, recounts the early years of the Foundation.  

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Trace Our History

Interactive Timeline
Interactive Timeline

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