1. What are the chances of an unsolicited proposal receiving funding? (Answer last updated on February 7, 2014)

RWJF receives a large number of unsolicited proposals each year. Your chances depend on your proposal's alignment with the Foundation's strategy. In funding unsolicited proposals, RWJF seeks to advance a culture of health by identifying and exploring pioneering ideas—projects that use original, unconventional, or cross-sectoral approaches to create transformative change.

Please do not submit projects that would be more appropriate for other calls for proposals. Please be sure to review current calls for proposals before submitting an unsolicited proposal.

Back to top





2. What is the average size and duration of your grants? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

Amounts awarded and time periods vary widely and depend on the scope of the project. Over the last five years, we have made awards ranging from $1,200 to $50 million with time periods ranging from one month to five years. However, most grants are in the $100,000 to $300,000 range, and run from one to three years.

The RWJF Annual Report contains a complete listing of grants awarded in a given year.

Back to top





3. Do you make grants to for-profit organizations? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

The vast majority of our funding is to nonprofit organizations and public agencies. Historically, less than 1 percent of our funding has been to for-profit organizations; it has always occurred in instances in which the institution's project was an excellent fit with our strategies and we felt they were best suited to do the work.

Back to top




4. If we have one RWJF grant, can we apply for a different grant from the Foundation? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

You may apply for multiple grants from RWJF, but each proposal must be for a distinct project.

Back to top




5. What are the most common reasons why an unsolicited proposal is declined? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

There are any number of reasons why RWJF may decide not to fund a specific unsolicited proposal; however, some of the most commonly declined proposals are those that:

  • Don’t fit RWJF's specific grantmaking strategy for unsolicited proposals.
  • Fall outside of the Foundation’s general grantmaking guidelines.

  • Are more appropriately funded by another organization, either public or private.
  • Are not sustainable without reliance on RWJF funding.
  • Are similar to projects we are already funding.
  • Fall into the games for health, health apps, or other, similar categories, unless the proposal:
    • Clearly articulates an idea that is radically different from existing projects/technologies.
    • Clearly demonstrates the potential to provide exponential, not just incremental, change.

Back to top




6. Are proposals reviewed by experts from outside of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

In many instances, RWJF asks outside experts on a particular topic to review proposals. By doing so, we aim to ensure that we remain fair and rigorous in evaluating full proposals.

Back to top




7. Can you share a copy of a successful proposal? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

No, we consider proposals the intellectual property of the applicant and do not share them outside the Foundation.

Back to top




8. What budget information should I submit? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

When you submit a brief proposal, you need only provide the information the form requests.

If we then ask you to submit a full proposal, you will be requested to complete a form asking for a proposal narrative, budget, and budget narrative.

View a copy of budget preparation guidelines for full proposals.

Back to top




9. What are indirect costs, and how does RWJF handle them? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

Indirect costs, or overhead, are those costs that are not easily identifiable in an economically feasible way as exclusively related to a particular project but are necessary to conduct the grant. Some examples of these costs are human resources department costs, payroll processing and accounting costs, janitorial services, utilities, property taxes, property and liability insurance, and building maintenance.

As of July 1, 2006, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's indirect costs rate for new grants is 12 percent. This increased rate only applies to new grant awards that start July 1, 2006, or later.

Indirect costs are limited to 12 percent of total direct costs (Personnel, Other Direct Costs and Purchased Services). When Purchased Services total more than 33 percent of the RWJF portion of a budget, the Foundation limits indirect costs on the Purchased Services category to 4 percent.

Applicants with a different indirect cost rate or other questions should call RWJF at (609) 627-5845. Grantees should contact their grants administrators.

Back to top




10. Where can I view a sample Letter of Agreement for my institution or organization? (Answer last updated on September 17, 2012)

Select the links below to preview a Letter of Agreement (LOA) specific to your institution/organization:


Back to top




11. Will talking to a Foundation staff person about my idea increase its likelihood of being funded?

From time to time, people discuss ideas with members of our staff before submitting an unsolicited proposal, but you do not need to talk with RWJF staff in order for your proposal be reviewed or supported. Proposals arising from discussions with RWJF staff represent only a small percentage of what we support.

We will review all ideas based strictly on their merits and their fit with our strategic objectives. We review all proposals according to the same criteria.

Whether or not you have spoken with an RWJF staff member, you must follow the online submission process. In your proposal, please identify the staff member with whom you have spoken.

Back to top