More Than 1,000 Proposals Received & Review is Under Way!

Program Officer Maisha Simmons reflects on the groundbreaking response to the Forward Promise Call for Proposals.

    • October 24, 2012

october 24, 2012

I want to take a moment and offer my gratitude for the hundreds of proposals the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation received in the days leading up to the final deadline for the Forward Promise Call for Proposals. For a moment, I was actually worried our online application system wouldn’t be able to handle the steady stream of proposals! But, of course, our system worked fine and in the end we received more than 1,200 submissions.

This was a groundbreaking response—unprecedented at the Foundation—and for me reflects the tremendous amount of work and momentum going on across communities to improve the health, education, and employment outcomes of young men of color. We should all be excited about this.

On behalf of my colleagues I want to thank all of you who not only applied to the CFP, but also those of you who spread the word to your networks and provided insights as we shaped our grant making strategy. Thank you for your enormous response and enthusiasm.

My goal is to channel this collective response into support for programs that are cultivating the most promising efforts on the ground.

We’re excited to review submissions. Our proposal process—for those who aren’t familiar with it—will entail review of all proposals by outside experts as part of our fair and rigorous evaluation procedure. Applicants invited to submit full proposals will be notified by email on November 12, 2012

[update: Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was closed for several days, and our team of Forward Promise proposal reviewers experienced power outages, flooding, and evacuations. As a result we have decided to extend the deadline by which we notify applicants if they have been invited to submit a full proposal. We will send this notification via email on or by November 16th. We apologize for any inconvenience, but we need the additional time to finish reviewing proposals.]

Those applications will be due December 17, 2012. We appreciate your patience while we thoughtfully review this large volume of proposals.

In the meantime, if you have a specific question about Forward Promise, we will gladly respond to your email as soon as possible. (Send emails to and please include your Application ID# in all correspondence.) We’ll continue to post updates.

Looking Ahead

This weekend I’ll be at the 2012 APHA Annual Meeting, and am looking forward to hearing about some of the cutting edge work going on in the field of public health, specifically related to young men of color. And I hope to use the opportunity to connect with more practitioners, philanthropies, and policymakers working in our field, and share information about Forward Promise. I’ll be sure to report back insights and ideas from the event, but you can also follow the conference Twitter hashtag (#APHA12) and me on Twitter (@mzsimmons).

Thank you again for your patience as we review CFP submissions, and, most importantly, for your work with our nation’s young boys and men of color.

Maisha Simmons, program officer