Our History

A collection of stories about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's landmark achievements.

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Emergency vehicle personnel pulling a patient on gurney from an ambulance

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the most pressing health issues facing America.

Since our beginnings as a small community foundation, we've had the opportunity to help shape key efforts to improve the nation's health and health care—from the development of the 911 emergency call system to the improvement of care at the end of life.

Learn more about our history and about how we continue to evolve our grantmaking priorities to help everyone in our nation live a healthier life, now and for generations to come.

Highlights from Our History

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We Started Small

May 4, 2012

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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Pebbles in a Pond

May 3, 2012

The timely intervention of a specially trained nurse held the potential to change the lives of poor young mothers and their babies for the better ... not just in the near term, but for many years to come.

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Roots and Wings

May 3, 2012

It's little known outside of our walls, but RWJF was instrumental in bringing the 911 system to life. When disaster struck the Gulf states, we had the pleasure of watching our early commitment to emergency communications bear fruit.

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From the Bottom Up

May 1, 2012

The poor, the old and the disabled who need help with everyday life tasks don't have to find themselves at the mercy of the system. Cash and Counseling turns that "system knows best" model of care on its head.

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Roots

May 1, 2012

Our mission today focuses exclusively on health and health care. But Robert Wood Johnson's first philanthropic venture was very different from our modern-day health-oriented grantmaking. Simply put, he gave away the farm.

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Robert Wood Johnson

Our Founder

Robert Wood "General" Johnson's sense of personal responsibility toward society was expressed in the disposition of his own fortune. He left virtually all of it to the Foundation, creating one of the world's largest private philanthropies.

Highlights from Our History

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Highlights from Our History

This video 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.

Highlights from Our History

This video 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.