An introductory letter from RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A.
At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we're guided by the principle that we are stewards of private resources that must be used for the public good. In keeping with the principle of good stewardship we need to be accountable for how effectively those resources are deployed. In this age of austerity, it is more important than ever to ask and answer whether we are having impact and making a difference.
Each year we make it a point to take measure of how well we are living up to the promise of our philanthropy and our mission: to improve the health and health care of all Americans. This would not be possible without grantees and partners who help turn this shared mission into reality for communities, organizations and people across the country.
The annual Assessment Report is our chance to take stock and demand of ourselves what we demand from our partners—performance, transparency and accountability. We ask hundreds of our grantees, stakeholders and health and health care leaders to gauge our work, to let us know what is working and what we need to improve. More specifically, we ask them to:
- Rate the strength and relevance of our priorities and strategies.
- Judge whether we are making a difference in the field of health and health care.
- Assess how our performance compares with other major peer foundations.
The 2011 Assessment Report is one part of a group of evaluative efforts that helps us continually measure our effect on health and health care. Additional activities include individual program evaluations, Program Results Reports, and the RWJF Retrospective and Anthology series. Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of our work that identifies our strengths and weaknesses to help us continually advance our mission.
Using the Assessment Report as an internal quality improvement tool alone is valuable. But sharing these results with the field has additional benefits. A foundation that asks, “How are we doing?” and publishes independent, objective analysis to inform the answer has taken a crucial step toward accountability. In this manner, the Assessment Report is not merely a static document, but is a valuable tool meant to drive our work and motivate responses to shortcomings.
Through this assessment, we are better prepared to help all Americans lead healthier lives and access the care they need.