Convergence Partnership

A Collaborative of Funders including RWJF

Dates of Program: November 2007 through December 2016; current RWJF funding ends mid-September 2015

Description: The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of funders working together to spearhead investments and actions to change policies and practices to create communities of healthy people living in healthy places nationwide. Convergence here means shared decision-making and leadership on equity-focused, multifield efforts, and pooled funding.

The partners are: Ascension Health, The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Nemours, Rockefeller Foundation, and RWJF.

Between 2007 and March 2015, the partners contributed more than $28.65 million. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a technical adviser to the Convergence Partnership. PolicyLink directs the program and Prevention Institute provides policy research and analysis and strategic support.

The Convergence Partnership’s work is a blend of investments and activities to help shape federal policy and build a field of people who work to create momentum for change regionally and nationally. It brings together funders, advocates, policymakers, and practitioners from fields such as agriculture, transportation, economic development, health, and violence prevention.

From 2007 through late 2014, the Convergence Partnership focused on efforts including informing federal, state, and local policy, and activities relevant to its vision in areas such as access to healthy food and improving the built environment, and on building a new “field of fields.”

The work is continuing through 2016.

Key Results to Date

  • The Convergence Partnership has leveraged nearly $2 billion in local and federal funding to advance “healthy people living in healthy places.”

  • The Convergence Partnership has informed major federal policies and programs, including:

    • The Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which has leveraged more than $1 billion for projects to provide access to fresh, healthy food in low- income communities across the country
    • The CDC’s Community Transformation Grants, which support government agencies, tribes and territories, nonprofit organizations, and communities in designing and implementing community-level programs to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
  • Through its Regional Convergence Partnership and Innovation Fund grants, the Convergence Partnershiphas developed a national network of more than 80 local and regional foundations representing more than 40 local and regional sites across the country.

  • The Convergence Partnership developed—and is now a model for—a new collaborative way for philanthropy to work.

  • The Convergence Partnership is creating a new “field of fields” that shows the value of equity-focused, cross-sector efforts in moving towards healthy people and healthy places.

“We’ve changed the dialogue among national and regional funders to focus on healthy people living in healthy places. We have influenced both policy and practice change.”—Debbie I. Chang, MA, Nemours