The RWJF Retrospective Series are evaluations of the impact of an entire body of work, conducted by independent evaluators.
Since its very beginning, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has taken a strategic approach to grantmaking and evaluated the results of its philanthropic investments. Yet, both strategy and evaluation were limited to individual programs. As we evolved in how we worked and became a more strategic philanthropy, we began bundling groups of programs that were meant to work together synergistically to leverage big changes that could not be accomplished by individual programs. And so, we developed the RWJF Retrospective Series—evaluations of the impact of an entire body of work, conducted by an independent evaluator.
Recently, the Foundation released the first in its retrospective series—Improving Care at the End of Life: How the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Its Grantees Built the Field—where evaluators took a look at RWJF’s investment in end-of-life care. Between 1991 and 2005, the Foundation invested over $170 million to improve care at the end of life. In this retrospective evaluation, conducted by Patti Patrizi and colleagues, RWJF’s work in end-of-life care is examined, including its strategy and impact on the field through an assessment of nearly 340 grants; interviews with 70 current and former staff, grantees, and end-of-life leaders; and reviews of documents, websites and journals.
Second in the retrospective series—The Tobacco Campaigns of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and its Collaborators, 1991–2010—is a body of work that was the result of the Foundation's commitment to create tobacco-cessation programs. Between 1991 and 2009, the Foundation invested almost $700 million in efforts to prevent tobacco uptake, especially by children, and to help addicted users quit. To aid in these efforts, RWJF created various programs such as SmokeLess States®: National Tobacco Policy Initiative; Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care (now called Addressing Tobacco in Health Care); Smoke-Free Families: Innovations to Stop Smoking During and Beyond Pregnancy; and Substance Abuse Policy Research. This report shines a light on RWJF's work in tobacco and the many collaborators who joined forces to reduce tobacco use in the United States through cessation programs, policy change and public education. This assessment was conducted by the Center for Public Program Evaluation and led by its President, George Grob.
Soon to be released are two other retrospectives, one that looks at the Foundation's chronic illness initiative (scheduled for release in 2012), and a second that focuses on RWJF's work in the field of substance abuse (to be released in 2013).