New Jersey Health Initiatives

An RWJF Statewide Program

Field of Work: Improving health and health care for residents of New Jersey

Problem Synopsis: Along with the rest of the nation, New Jersey faces an array of health care problems and growing demands for services. The need for creative, community-based projects to address pressing health care needs throughout New Jersey continues to grow. Health services in New Jersey are provided in a multi-tiered system of community health centers, hospitals, health plans, school- and work-based clinics and private practitioners' offices, and these services are not usually coordinated.

Synopsis of the Work: New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) is a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) charged with improving health and health care for residents of New Jersey—RWJF's home state—through creative, community-based health services. As of July 2009, NJHI has a portfolio of 41 active projects totaling $11,025,892. Initially authorized in January 1987 by the RWJF Board of Trustees, the program has funded a variety of New Jersey community-based projects since its inception, yielding a diverse grant portfolio.

Under its first six authorizations (1987 to 2008), NJHI supported 190 projects. Beginning in 2008, responsive grants have focused on two themes:

  • Adolescent dating abuse prevention in 2008
  • Health literacy among immigrants in 2009

The program also includes several additional elements including a periodic pro-active or strategic grantmaking component that follows an RWJF national effort or replicates an RWJF national program in New Jersey and a small grants program.

Sustaining Results: To assess whether these projects funded by NJHI have been sustained after their RWJF funding, NJHI conducts a periodic online "look back" survey. Findings from the three "look back" surveys (2006, 2008 and 2009) included:

  • Projects that closed in 2007 sustained most major types of activities from the grant period, but with some modifications, fewer clients, fewer staff members and a lower budget.
  • Over the three waves of the survey, the patterns of results are similar. A majority of respondents indicated that at least some element from their NJHI projects was sustained, but there is no one path to sustainability.
  • Across all the surveys, it is not surprising that securing funding was the most frequent barrier to sustainability.