Members of a youth group sit outside, in a circle, with a vegetable garden in the background.
Members of a youth group sit outside, in a circle, with a vegetable garden in the background.

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors the work of communities that are at the forefront of addressing structural racism and other structural injustices, to advance health, opportunity, and equity for all.

About the Prize

Partnership within communities is at the heart of the Prize.

Prize-winning communities center residents’ needs to advance a Culture of Health where everyone can live their healthiest possible lives. Prize winners show us what’s possible when we work across sectors and disciplines to build a society where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to thrive. Their work can inspire other communities—and policymakers at all levels—to take action to create change.

Prize Criteria

The Prize is awarded to communities that are:

  • Addressing structural racism and other structural injustices in order to create conditions that advance health equity.
  • Committing to sustainable policy, systems, environmental and cultural changes.
  • Working alongside partners across sectors, and elevating the expertise and solutions held by people with firsthand experiences of health inequities.
  • Engaging in cultural work that envisions and advances a more just future.
  • Making the most of available community resources and fostering sustainability.
  • Measuring and sharing qualitative and quantitative indicators of progress in culturally relevant ways.
A barber smiles as he prepares to cut a young man’s hair.

Learn more about applying to become a Prize-winning community.

About the 2023 Winners

2023 Culture of Health Prize Winners

Prize communities show what improving health equity looks like and can inspire other communities and policymakers across the country to take action so everyone and their children can reach their best health and wellbeing.

More About the Prize

Learn how Prize winners are inspiring hope and action toward a more just tomorrow.

A woman and man sit on a bunch at a bus stop.

Removing Barriers

By working together, communities are removing barriers and creating more equitable systems.
Students practicing kicks during a Tae Kwon Do class.

Lasting Change

Building a Culture of Health can start with inspiring commitment to change toward creating healthier, more equitable communities.
A woman standing outside an office with a glass wall with her arm around another woman.

Working Together

Ensuring everyone has the chance to reach their best wellbeing requires addressing complex issues and engaging a wide range of perspectives.
Two smiling women welcome children to a trauma center.

Celebrating Community

Celebrating our communities is a key part of removing the uneven barriers to wellbeing.

Past Culture of Health Prize Winners

Addison, Illinois

The residents of Addison, Illinois, are taking a “we’re all in this together” approach to community problem solving and marshalling their resources for health. 

An aerial view of a town at sunset.

Alamosa County, Colorado

Alamosa County, Colo., has worked hard to overcome its remoteness and arid environment for generations by being resourceful. Community members form partnerships to address needs and make long-term changes for a better future.

Landscape of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and lush forests.

Chickaloon Native Village

For Chickaloon Native Village, health depends on connections across generations, across communities, and to the land.

A view of a park and fountain.

Drew, Mississippi

In Drew, Mississippi, residents with deep roots in the community are harnessing their collective power to build hope for future generations.

Residents enjoy Town Center, one of Columbia’s ten villages, along the shores of Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia, MD.

Howard County, Maryland

With a spirit of compassion, Howard County, Maryland, strives to boost equity and remove barriers to opportunity, to access to the factors driving health, and to civic participation.

The intersection of National City Boulevard and East 8th St lies along the 8th Street Corridor, an area of redevelopment linking the 8th Street Trolley Station and Downtown National City to encourage walking, bicycling and public transit use in National City, California.

National City, California

A spirit of communal unity, work, and cooperation is integral to National City, California's, efforts over the past decade to create better health and well-being for all. 

Pictured right to left as follows : Sandra Lula Gover, Roselyn Davis (brown shirt), Sidney Rodriguez, Carmelle Marcelin-Chapman (green top), Samuel Goodstein (bald man), Carla Blockson (sunglasses with black, white and brown top), Retha Lowe (purple shirt), Patrick Livingston (blue shirt) and Adella Bell (very left of frame) at the Unity Wall. A wall that formerly served as a symbol of division is now a beacon of light for inclusion and diversity in Lake Worth Beach. The wall served as an unofficial border between the residents of the "Osborne Colored Addition" and their white neighbors. The city's zoning code required Black residents to live in the Osborne subdivision until 1969. 67 South Florida professional artists and residents helped paint the 1,175 foot long wall with art murals that represent the past, present, and future of the community.

Palm Beach County, Florida

Residents are driving priorities in Palm Beach County, Florida, particularly around behavioral and mental health, racial equity and cradle-to-career advancements for children and youth.

A train traveling through a small town.

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Rocky Mount leaders of all ages have started on a journey to reverse generations of disinvestment and structural racism by expanding economic opportunity, building community wealth, and increasing access to affordable housing.

A man rides a horse in a grassy field.

Thunder Valley Community-Oglala Lakota Nation

The Thunder Valley community, Oceti Sakowin Territory, on the Pine Ridge Reservation uses its lifeways and traditions to create pathways to healing, hope, and ultimately liberation from trauma, past and present.

A banner hanging on a solar streetlight.

Worcester, Massachusetts

New England’s second largest city relies on data and partnerships to strengthen the health of all residents.

Cityscape against one of the city's numerous canals.

Broward County, Florida

Broward County, Florida, is “going big” in its efforts to eliminate barriers to health and economic wellbeing for its residents.

An aerial view of a downtown environment with a river running beneath a bridge.

Greenville County, South Carolina

Greenville County, South Carolina, is engaging around public transportation, affordable housing, and education to improve the community's health and well-being. 

Three young girls sitting in a park.

Gonzales, California

The residents of Gonzales, California, share a can-do attitude and passion to make their community a healthier, more sustainable place to live and work. 

High school students fly fishing at a lake with a scenic, mountainous backdrop.

Lake County, Colorado

The residents of Lake County, Colorado, are using data and teamwork to improve health, education and economic standards in the community’s post-mining era. 

Kids swimming in a harbor off a dock.

Sitka, Alaska

The residents of Sitka, Alaska, are working across cultures and sectors to improve well-being for everyone in their island community. 

Painted mural on the side of a building..

Cicero, Illinois

Once tormented by poverty, disconnected youth, and a lack of resources, residents of Cicero, Illinois, are taking action so that everyone has a chance at a healthier life.

Entrance to Historic Town of Eatonville

Eatonville, Florida

The oldest historically black incorporated town in America is looking at the big picture of what creates conditions for good health. 

Sprague River in Chiloquin, Oregon which has a large population of Native Americans from the Klamath Tribe.

Klamath County, Oregon

In Klamath County, partners come together to improve high school graduation rates for all students, build a strong cadre of local, skilled workers through job training, and attract new businesses.

Downtown San Antonio.

San Antonio, Texas

The residents of San Antonio, Texas, are focused on health inequities and the connections between education, health and wealth. 

Two children running with kites.

Algoma, Wisconsin

Through the Live Algoma initiative, people and institutions are coming together to set goals and work as a team to address the city’s health and wellness issues.

Construction staff and community officials discuss plans for a new store.

Allen County, Kansas

Residents of this county in rural southeastern Kansas are banding together to foster a sense of belonging and create a shared vision of health and enhanced livelihood for all.

A main artery through downtown Chelsea, Mass.

Chelsea, Massachusetts

With grit and determination, Chelsea, a tiny city across the Tobin Bridge from Boston, is tackling big urban challenges with innovation and heart.

A sunflower blooming on a farm.

Garrett County, Maryland

In Garrett County, Maryland, everyone seems to know everyone, and neighbors band together to bridge economic, cultural and health divides.

A father and son playing basketball together.

Richmond, Virginia

Stakeholders from across Richmond, Virginia, are coming together to create agency and opportunity for all residents, empowering them to make healthy choices and forge pathways out of poverty.

A girls' soccer team walks by an outdoor wall mural.

San Pablo, California

Having weathered tough times during the recession, the people of San Pablo, California, have drawn a direct line between economic well-being and health.

A young girl tending plants in a greenhouse.

Seneca Nation of Indians (New York)

Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York infuses its cultural strength and resilience into wide-ranging efforts to improve health. 

The sun setting over the Mississippi River.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Citizens of Vicksburg, Mississippi, are coming together to set priorities and focus on core issues like decreasing the obesity rate and improving children's learning environment.

A young boy smiling after receiving a new backpack during a community event.

24:1 Community, Missouri

Twenty-four contiguous municipalities northwest of St. Louis, M.O., embrace an “all-for-one” approach to heal their community. 

Columbia Gorge 2016 Culture of Health. Mt Hood.

Columbia Gorge Region, Oregon and Washington

To bridge disparities, the people of the Columbia Gorge Region turned an ordinary requirement from Oregon lawmakers into an extraordinary opportunity to improve the health and wellness of all residents.

A well-lit pedistrian path beside a bridged river.

Louisville, Kentucky

Collaboration, data driven decision-making, and a shared commitment to health and health equity anchor efforts in Louisville.

A young girl playing on a playground jungle gym.

Manchester, New Hampshire

In the largest city in northern New England, public officials and private sector leaders have taken a data-driven, block-by-block approach to better health.

RWJF COH Miami. August 29-31, 2016.  Pictures of people exercising (walk, run, bike) along Miami Beach neighborhood area.

Miami-Dade County, Florida

A vibrant, collaborative, and coordinated approach to improved health is happening across a diverse county, where 51 percent of its almost 2.7 million residents are foreign-born and at least 79 cultures are represented within its borders. 

Santa Monica 2016 Culture of Health.

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica has been building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse community for more than 40 years, taking a data-driven approach to become a true City of Wellbeing where everyone thrives.

2016 Culture of Health Prize winner. Shoalwater Bay 2016 Culture of Health. Woodcarver Earl Davis teaches his son Aiden the traditional techniques.

Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, Washington

The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe's holistic approach to health led them to open a Wellness Center, encourage youth leaders, and come together for emergency preparedness.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

Innovative “green” strategies revitalized Bridgeport, creating a healthy, sustainable environment. The transformation boosted the economy and is leading to new schools, housing, green spaces—and opportunities for health. 

Everett: One Everett organization

Everett, Massachusetts

The people of Everett, Mass., did not wait for a crisis to address racial justice, immigration and assimilation. They dealt with the issues head-on.

Luz Garcia, owner of Garcia Carniceria and Restaurant, serves customers in Garden City, Kansas. Originally from Jalisco, Mexico, she has lived in Kansas for 25 years.  
In 1990, Luz Garcia came to Kansas for what she calls the “Mexican Dream,” the opportunity to earn a living and care for her family. Her brother was already in Finney County, working at Tysons. She met her husband here; she worked at Tyson for 7 years and he worked there for 22. The Garcias always planned to open businesses in Mexico, but when Luz’s mom passed away and a friend offered a chance to take over the carnicería (butcher shop), they decided to take the opportunity. 
The big stores like Sam’s Club don’t bring down her business she says. In fact, they come to see how her shop operates and check her prices. On pay day, her shop is always full. 
Garden City has a large Hispanic community,  making up 48% of the population according to the 2010 census. Garcia's is one of several Mexican businesses downtown.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City is creating a safe, healthy environment for all its residents by addressing what impacts health. Over the past decade, life expectancy improved for all. 

Volunteers uproot potatoes at Costello Urban Farm. 2015 Culture of Health Prize.

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Lawrence is making schools a community hub where parents get help for their children and financial and employment guidance for themselves. 

Menominee / Keshena September 2015.  Menominee Indian High School. Veterns Welcome Ceremony. Culture of Health Prize 2015 - Josh Kohanek - Menominee Tribe.

Menominee Nation, Wisconsin

Menominee Nation is improving health by reclaiming traditional culture and using trauma-specific interventions to foster healing from historical losses. 

The Mobile Market is an extension of the hub City Farmers's Market which was purchased and refitted to expand the market's service to food deserts across Spartanburg County. In 2015, the Mobile Market is projected to make over 400 stops in Spartanburg.

Spartanburg County, South Carolina

Data driven decision making, partnerships, and collective impact—that is the Spartanburg way. They are connecting low-income residents to medical homes and support for the social determinants of health.

Students from the New Settlement Community Center summer camp look at their growing vegetables on the rooftop garden. Bronx NY

The Bronx, New York

Residents and organizations of the Bronx have united to revitalize everything from jobs and schools to housing and the environment. 

Lac du Flambeau. September 2015.  Waaswaaganing Players Theatre Group Musicians.

Waaswaaganing Anishinaabeg (Lac du Flambeau) Tribe, Wisconsin

This community is drawing on cultural traditions to strengthen well-being. A youth program uses practices steeped in the Ojibwe language to improve school attendance and redirect at-risk youth.

Parents and children riding bikes through a park.

Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville is highly successful in promoting active lifestyles and demonstrates the strength of community partnerships in action.

Buncombe County, North Carolina is living proof that improved collaboration among individuals, stakeholders and community leaders can significantly improve health for local residents. 

Led by the local nonprofit Children First/Communities in Schools, community leaders are attacking the issue of poverty at both the individual level and the policy level. Community leaders are working hard to ensure that children have access to and knowledge about nutritious local food.

Buncombe County, North Carolina

By creating a broad collaboration of community partners, Buncombe County is on a path to long-term and sustainable change.  

Durham, North Carolina

To build a healthier community, Durham County is harnessing locally driven revitalization efforts to address the many factors that impact health.

A students learning STEM skills at the Spokane Valley Tech high school.

Spokane County, Washington

Recognizing the powerful impact education has on long-term health, Spokane is improving health by expanding educational opportunities that empower young people.

A nurse examining her patient with stethoscope.

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

The Taos Pueblo community of northern New Mexico is drawing on its cultural traditions to address modern challenges and envision a healthier future for its people.

Students from Berea College plant flowers in the Williamson Health and Wellness center. The Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) Program at Berea College creates a multi-year, learning experience for undergraduate students to practice and implement Entrepreneurial Leadership in rural communities of Central Appalachia. Williamson W.Va., Wed, May 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)

Williamson, West Virginia

In the heart of central Appalachia coal country, Williamson is committed to improving health and expanding economic development.

An outside wall mural depicts a global view.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge—best known for its world-renowned universities—is improving health equity by addressing public health challenges like obesity and school readiness.

Fall River partners came together to challenge adults who live, work or attend school in Greater Fall River to get fit, healthy, and prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Fall River, Massachusetts

Realizing that its public health efforts must focus on long-term changes, Fall River has worked hard to reach out to youth and even foster youth-driven health improvement.

A medical professional checking patient's blood pressure.

New Orleans, Louisiana

In New Orleans, a renewed focus on schools promoting academic achievement and good health offers new gardens and cooking classrooms, as well as state-of-the-art kitchens and new physical activity programs in schools.

The market creates access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at affordable prices for the residents of our community, and allows low-income participants to use coupons. Manistique is one of six winners of the inaugural RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize.

Manistique, Michigan

Manistique is slowly but surely making environmental changes and systems changes that give people access to healthier foods and physical activity without having to really change their daily routines very much.

Venture North Bike and Coffee provides youth employment opportunities and bike sales/repair services in economically disadvantaged North Minneapolis.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The key in Minneapolis is infrastructure—the community is intentionally designed with bikeways and paths to encourage active transportation, including biking and walking.

Jóvenes SANOS led a healthy restaurant initiative that spurred the approval of an ordinance that requires new restaurants stations to offer and highlight healthy options. Santa Cruz is one of six winners of the inaugural RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize.

Santa Cruz County, California

In Santa Cruz County diverse partners are facing public health challenges as one, coming together across sectors and across the community to engage everyone in the mission to improve the health of all residents.

Apply for the Prize or Other Funding Opportunities

Are you interested in helping to build a future where health is for everyone? 

Please take a look at the funding opportunities for community action, innovative policy change, and research initiatives. 

Prize Stories