Grants and Grant Programs

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we believe that good health and health care are fundamental measures of our success as a nation.


In support of this belief, we fund program and policy initiatives in four areas which are each critical to health equity—enabling everyone in our nation to live a healthier life:

Health Systems

Catalyzing fundamental changes in health and health care systems to achieve measurably better outcomes for all.

Healthy Children, Healthy Weight

Enabling all children to attain their optimal physical, social and emotional well-being, including growing up at a healthy weight.

Healthy Communities

Creating the conditions that allow communities and their residents to reach their greatest health potential.

Health Leadership

Engaging a diverse array of leaders in all sectors with the vision, experience, and drive to help build a Culture of Health.



In relation to our focus areas, our grants and grant programs generally have three major aims:

Connected with these objectives, we fund a wide range of activities, including but not limited to:

  • Planning and demonstration projects
  • Research and evaluations
  • Policy and statistical analysis
  • Learning networks and communities
  • Public education and strategic communications
  • Community engagement and coalition-building
  • Training and fellowship programs
  • Technical assistance

In general, the activities we support are carried out by public agencies, universities, and public charities that are tax-exempt under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. While we are focused on a healthier U.S., we also fund grants that help us learn from and adapt global innovations.

View a sampling of RWJF featured programs and initiatives.

How We Develop and Administer Grant Programs

In general, our grant programs are developed by RWJF program staff, in consultation with leading experts in fields of shared interest, and with guidance and final approval from our board of trustees.

In many cases, we issue a competitive call for proposals (CFP) which defines the challenges we wish to address, activities we will support to achieve desired outcomes, and eligibility criteria. Very often, we also establish an intermediary organization to support subsequent program activity and provide technical assistance. In addition, we provide funding through open calls for ideas and different types of challenges and prize competitions. Also, we issue direct solicitations for projects in support of specific programmatic objectives.

What We Do Not Support

RWJF funds many initiatives in support of our vision for a Culture of Health. However, we do not make grants to individuals, and very infrequently support foreign organizations or organizations that are not tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Specific activities we do not fund include:

  • Ongoing general operating expenses or existing deficits
  • Endowment or capital costs
  • Basic biomedical research
  • Research on drug therapies or devices
  • Lobbying of any kind

On a continual basis, we monitor trends in our fields of interest, and assess and adjust our grantmaking in ways we believe will help us achieve the greatest impact. Through this process, as we transition into new priority areas over time, we may cease funding in others.  

Often, our major shifts in funding priorities come following long-term investments that have helped to plant seeds of sustained progress. In all cases, we continue to draw on lessons from our past work to help guide our current and future grantmaking.


If you have questions, view our Grant FAQs, or contact our Office of Proposal Management via email or at (877) 843-RWJF (7953), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.