New Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grants to Help Six Communities Build Culture of Health for Young Men of Color

    • April 2, 2014
A senior in high school smiles.

Princeton, N.J.—Today, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced a new package of Community Partnership grants in six cities working to promote opportunity and health for young men of color. The grants of approximately $250,000 each are part of The Foundation’s $11.5 million Forward Promise initiative to improve the health and success of middle school and high school boys and young men of color.

The Forward Promise Community Partnership grants focus on collaborations that bring together diverse partners within a city to drive progress and increase opportunity for young men and boys of color. The selected grantees provide important interventions such as mentorship, job training, and school programs that are proven through research to make a difference for young people, their families and their communities.

The six grants add even more momentum to a growing movement to expand opportunities for young men of color. Last month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation joined nine other leading funders and the White House to unveil new private and public sector initiatives to improve life outcomes for America’s young men of color.

The new grants will fund the community-wide efforts in the following cities nationwide:

  • New Orleans: NOLA for Life is a project of city officials, organizations, social services and young people to holistically prevent violence, build safer neighborhoods and connect young men with the resources they need to thrive.
  • Minneapolis: The Northside Achievement Zone is a collaboration of organizations and schools partnering with families in North Minneapolis to prepare children to graduate from high school and be ready for college.
  • Phoenix: The Phoenix Indian Center prepares Native American students for high school, college and career success. With their partners, their program provides Native American male students with academic support, substance prevention, mental health services, and job training.
  • Chicago: The Safe Schools Consortium is a multi-stakeholder collaborative in Chicago that works to keep kids in school and promote safe school climates for all students by implementing restorative practices that are an alternative to suspensions and expulsions.
  • Little Rock, Ark.: The Central Arkansas Boys and Men Success Team (BMOST) coordinates efforts to prevent dropouts, train young men for careers, and connect young people with caring adults.
  • Oahu, Hawaii: Project Malama Na Pua, Nurturing the Children is a coalition of organizations that is building a community-driven school for native Hawaiian students and is focusing on success of males at the middle and high school level.

“We are thrilled to announce this new round of grants to improve the health and well-being of boys and young men of color,” said Maisha Simmons, RWJF program officer. “These community-driven initiatives bring together diverse partners that are looking to make a collective impact in their cities around issues of education, health, mentorship, and jobs. It is through efforts like these that we’ll build a strong culture of health and a pipeline of opportunity for all Americans.”

RWJF launched Forward Promise in 2012 as part of its commitment to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to life a healthy life and the resources to make healthy choices. The initiative focuses on young men of color because they are more likely to grow up in poverty, live in unsafe neighborhoods, and attend schools that lack the basic resources and supports that kids need in order to thrive. These community grants represent the second round of funding through Forward Promise. Each grantee has secured matching support from local funders in their city.

Click here to find out more about the new grants and previous Forward Promise grants.


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at