New Jersey Health Initiatives Announces $2 Million in Grants to Ten Community Coalitions Across the State

    • July 14, 2015

Orange, N.J.—New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), today announced ten recipients of four-year grants to fund multi-sector, community-focused coalitions during an event in Orange, New Jersey. The aim of NJHI: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey - Communities Moving to Action is to support communities across New Jersey to make sustainable system changes and policy-oriented, long-term solutions for healthier living.

Spanning the full geography of the Garden Statefrom Morristown and Orange in the north to Salem and Atlantic City in the souththe ten recipients will serve as laboratories for innovative approaches to sustaining healthy communities.

Building a Culture of Health at the community level requires collaborationindividual groups can’t solve health challenges working in isolation,” said NJHI Director Bob Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We’ve found that communities across New Jersey are already forming coalitions of diverse organizations, including hospital systems, local health and human service agencies, schools, businesses, elected officials, public health officers and engaged citizens. We’re hoping to add to the long-term strength of those community coalitions through not just funding, but also training and coaching.

Grant-funded communities have received $50,000 for their first year, with an additional $150,000 granted in total over the final three grant years (provided the coalition members raise at least $35,000 in matching funding during the final two years of the initiative). During the first year, teams from each coalition will participate in a Boundary Spanning Leadership Institute, to develop tools and build skills to work on multi-faceted community issues, culminating in the development of an action plan to collectively address the most pressing needs of their community.

The ten communities NJHI selected for this initiative:

  • Atlantic City – led by AtlantiCare Foundation

  • Jersey City – led by City of Jersey City

  • Morristown – led by North Jersey Health Collaborative

  • Orange – led by Orange Public Schools

  • Newark – led by Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey

  • Irvington – led by Township of Irvington

  • Camden – led by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern NJ

  • Salem – led by United Way of Salem County

  • Elizabeth – led by YMCA of Eastern Union County

  • Trenton – led by YMCA of Trenton

These ten projects were selected to encompass a diverse group based on their location in the state—whether urban or rural—and which populations they serve.

The Orange School District is honored to be included among these grant recipients,” said Ronald C. Lee, superintendent of Orange Public Schools. “We appreciate being recognized by NJHI for the work we are already doing through our public schools, including a recently-opened pediatric treatment clinic, and a community greenhouse that is tended by area families when school is not in session. We’re excited to design and implement a Blueprint for Action that will continue us on a path to better health for all residents of Orange.

The NJHI: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey - Communities Moving to Action project is aligned with the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps model. That programa collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Instituteranks health based on four factor areas: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment.

This program aligns perfectly with the Foundation’s vision of working with others to build a Culture of Health and is a great way to get communities right here in our home state of New Jersey already focusing on health working together,” explained Marco Navarro, RWJF senior program officer. “We believe in the power of collaboration to create true systemic change and make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone. We hope this program, along with others like our annual Culture of Health prize and Roadmaps to Health, will help to highlight communities that can serve as best practices for others across the country.


Visit County Health Rankings & Roadmaps for more information on which specific factors help to make communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play, and how other communities can request Roadmaps to Health coaching.

About New Jersey Health Initiatives

New Jersey Health Initiatives is a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF's founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state's diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Learn more about NJHI at, and follow us on Twitter at

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all 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

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937