2021 RWJF Sports Award Winners Announced

Winners: The Dance Institute of Washington, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Make The World Better, Move United, and YEAH! YOGA

    • September 29, 2021
Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation team running on baseball field

Princeton, N.J.—The Dance Institute of Washington, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Make the World Better, Move United, and YEAH! YOGA have been selected as 2021 winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Sports Award. The winners will receive a $25,000 cash prize and be honored during a private virtual ceremony on September 29.

Since 2015, this award has recognized professional sports teams, athletes, coaches, and community-based organizations that use sports to catalyze and sustain changes to make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. RWJF lifts up organizations that bring a deep understanding of community needs and acknowledge the power of sports to connect us and make us healthier, no matter our race, gender, abilities, or economic background.


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“I am amazed by the work of this year’s winners and their commitment to using sport as a vehicle to achieve health equity. We know that removing barriers to safe play is essential to building a Culture of Health, and our winners provide wonderful examples of that.”

Allyn Brooks-LaSure, RWJF Vice President of Communications


2021 Winners

The Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) is the leading minority-led, pre-professional dance equity organization in Washington, D.C., whose efforts impact and inspire racial and economic equity in dance locally, nationally and across the globe.

“The Dance Institute of Washington is grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for this game-changing Sports Award that will help shine a spotlight on our equitable, holistic dance education programming for D.C. youth. Thanks to this award, we will be in a position to expand our dance training and integral support services available to improve young people’s health, both physically and mentally, and help them succeed.” —Kahina Haynes, executive director

Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) is using its platform and programs to tackle the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, healthcare, homelessness, and social justice for all Angelenos.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is absolutely thrilled to have received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award for our critical work to remove barriers to health equity through sports. Through an approach that focuses on the comprehensive needs of young people, we aggressively tackle the most pressing challenges that Angelenos face by providing access and opportunity for those who need support the most.” —Nichol Whiteman, CEO

Make the World Better (MTWB), founded in 2014 by former Eagles player Connor Barwin, connects people and inspires stewardship through public space revitalization projects in Philadelphia.

"We appreciate RWJ's work to support health and well being in our communities. At MTWB we work with communities to not only improve health through sports but also through the connectedness of shared public spaces. After previously being selected as a finalist for this award, we’re so honored to be named a winner this year.” —Connor Barwin, founder and board president 

Move United provides national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, including competition, recreation and educational programs.

“Like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Move United is committed to making communities healthier, while driving inclusion for people with disabilities. Sport has the power to change the world, pushing people further and bringing people closer. On behalf of our 200 member organizations serving more than 100,000 individuals with disabilities, Move United is greatly honored to receive the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award.” —Glenn Merry, executive director

YEAH! YOGA teaches culturally accessible, trauma informed and healing focused yoga and mindfulness to youth involved with or affected by the carceral system. 

"YEAH! YOGA is honored to receive the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award! As a small but mighty non-profit, we are humbled by the recognition of the value of our work sharing the tools of yoga and mindfulness with youth impacted by the carceral system. We are grateful for the funds attached to the award, which will allow us to expand our offerings and increase our reach to support more youth in their healing and self-empowerment. We are thrilled to represent yoga in the field of Sports Based Youth Development and look forward to being a part of the family of organizations supported by the Robert Wood Johnson team!” —Emilia Aguinaga, director of Programs and Operations



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award honors the innovative and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations and teams that are making their communities healthier through sport. For more information on the award, visit www.rwjf.org/sportsaward.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, we are working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

Media Contacts

Jordan Reese

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-6322

Additional Media Contact: Alisha Greenberg

RWJF Sports Award (301) 801-7893

RWJF Sports Award

The RWJF Sports Award focuses on recognizing those in sport who display an innovative and collaborative approach to making their communities a healthier place to live.

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