Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award

Inspiring Healthier Communities through Sport

    Release Date: May 7, 2018 | Application Deadline: Mon, 2 Jul 2018


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Sports Award recognizes sports teams, athletes, and community-based organizations that use sports to catalyze and sustain changes to make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play.


The Foundation will consider applications in the following three categories:

  • Category 1: A professional sports team community relations department or foundation based in the United States or Canada.
  • Category 2: An individual athlete or professional coach's foundation based in the United States or Canada.
  • Category 3: An organization in the United States or Canada that is an influential leader and model for improving community health through sports.

Applicants that are not charitable organizations or public entities must apply with an organization that is such an entity and will receive the prize funds. Additional documentation may be requested. 

If you are a chapter within a larger organization, the umbrella organization is eligible to apply but individual chapters are not. We encourage national offices of affiliate organizations to feature the work of their local organizations in their application.

The Foundation pledges to work in ways that reflect our values and our guiding principles. We strive to treat everyone with respect; we cultivate diversity, inclusion, and collaboration; and we act as good stewards of private resources, using them to advance the public’s interest. We recognize that our reputation and success also depend upon the integrity, fairness, and sound judgment of those with whom we work.   

With these principles in mind, RWJF will not consider an application if it is submitted by an entity whose name, brand, or practices—in the Foundation’s judgment—denigrates, harms, or discriminates against any racial or ethnic group.  For example, a team with a name or mascot that, in RWJF’s view, denigrates Native Americans will not be eligible for the award.


In determining the winners of the RWJF Sports Award, we will take into account our guiding principles in addition to the following selection criteria:


2018 Key Dates:

May 7               Call for Applications (CFA) opens

May 30              Information Session 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

July 2                Call for Applications (CFA) closes at 5:00 p.m. ET

August 27          Finalists announced

October 5          Winners notified

November 15     Ceremony at RWJF

Each category winner receives:

  • $10,000 cash prize;

  • Your story and success celebrated broadly to inspire others;

  • Opportunity to engage with other community leaders at RWJF headquarters during private ceremony.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
July 02, 2018, 5:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

Alisha Greenberg


Inspiring Healthier Communities

RWJF Sports Award

Recognizing how sports influence healthy change in communities by helping children maintain a healthy weight, eliminating bullying, and expanding opportunities for children living in poverty.

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From the Blog

Lifting the Weight of Incarceration

Is your organization creating a healthier community through sport? Then apply for the 2018 Sports Award! Learn how the 2016 winner, InnerCity Weightlifting, is helping former inmates find success after incarceration.

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Racism and Health

A Humbling Moment for RWJF

Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO, explains how last year’s Sports Award was hurtful to American Indians, and how that prompted the Foundation to look inward, make changes, and more clearly recognize racism and discrimination as factors in health.

Read the USA Today Op-Ed