Forward Promise: Partnering with Systems to Disrupt Dehumanization

2019 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: May 10, 2019 | Application Deadline: Thu, 6 Jun 2019


Forward Promise aims to disrupt the cycle of dehumanization that is occurring in the lives of BYMOC and threatens to derail their life success by creating pathways to healing, growing, and thriving. Through this program, Forward Promise aims to seed new approaches by youth-serving systems to address health and trauma that are grounded in the lived experiences and cultural values, norms, and traditions of BYMOC, and the knowledge of community organizations who work with BYMOC every day. Learnings from the Partnering with Systems to Disrupt Dehumanization grantees may be useful in advancing a greater understanding of what it means for BYMOC to heal, grow, and thrive, and provide concrete examples of the role that culturally responsive youth-serving systems play in the health of BYMOC.

Through this solicitation, Partnering with Systems to Disrupt Dehumanization will support up to seven organizations to partner with a local or regional youth-serving system to increase the understanding of issues faced by BYMOC in these systems and the historical role of dehumanization by systems; uplift the current disparities that exist in the public system; deepen knowledge of culturally responsive approaches as effective strategies for addressing trauma and promoting healing; devise a plan for working together to test approaches; and identify sustainable opportunities to change the way these systems do business and approach their work with BYMOC.

Up to seven organizations will receive a grant of up to and including $150,000 in total over an 18-month period to support the planning, implementation, and evaluation of partnership efforts between community-based organizations and youth-serving systems such as juvenile justice, child welfare, education, housing, and health provision within their communities. Lead applicants can come from any members of the partnership; however, preference will be given to those that are community-based organizations. From our previous work, we have found they are uniquely positioned to help systems understand and mitigate the impact of trauma on BYMOC, with many already partnering to provide services to improve outcomes for BYMOC. As such, we seek to support existing partnerships at varying stages of their development, with younger partnerships primarily focusing their efforts on strengthening and formalizing the partnerships, while more mature ones may already be ready to pilot and evaluate new approaches to better serve BYMOC.


Eligibility and Selection Criteria

RWJF seeks applications from organizations and/or institutions engaged in existing partnerships between community-based organizations and youth-serving systems that are actively trying to improve access to, and the quality of, services that support BYMOC to heal from trauma and attain overall health and well-being. Applicants should have evidence that their programs are improving outcomes for BYMOC.

  • Awards will be made to organizations, not to individuals.
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories. 
  • Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.
  • While each collaborating organization must be described in detail in the proposal, only one organization may represent the collaboration and be the lead contact in the application process. This lead applicant may be either a community-based organization partner, or a systems partner, but preference will be given to applications from community-based organizations.
  • Applicant organizations that serve both young men and women will be considered, but they must demonstrate an explicit emphasis on improving outcomes for BYMOC. Additionally, preference will be given to organizations whose programs are made up of at least 50 percent male participants.
  • The applicant must have the administrative and financial capacity (i.e., proper governance, sufficient staffing and strong policies, procedures and internal controls) to manage an award of the size being requested and may be asked to provide financial and other information to support this capability as part of the review and selection process.

Key Dates

May 10, 2019
Applications open for proposals.

May 22, 2019 (3 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant webinar. Registration is required through this link.

June 6, 2019 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of full proposals.

July 22, 2019
Applicants notified of plans for a site visit.

July and August 2019
Site visits to semifinalists. 

September 2019
Finalists notified.

October 15, 2019
Start of grants.

Total Awards

  • Up to seven awards will be made through this initiative. 
  • Grants up to and including $150,000 each will be awarded.
  • Grant duration will be 18 months.
  • Grants will begin on October 15, 2019. 

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
June 06, 2019, 3:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

Forward Promise
Phone: (215) 573-8558

Forward Promise

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise program works to give secondary-school boys and young men of color opportunities for better health through education and jobs.

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