Culture of Health Leaders

2020 Call for Applications

    Release Date: January 10, 2020 | Application Deadline: Wed, 19 Feb 2020


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. We are facing many obstacles that pose challenges to this audacious vision—inequities in life expectancy across communities; high-cost health care but poorer quality of care and health; and more.

That’s why RWJF supports a number of leadership programs that aim to develop a generation of leaders who see that we need new approaches to these pressing problems. These programs support and connect leaders who are caring, curious, collaborative, and committed to taking risks and moving boldly toward real pathways to change—and to achieving greater equity in communities across our country.

View a recorded webinar with more information for prospective applicants and about the program itself.


The Culture of Health Leaders structured, three-year curriculum and participant experience—for individuals from all walks of life (for-profit, nonprofit, government, or social enterprise)—is for leaders who are highly motivated and ready to learn, lead, and achieve mastery of self, relationships, environment, and change. By the end of three years, leaders will have gained the skills to collaborate with organizations, communities, and policymakers to create sustainable change in their communities, organizations, and/or systems.  

Those selected for this program can expect to:

  • Be among up to 40 leaders chosen
  • Spend 32–38 hours/month in online learning and in-person meetings
  • Receive intensive executive coaching
  • Plan and launch a bold strategic initiative in year 2
  • Engage in cross-sector network-building
  • Receive a stipend of up to $20,000 per year for three years
  • Receive project funds of up to $35,000 for activities related to the implementation and evaluation of a community-based strategic initiative

Do you share our vision for leadership—and do you want to take the next step in your leadership journey? We encourage you to explore the program further at the Culture of Health Leaders website.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • The Culture of Health Leaders program is open to individuals from any walk of life who are committed to working with organizations, communities, systems, and policymakers to build a Culture of Health in America.
  • Applicants must be at least 21 years old as of September 1, 2020.
  • Federal, state, tribal and local government employees are eligible to apply unless they are considered government officials  under Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application. As federal policy or laws change, we may need to consider adjustments in eligibility and grant terms.
  • Individual candidates for receipt of award funds cannot be related by blood or marriage to any Officer  or Trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or be a descendant of its founder, Robert Wood Johnson.

Key Dates

Informational webinar: A recorded webinar with more information about the program will be available here.

  • February 19, 2020 (3 p.m. ET)
    Deadline for receipt of full applications, including video and references.
  • May 12–21, 2020
    Semifinalist interviews, Washington, D.C. (on-site attendance required).
  • Mid-June 2020
    Notification of finalists.
  • July 9, 2020
    Deadline for receipt of finalist supplemental applications.
  • September 1, 2020
    Program begins. Stipend funding initiated for program participants.
  • October 2020 (specific date TBD)
    Program convening [date and location TBD (on-site attendance required)].
  • March 2021 (date TBD)
    Program convening [date and location TBD (on-site attendance required)].
  • 2020 or 2021 (date TBD by RWJF)
    RWJF Annual Leadership Institute [date and location TBD (on-site attendance required)].

Total Awards


  • Number of leaders in the 2020 cohort: up to 40.
  • Grant funds from RWJF will include:
    • Stipend: up to $20,000 per year for three years (total of up to $60,000)
    • Project funds: funding of up to $35,000 for activities related to the implementation and evaluation of a community-based strategic initiative that promotes a Culture of Health. This strategic initiative must be approved by the national program center and the Foundation in year 2 of the program (not at time of initial application)
  • Additional tools and resources: Leaders may also be eligible to receive additional support directly from the national program center, if needed, to help make it easier for them to participate in the program.
  • Payment of grant funds: Grant funds are not paid directly to the individual leader. All grant funds will be paid to an organization (“sponsoring institution”) identified by the leader. 

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
February 19, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET