Leadership and Management of the RWJF Culture of Health Prize

2021 Request for Qualifications

    Release Date: April 7, 2021 | Application Deadline: Wed, 30 Jun 2021

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) seeks an organization to lead and manage the national RWJF Culture of Health Prize (Prize) program. This request for qualifications (RFQ) provides background on the program and outlines qualifications and responsibilities for the next lead organization.


A Culture of Health recognizes that where we live—such as our access to affordable homes, quality schools, good jobs, reliable transportation, and safe neighborhoods—affects how long and how well we live. The coronavirus pandemic’s health and economic effects; civil unrest in response to racist police violence; and growing inequities across the nation underscore the importance of community conditions and collective efforts so that everyone in the United States has a fair and just opportunity for health.

As RWJF works to build a Culture of Health with partners across the country, the Prize program works to elevate the cities, counties, tribes, regions, and rural towns that are working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity. By recognizing and promoting those efforts, the Prize affirms the direction of winning communities, enabling them to deepen and expand their local collaborations; leverage their Prize win for additional support and resources; and connect with other communities.

Narrative change is the main emphasis of the Prize program. Narratives shape understanding about what healthy, equitable communities are and how they may be created. The Prize program seeks to change today’s dominant narrative—from the stories in the media to ways policymakers describe solutions—which emphasizes that opportunities for health are defined by individual choices or chance, not the structural conditions and policies that create those opportunities.

RWJF is seeking to increase the Prize program’s reach to a wider range of communities and its visibility with important audiences, such as policymakers, media, and health equity-focused networks. In a commitment to fairness, RWJF is opening up the opportunity for the leadership and management of the Prize program in its entirety. The next lead for the program will have two main responsibilities: (1) redesign and manage a national competitive process; and (2) use selection, recognition, and other program activities to accelerate changes to the narrative about healthy, equitable communities. More details are outlined in the full request for qualifications.

View the full RFQ.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Applicants may be public entities; nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or for-profit organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation as part of its due diligence prior to contracting, such as, but not limited to submitting financial statements, completing a financial/organization questionnaire, and other follow-up, as needed.

Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.

Key Dates

  • April 21, 2021 (3 p.m. ET)
    Optional applicant webinar
    Webinar slides and recording 
  • June 30, 2021 (3 p.m. ET)
  • Deadline for receipt of full proposals.
  • Mid-September 2021
    Virtual discussions with selected finalists.
  • November 1, 2021
    Planning contract start date.

Total Awards

Based on the results of this RFQ, one organization will be awarded a planning contract and, if successfully completed, an implementation contract. As part of this RFQ, we ask the applicant to provide an estimated $4 million to $6 million budget over 27 months. The applicant should separate this budget amount into the two phases of work: planning (November 1, 2021–August 31, 2022) and implementation (September 1, 2022–January 31, 2024) periods. This amount may be negotiated with RWJF, and additional justification and documentation may be required for contracts at the higher end of this range. While we are seeking the most qualified applicant to complete this work, competitiveness of rate structures also will be taken into consideration. To be able to accurately compare various bids, we ask that you supply billable rates for the various staff members included in your proposal. The Foundation will not accept fixed-price contract proposals.

  • The selected entity is expected to have designated milestones to measure success. Milestones will help RWJF determine renewal of this contract.
  • RWJF will award, directly, prizes to community winners; as such, these prizes do not need to be budgeted by the next lead entity.
  • RWJF will also provide separate funds to contracted evaluation firms (to be selected) to support independent evaluations/assessments related to the impact of the program. These funds are intended to complement the quality improvement capacities and budget of the lead entity selected through this RFQ and do not need to be budgeted by the next lead entity.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
June 30, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

Katie Wehr, senior program officer
Phone: (609) 627-6384
Email: COHPrize@rwjf.org