Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award

Removing Barriers to Health Equity Through Sports

    Release Date: March 10, 2021 | Application Deadline: Wed, 5 May 2021


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Sports Award recognizes 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. Through this Award we lift up community-based 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.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The Foundation will consider applications from the following organizations:

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

Up to five awards of $25,000 each may be given annually.

National organizations may submit only one application each. If you are a local “chapter” that falls under the umbrella of or is directly associated with a larger, national organization (for example, Girls on the Run, YMCA, Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs), we ask that you coordinate with the national office—as only the umbrella organization, and not individual chapters, is eligible to apply. Multiple applications will not be accepted. If you submit on behalf of the national office, we encourage you to highlight the work of your local programs.

If you are an independent sports program, please be sure that you can highlight significant reach and impact and show a successful track record of serving as an influential leader nationally.

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

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.

Key Dates

March 10, 2021
Call for applications launches on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website

May 5, 2021 (5:00p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of online applications

Week of June 28, 2021
Finalists notified

Week of September 6, 2021
Winners notified

Fall 2021
Virtual ceremony


Total Awards

Each winner receives:

  • $25,000 cash prize;
  • Eligibility for continued funding through the Opportunity Fund which annually supports past winners.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
May 05, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

Alisha Greenberg, director
RWJF Sports Award
Phone: (301) 657-9379

Inspiring Healthier Communities

RWJF Sports Award

The RWJF Sports Award celebrates, supports, and raises awareness of the power of sports to connect us and make us healthier, no matter our race, gender, abilities, or economic background.

Learn more