Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
|Founder||Robert Wood Johnson II|
|Purpose||Improving the health and well-being of all in America|
|Method||Grantmaking and social change|
Richard Besser |
|Disbursements||~$500 million annually|
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the United States' largest philanthropy focused solely on health; it is based in Princeton, New Jersey. The foundation's goal, through the use of grants, is "to improve the health and health care of all Americans." The foundation has $11 billion in assets, generating grants approaching $500 million a year.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation makes grants for a range of health issues, including access to care, childhood obesity, and training for doctors and nurses. Other topics of interest to the foundation include social and economic factors that can impact health, including quality of housing, violence, poverty, and access to fresh food.
Robert Wood Johnson II built the family firm of Johnson & Johnson into the world's largest health products maker. He died in 1968. He established the foundation at his death with 10,204,377 shares of the company's stock.
The foundation is currently headed by Richard E. Besser, who was named president and CEO in April 2017. Besser succeeded Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the foundation's president between 2002 and 2017. Lavizzo-Mourey worked to advance its vision of building a Culture of Health, including spearheading efforts to reverse the national childhood obesity epidemic. The foundation committed $1 billion toward eradicating this health problem, dedicating $500 million to the mission in 2007 and another $500 million in 2015.
From 1990 to 2002, Steve Schroeder lead the foundation, playing a major role in curbing tobacco use in the U.S., spending $446 million from 1991 to 2003 toward that goal.
These interest areas include:
Childhood Obesity: Backing projects that help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by improving access to affordable, healthy food and providing more opportunities for children to play and exercise in their schools and communities. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's grants are focused on driving public policy initiatives and changing community environments. These include programs that encourage supermarkets to return to low-income communities and that improve nutrition, physical activity, and staff wellness in schools nationwide. The foundation partnered with The Food Trust, a non-profit in Philadelphia that helps make fresh, affordable food accessible to the underprivileged and educates children about healthy eating. The Food Trust's research on childhood obesity led the Philadelphia school system to ban soda vending machines from all of its schools, the strongest measure in the country.
Health Insurance Coverage: Supporting policies and initiatives that expand health care coverage and increase enrollment in programs so that anyone in the U.S. can have affordable health care coverage.
Health Care Cost, Quality, and Value: Promoting efforts to make high quality care available cost effectively. The foundation funds projects that study the relationships between the cost of care and results, develop ways to cut waste in the health care system, and advance research into how people's health is affected by factors such as education, transportation, income, clean air, and public or business policies. For example, in 2009, the foundation donated $2 million to Health Leads, a national health care organization that works with doctors in participating clinics to "prescribe" food, fuel assistance, housing vouchers, or other resources for their patients the same way they might prescribe medication.
Leadership for Better Health: Supporting projects that help health professionals develop leadership skills, encourage networking between different disciplines, and increase the diversity of people working in health care.
Pioneer Portfolio: Making grants to promote approaches to entrenched problems, identify emerging health issues, and build new models for providing care. For example, the foundation gave nearly $5 million to Project ECHO, based at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. ECHO uses online videoconferencing to link primary-care doctors, nurses, and physicians' assistants with specialists to train them to treat and help manage complex conditions, such as hepatitis C and opiate addiction.
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize is awarded annually to honor communities for efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives.
- Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy. The award was established in 2005, in memory of Steve Patterson, an NBA player and college coach, who believed in and practiced the use of the power of sports philanthropy to make a difference. It was renamed in 2015 to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award and honors nonprofits, professional sports teams, and sports philanthropies who are using sports to help children maintain a healthy weight, create safe play environments, eliminate bullying, abuse and violence, and expand opportunities for children living in poverty.
- Faith in Action
- List of wealthiest foundations
- Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
- Public health
- Wellness in school
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- Patterson died of cancer in July 2004 at the age of 56. "MLB Press Release: Chicago White Sox named recipient of 2012 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy: Team recognized for Volunteer Corps Program; Award is one of highest honors in sports philanthropy". MLB Advanced Media LLP. September 13, 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Giants Community Fund honored for youth work". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2017-10-19.