Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Founded 1972
Founder Robert Wood Johnson II
Focus Healthcare reform, quality of care, childhood obesity, human capital, vulnerable populations, public health, health coverage
Area served
Health and health care
Method Grantmaking and social change
Key people
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
Disbursements ~$400 million annually
Endowment $9.2 billion

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the United States' largest philanthropy focused solely on health; it is based in Princeton, New Jersey.[1][2] The foundation's goal, through the use of grants, is "to improve the health and health care of all Americans."[3] The foundation has $9.2 billion in assets, generating grants approaching $400 million a year.[4]

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.[5]


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.[6][7]


The foundation is headed by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, who was named president and CEO in December 2002. Lavizzo-Mourey succeeded Steve Schroeder, the foundation's president between 1990 and 2002. Under Schroeder's leadership, the foundation played a major role in curbing tobacco use in the US, spending $446 million from 1991 to 2003 toward that goal, and it plans to use those experiences to shape its attack on childhood obesity. Since 1995, the number of adult and teenage smokers has declined 12.6 percent and 18 percent, respectively.[6]

Grantmaking areas

These interest areas include:

Childhood Obesity: Backing projects that help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015 by improving access to affordable, healthy food and providing more opportunities for children to play and exercise in their schools and communities.

In April 2007, the foundation committed $500 million to fighting childhood obesity.

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.[8]

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.

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, 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.[9]

Human Capital: Supporting projects that help health professionals develop leadership skills, encourage networking between different disciplines, and increase the diversity of people working in health care.

Vulnerable Populations: Giving grants to initiatives that study and develop approaches for addressing social factors, such as housing, poverty, and education, that can impact the health of vulnerable people, including low-income children and their families, frail older adults, and adults with disabilities. The foundation is focusing in particular on mental health and violence prevention, especially in early childhood.[10]

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.[11]


  • 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.[12]

See also


  1. "Top 100 US Foundations by Asset Size". Foundation Center. Retrieved 2011-03-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Syp, Mark (2012-11-17). "Robert Wood Johnson marks its anniversary with an eye toward the future of public health". Times of Trenton. Retrieved 2014-03-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation". Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved 2014-03-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Our Work". Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved 2014-03-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Strom, Stephanie (2007-04-04). "$500 Million Pledged to Fight Childhood Obesity". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Information from". Retrieved 2011-03-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Watson, Tom (2007-04-11). "Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Takes Aim at Childhood Obesity". onPhilanthropy. Retrieved 2014-03-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Physician "Prescriptions" Written During Medical Visit and "Filled" by Onsite Volunteers Connect Low-Income Families to Vital Community Resources". Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. AHRQ Web site. Retrieved 2014-03-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2014 President's Message". Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved 2014-03-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Nicole, Wallace (2012-10-28). "A Foundation's Innovative Grant Program Supports Unconventional Health-Care Solutions". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 2014-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links