Community Solutions for Health Equity: Call for Proposals
Deadline: October 7, 2020

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that communities of color are disproportionately burdened by racist and oppressive systems—from health care to education to housing—with significant consequences to physical and mental health. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color are evident in the health care system, and are compounded by inequitable community systems.

With Community Solutions for Health Equity, RWJF seeks to make local health care systems more responsive to the needs of the community by elevating the voices, stories, priorities, and knowledge of people of color, and others who are left out of policy decisions. The Foundation’s funding will provide community organizations with grant support to help increase their ability to organize members, build partnerships with other constituencies, and develop effective communication-all of which are critical to shared decision making.

Community Solutions for Health Equity is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched in the summer of 2019. It is focused on elevating the voices of communities of color and other communities left out of discussions when local health care systems in the United States are creating policy. Racism and bias are often at the root of communities of color and other communities being excluded from policy considerations, often by design. This program attempts to address those issues directly: by supporting communities to identify a problem that negatively affects consumers; envision solutions; and partner with health care systems to implement them.


Consumer groups and community-based organizations bring a deep understanding of community needs, assets, and culture to health care ecosystem work. The health care ecosystem includes the full spectrum of organizations and social structures that impact a person’s health and health care. Too often, the priorities of health care systems (hospitals, providers, and insurers) do not line up with the priorities of community-based organizations and the consumers living in the communities to whom the health care systems are providing service.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The Foundation is interested in engaging diverse groups and organizations, including those that have limited experience receiving grants of this size. We do require that the awards go to an organization that has the capacity to manage awards of this size, either directly or with the benefit of technical assistance. Smaller organizations with more limited administrative and financial capacity may demonstrate how they can rely on technical assistance or may engage another organization, such as a fiscal sponsor, to apply for this award and oversee and manage the grant. Please see the frequently asked questions (FAQs) for additional information on technical assistance and fiscal sponsors.

To be considered for a grant, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Awards will be made to organizations, not to individuals. If your group does not yet have an official organization [such as a 501(c)(3) or an LLC], then you must identify an organization, such as a fiscal sponsor that will submit the application; oversee the grant; receive and administer grant payments; monitor the use of grant funds; and submit annual and final reports to the Foundation.
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands; and
  • Applicant organizations must demonstrate the capacity to manage awards of this size, either directly or with the benefit of technical assistance.

Key Dates

  • August 12, 2020: Letter of Intent (LOI) launches on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.
  • August 26, 2020 (2–3:30 p.m. ET): Optional applicant informational webinar. Registration is required.
  • August 28, 2020 (12-1 p.m. ET): Optional applicant walkthrough of Application & Review online system. Registration is required.
  • October 7, 2020 (3 p.m. ET): Letter of Intent deadline. All LOIs due to the Foundation.*
  • November 16, 2020 (3 p.m. ET): Invitations are extended to select organizations to submit a full proposal.
  • January 18, 2021 (3 p.m. ET): Deadline for receipt of full proposals.*
  • February 8, 2021: Notification to full proposal applicants, including invitation to finalists to proceed with grant initiation.
  • March 15, 2021: Grants initiated.

Total Awards

  • Grants of $300,000 each over three years will be awarded through this program.
  • A total of nine grants will be awarded.