Apply Now: $25,000 RWJF Culture of Health Prize


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A culture of health is where everyone has a fair, just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This also achieves health equity.

Is your community creating a culture of health?

If so, apply for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize! The contest provides $25,000 to communities that unite neighborhood, school, and business partners to improve health for all residents. Apply by Oct.15, 2020.

Read about 2019 Winners

Three largely Latino cities won three of five 2019 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prizes!

Gonzales, Calif. (94% Latino), was chosen from nearly 200 applicants. Two other cities with large Latino populations—Lake County, Colo. (36% Latino) and Broward County, Fla. (30% Latino)—also won the health prize. Greenville County, S.C., and Sitka, Alaska, also received the prize.

Gonzales California 2019 RWJF Culture of Health PrizeGonzales is known for its lettuce farming, big heart, can-do attitude, and innovations in agricultural-technology, environmental awareness, and sustainable practices.

The city’s efforts for a culture of health include several initiatives that are resulting in real progress in economic development, health care access, and youth engagement. For example, local voters approved a half-cent sales tax in 2014 to pay for after-school programs, summer camps, better parks, and summertime career training.

“The City Council and staff are committed to working collaboratively to provide the resources necessary to bring excellent services that enhance the quality of life of our diverse community,” said Mayor Maria Orozco said.

Read about 2018 Winners

In 2018, two majority-Latino communities earned two of the four prize winners.

RWJF chose San Antonio, Texas (63.6% Latino) and Cicero, Ill. (88.8% Latino) from about 200 applicants. Eatonville, Fla., and Klamath County, Ore., also won.

Salud America!, our national network to promote Latino health equity and healthy change led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, is excited to be stationed at UT Health San Antonio.

Resident-driven efforts focus on factors that impact health. This includes approving funding for city-wide pre-K and expanding Internet connectivity among public housing residents. The city’s strong data-driven collective action shows up in efforts like SA2020.

Circuit Training at Bonnie Conner Park Source SAParksFitness Twitter
San Antonio residents join together for circuit training at Bonnie Conner Park (Source SAParksFitness Twitter).

The ¡Por Vida! program works with restaurants to make eating out healthier in San Antonio. Fitness in the Park and FitPass help people stay physically fit.

“These inspiring places are engaging community members in decision making to give all residents the opportunity to live well, no matter where they live, how much money they make, or the color of their skin,” said Dr. Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO.

Read about 2017 Winners

In 2017, two majority-Latino communities earned two of the eight prizes.

RWJF chose Chelsea, MA (62% Latino) and San Pablo, CA (55% Latino) from 200 applicants.

RWJF culture of health prizeChelsea opened the city’s waterfront. They also served vulnerable populations, and engaged youth in food justice projects.

San Pablo created job training programs. They also built a community center and established a youth commission.

“San Pablo has become a regional model for how to strengthen the overall health of a community,” said City Manager Matt Rodriguez. “Winning a RWJF Culture of Health Prize will help our efforts to continue integrating national best practice models into our community.”

Check out other winners here.

How to Apply for the Prize

To win the RWJF Culture of Health Prize, communities must excel in six key areas:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems of changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair, just opportunity for good health.
  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.

The prize application deadline is Oct. 15, 2020. Up to 10 communities will be selected to win a cash prize of $25,000, along with national promotion of their efforts.

“The Prize elevates the compelling stories of community members who are working together to transform neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and more,” according to the prize website. “[These communities make it] so that the opportunity for better health flourishes for all.”

Winners will be announced in fall 2021.

Apply here for the prize!

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