Addressing Structural Barriers to Economic Inclusion for Children and Families

Purpose The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a vision of a Culture of Health rooted in equity where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to reach their best health and wellbeing, no matter their race, ethnicity, or social class. Economic inclusion for family wellbeing is one of RWJF’s central goals and the heartbeat of the Healthy Children and Families (HCF) theme. At RWJF, we envision a society in which all parents and caregivers are fully integrated into our economy, the barriers to wealth and prosperity are removed, and every child has an array of opportunities that helps them grow up healthy.Evidence reveals a robust causal link between access to economic resources and opportunity for health and wellbeing. The U.S. economy and many systems that families interact with prioritize production and economic growth, excluding some people—particularly Black, Indigenous and immigrant families—from the nation’s shared prosperity based on factors such as participation in the traditional labor market. HCF’s goal is to disrupt current economic paradigms that value production over wellbeing by addressing the structural factors in economic systems, policies, and decisionmaking. We seek efforts to bring a new social contract for children and families to life–one that acknowledges our collective interdependence; the need for shared prosperity; and that all families and children have inherent value and dignity. This call for proposals will create a portfolio of grants addressing structural issues that hinder children and families from thriving in our economy. We are interested in frameworks, ideas, models, or approaches that demonstrate an alternative economic vision that positions families at the center–challenging the idea that the value of families can only be understood in connection to work or production. The focus is on systems change—shifting from programs, policies, and services that fill gaps in families’ resources to the longer-term structural and systemic changes that will ensure all families have the resources they need to raise thriving children. We aim to build evidence for and to elevate promising and innovative models, their connections to current approaches, and how they might help realize a vision that prioritizes child and family health and wellbeing as a core goal of our nation and the infusion of such into the economy.
Receipt Date Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Total Awards $250,000 to $750,000
Eligibility Eligible applicants:Must have organizational infrastructure that demonstrates sufficient capacity and a history to conduct proposed efforts in timely, well-managed capacity that led to desired outcomes.Organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.Two or more organizations may partner to develop and implement this grant program. While each collaborating organization must be described in detail in the proposal, only one organization may represent the collaboration and be the lead contact in the application process and may engage the other organization(s) through a subcontract or grant.The Foundation seeks to engage organizations that do not provide—and within the past year have not provided—significant services to clients whose interests conflict, or appear to conflict, with programs of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Such clients include, but are not limited to, those that promote tobacco or firearms of any kind, promote alcohol products irresponsibly, promote the work of trade associations for the tobacco, alcohol or firearms industries, or promote to children food of minimal nutritional value. According to federal regulations, “foods of minimal nutritional value” are foods that provide less than 5 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance per serving for each of eight key nutrients. They include soft drinks, water ices, chewing gum, and certain candies made largely from sweeteners, such as hard candy and jelly beans.This guideline also may apply in cases where such clients’ work is done by an affiliate company of the entity or vendor submitting the proposal, e.g., if the entity or vendor’s parent company has clients who promote tobacco. This guideline, of necessity, cannot cover every potential situation; accordingly, the Foundation will consider conflicts, or perceived conflicts, on a case-by-case basis.
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