Robert Johnson Wood Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW: The Robert Johnson Wood Foundation (RWJF) is a large funder that supports a variety of mental health grants. It generally makes these gifts to organizations that serve at-risk and underserved populations, but it also supports mental health projects in new and innovative research.

IP TAKE: While RWJF offers a relatively large amount of support for a considerable number of organizations, their call-for-proposals approach means that your organization might not be eligible to receive any of this funding, regardless of whether you meet the general criteria. Innovative organizations and projects could have a better chance by soliciting funds through the Pioneering Idea program; however this program generally receives less funding than the foundation's other areas of work.

PROFILE: The Robert Johnson Wood Foundation’s primary focus on mental health grants comes from its Vulnerable Populations program, which focuses on organizations that support minorities and children. However, some grants related to mental health projects do appear in some of its other program areas, such as the Pioneer program, which focuses on funding new and innovative projects, and the Coverage program, which provides funding to organizations that extend healthcare to under-served populations. 

Much of the funding awarded by the foundation is broad in scope, focusing on the health care system itself. But Mental and Emotional Well-Being is one of its stated focus areas as well.

The sizes of grants vary widely depending on the scope and needs of the project. Foundation-wide, grants typically start at $150,000 and quite often go into the millions of dollars. To learn more about the organizations RWJF funds, you can visit its grants database.

RWJF determines which types of grants it will fund by making calls for proposals. There is no set schedule for when the group makes these calls, but it does provide advance notice before the call goes out. The foundation does accept unsolicited proposals for the Pioneer program.

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