Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW:  The Robert Wood Johnson 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, its call-for-proposals approach means that organizations might not be eligible to receive any of this funding, regardless of whether they meet the general criteria.

PROFILE: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was founded by General Robert Wood Johnson II, son of a co-founder of Johnson & Johnson. The foundation seeks to build “a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.” It makes its mental health grants through its Healthy Communities program, which prioritizes 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 Leadership for Better Health program, which focuses on funding new and innovative projects, and the Health Systems program, which provides funding to organizations that extend healthcare to under-served populations. 

Innovative organizations and projects might 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.

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, grant seekers 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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