Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Data to Improve Community Conditions Shaped by Structural Racism
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) invites eligible nonprofit organizations to apply for a grant to use data to inform efforts to improve community conditions shaped by structural racism, and ultimately work towards achieving health equity. Equity is an important consideration in the process of how data are collected and, ultimately, in who gets to interpret, disseminate, and leverage data to take action. People most affected by racial, economic, and geographic inequities in health and well-being need to be able to access, interpret, and contribute data to assess structural inequities in their communities. Also, they should have the opportunity to participate in decision-making about how to address barriers and design solutions to improve community health based on that data.
To provide local leaders of community change the information they need, local organizations with relevant expertise can be collaborators to create new data; facilitate accessing and interpreting data; and help with communication of data about community conditions and health equity. RWJF seeks to fund organizations that will meaningfully engage with community members to address the issues that matter to the community. Organizations should collaborate with community members to define questions of interest; determine what data and analysis are needed; collect, analyze, and interpret data; share data in accessible formats; and/or translate findings for local audiences. Examples of these kinds of activities follow. This list is far from exhaustive and RWJF welcomes creative and innovative ideas. This grant opportunity is intended to catalyze initiatives and collaborations working with community members to bring about changes to community conditions caused by structural racism:
- To understand community safety priorities, collaborate with a local community group to collect data virtually or in person. New surveys, interviews, or focus groups, perhaps analyzed together with quantitative data, could incorporate the lived experience of residents in understanding perceptions of safety and the structural drivers of crime. Residents can use this analysis to identify the strategies and investments they would want local government to prioritize to improve community safety.
- To address poor air quality, work with residents to measure sources of pollutants in their neighborhoods, such as refineries, bus depots, etc., and inform advocacy strategies to promote mitigation and clean-up.
- To develop new strategies to address structural barriers to employment, work with a coalition of regional funders to analyze how discriminatory and racist policies and practices in transportation have contributed to inequities in access to employment. This analysis could be combined with an assessment of how COVID-19 has exacerbated those inequities for particular neighborhoods and how to begin to shape a broader geography of opportunity.
- To ensure emergency rental assistance is reaching the households that need it most, work with service providers and housing counselors to analyze data to reveal the spatial patterns of evictions. This analysis can be used by service providers and housing counselors to target outreach to neighborhoods most affected and demonstrate the need for additional resources.
- To create a plan to improve childcare services, assist local agencies and networks to analyze data on childcare needs, and/or collect surveys to learn about concerns and priorities of parents and staff; and highlight the gaps between the need for quality daycare services and availability by neighborhood.
- To advance equitable access to quality recreation spaces, collaborate with a local recreation department and community groups to use data to assess the distribution of recreation spaces and identify priority locations for future investments.
Amount: $1,400,000 is available to make 35 awards of $40,000 each.
Eligibility: U.S. based organizations that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) or Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Universities, whether public or private, are ineligible to apply, but are eligible to partner with an applicant that is a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organization.
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