Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Equity-Focused Policy Research – Building Cross-Cutting Evidence on Supports for Families with Young Children

Some families don’t have access to the basic necessities and resources to foster the nurturing experiences and stimulating environments that young children need to thrive. What is needed are policies that support low-income families to provide environments that promote children’s healthy physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that current policies and practices fall short in supporting families’ access to the social safety net system. Further, the pandemic has exacerbated the consequences of poverty, racism, and discrimination, and exposed the health, economic, social, and other inequities that vulnerable families experience.

In the context of the pandemic, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) seeks to provide resources to families and communities facing the greatest strain. Newly emerging barriers to accessing essential supports are likely to exacerbate the health and economic effects of this crisis for families that already face inequities. The economic and social disruptions created by COVID-19 also have the potential to draw more focused attention to the effects of historic inequities on communities of color and low-resourced communities. The disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on people of color, marginalized populations, and the low-wage workforce underscores the effects of economic and social conditions—including structural racism, segregation, and discrimination—on the physical, emotional, cognitive, and intellectual health of historically disenfranchised communities and populations.

The Equity-Focused Policy Research (EFPR) grant program seeks to fund research that highlights strategies and policies that enhance families’ equitable access to key resources for supporting their children’s healthy development. EFPR grants are guided by research that focuses on: (1) understanding the sources of inequities in families’ access to and use of key resources; (2) identifying and testing innovations to advance equity; and (3) strategies for scaling up policies and approaches that are effective in advancing equity. Proposed research is anticipated to address three policy areas as providing critical resources for families:

(1) Access to early care and education (ECE)
(2) Income supports (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] and cash transfer programs) and income generation/replacement
(3) Nutrition supports such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Amount: Up to 20 awards that range from $50,000-$200,000 are expected to be made for projects of up to 24 months.

Eligibility: Academic institutions, public entities and private non-profit organizations, state and local government agencies, and for-profit organizations. All organizations must be based in the United States or its territories. Applicants also may represent partnerships between service providers or practitioners and researchers.

Deadline: February 16, 2021.

Resource Information
Funder Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Eligibility For Profit Organization, Institutes of Higher Education, Local Government, Nonprofit Organization, State Government
Resource URL:
Sector COVID-19 Emergency Response, Research
Grant Amount $50,000-$200,000
Deadline Closed