Research shows that overall health is linked not only with a country’s overall level of wealth, but also with how that wealth is distributed—and in the United States, distribution of wealth is deeply, fundamentally, and increasingly unequal. Health equity is impossible unless we dismantle structural racism, overcome the racial wealth gap, and distribute wealth more equitably.
That’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) work to advance health equity and a Culture of Health incorporates a focus on economic inclusion for all families, no matter their race or zip code. If you live in a community that has little or no capital coming in, your health and wellbeing is unlikely to be secure. Community and family wealth are essential to good health.
Funding Research into the Solutions We Need
Policies that build and sustain economic security and wealth for families of color are the focus of our funding opportunity. We are not looking for research that only documents the problem or examines the harm the racial wealth gap causes. Rather, we are looking for research that identifies community-oriented policies that can effectively dismantle the racial wealth gap.
Applicants must propose investigations into policy solutions that align with the work of racial justice organizations and community groups. Among the many potentially transformative policies being proposed and tested right now are:
● Baby bonds,
● Tax credits and exemptions,
● Community land trusts,
● Community asset ownership,
● Universal basic income,
● Confronting and closing the racial wealth gap for people with disabilities,
● Support for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses, and
● Many others.
We aim to fund research into how effective those and other policy ideas are at creating environments that enable communities and families of color to dream, invest, and design inclusive economies that build and sustain generational wealth. We expect the evidence that emerges from this work to inform and incentivize policymakers to invest in solutions.
We welcome applications from people and groups that may not have applied for RWJF grants before and will look favorably on applicants that center community involvement in their research design. By doing so, we hope to help change the demographics of who does policy research and diversify those who are considered experts.
In all its grantmaking, RWJF centers health equity by looking for researchers who bring lived and professional experience to the table, produce nuanced, racially disaggregated data, make communities affected by the research a part of the research process, and utilize equitable evaluation principles.
Through this new program, we intend to advance anti-racist policies and make it possible for communities of color that have been denied opportunities throughout our history to finally build intergenerational wealth and reap the health and economic benefits it provides.