Health Equity Fund

RWJF Culture of Health Prize

2019-2020 Health Equity Fund

In October 2016, Louisville/Jefferson County was awarded the Culture of Health prize for the collaborative efforts between sectors that advance health equity. Along with national recognition, Louisville received $25,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Because of the generous donations by Community Foundation of Louisville, The Humana Foundation, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, and Metro United Way, the initial prize money was leveraged to start the Louisville Health Equity Fund (HEF).

Equity in Practice

Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier.  This requires removing obstacles to health such as racism, classism, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care – also known as social determinants to health.

Although the Culture of Health prize is a celebration of the hard work in Louisville, KY; the 2017 Health Equity Report shows there remain deep inequities resulting in a persistent 12.6 year life expectancy difference patterned along racially segregated and geographic divides. The HEF provides an activation mechanism for the groundbreaking work of Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Center for Health Equity (CHE).  The HEF seeks to invest in equity in action, supporting organizations who are putting equity into practice by providing or advocating for alternative experiences from the currently inequitable institutions, systems, and policies to impact our community.  

2019-2020 Focus

The Health Equity Fund is a collaborative of organizations that believes we have an opportunity and responsibility to intentionally invest in the process of equity.  Our collaborative believes in building the capacity, skills, and sustainability of organizations who demonstrate equity as a part of their core mission and constantly evolve what equity in practice means to their work.  We recognize that equity is not an outcome, but is a process that has us inextricably linked with our past, present, and future histories. We seek to invest in organizations that take a reflective look at those who make decisions in their organizations, and decision makers’ connections to the lived experience of the communities they are in service to and with. 

With this call for proposals, the participating funders seek to strengthen organizations that are led by people of color and are advancing work impacting racial equity at a systems level. To impact racial equity at a systems level, an organization’s work must move beyond trying to change individual behaviors and seek to influence and change institutions and systems that impact the lives of those they are serving. Through a two-year grant, our intent is to support the HEF cohort by strengthening the grantees’ capacity to build institutions and practices designed by and for those who are most harmed.

To be eligible for a Health Equity Fund grant, applicants must be a 501c3 nonprofit organization, or be engaged in a charitable project fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization in good standing. They must have people of color as a majority of organizational leadership and demonstrate significant advancement (or the potential to advance) health equity. They must have an annual budget of less than $250,000 and compelling evidence that their work is informed by and connected to the communities they serve.

Download the FAQs here!

2019-2020 Awardees

In June 2019, the selected HEF grant recipients were announced! Congraulations to 2NOT1, Bridge Kids International, La Casita, and Play Cousins Collective. Stay tuned for more information as this two year cohort develops.