Health Equity Fund

RWJF Culture of Health Prize

2019 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).

Applications open March 11, 2019. Apply here

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 that there remain deep inequities resulting in a persistent 12.6 year life expectancy difference patterned along racially segregated 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 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.

Eligibility for 2019 Health Equity Fund Grants

Eligible Organizations will:

  • Be 501c3 nonprofit organizations, or be fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization in good standing
  • Have people of color as a majority of organizational leadership (Board, Executive Director or equivalent, and supervisory staff)
  • Be able to demonstrate how their work is significantly advancing (or has great potential to significantly advance) health equity  
  • Have an annual budget of less than $250,000 and/or share compelling evidence that its work is informed by and connected to the communities they are serving
  • Be able to demonstrate how the funding will allow the organization to better address obstacles to health equity

The Health Equity Fund anticipates awarding four grants of $20,000 each in June 2019.  The selected grantees are eligible to receive a second grant of $20,000 in June 2020. 

Grant funds may be used to pay for program or operations costs and for capacity building expenses. Grantees will be required to submit a mid-term and final report each year, and participate in two “Advancing Racial Equity” trainings, hosted by the Center for Health Equity. Grantees will be invited to build community and network with one another throughout the 2 year grant period.


Want more information? The Health Equity Fund will host an informational session:

Wednesday March 20, 2019


Chef Space - 1812 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard


Unable to attend? Download the FAQs here!

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