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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Provides $50 Million to Support Those Facing Greatest Strain Under the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will provide $50 million in immediate short-term relief to several national and community organizations to help some of the families and communities feeling the greatest strain under the COVID-19 health emergency. This includes $5 million for relief efforts in RWJF’s home state of New Jersey, hit particularly hard by the virus. 

As the nation’s largest health philanthropy, RWJF is focused on ensuring that everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. The aim of this funding is to help communities that already face daunting health challenges navigate the additional burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved using the funds to help address immediate needs such as food, housing, and income assistance for some of the nation’s most stressed communities, including lower-income workers, communities of color, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities.

Across the nation, service organizations are working to the limits of their capacity to help those most in need. RWJF will distribute $50 million in emergency support among  groups that serve national, tribal, and local populations.

CLICK HERE to see a list of national and New Jersey-based grantees.

“During this pandemic we are seeing how important it is that everyone has access to high quality health care. Millions do not. Health is also about making sure people have the ability to feed, house, and take care of themselves and their families,” said RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser. While RWJF is providing this immediate aid during this moment of crisis—and encourages others to do the same—its primary focus and strategic work remains unchanged: seeking long-term policy and systemic solutions that address the grave health inequities in America.

“Unfortunately, in our society being able to live a healthy life can depend in large part on how much money you make, where you live, and the color of your skin,” Besser said. “This crisis is making an already unfair system even worse, and that is completely unacceptable. It’s critical that we make real and lasting improvements through community action and public policy in the months and years to come. Otherwise, the world’s richest nation will have failed its people.”


For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at