Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Welcomes Applications for Equity-Focused Policy Research

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has issued a call for proposals for its Equity-Focused Policy Research: Building Cross-Cutting Evidence on Supports for Families with Young Children initiative.

Research shows that the earliest years of life are a critical period of human development and that young children’s foundational relationships and experiences occur in the context of families and communities. Yet some families do not have access to the basic necessities and resources to foster the nurturing experiences and stimulating environments that young children need to thrive. These circumstances are especially likely to affect families of color, families living in rural areas, and other groups of families who experience gaps in access to supports and/or face disparities in outcomes related to health and well-being. To address that lack, policies are needed that support the efforts of low-income families to provide stimulating and nurturing environments that promote children’s physical, social- emotional, and cognitive development as well as their future success in school and life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that current policies and practices fall short in supporting and facilitating families' access to the social safety net system. Moreover, the pandemic has exacerbated the consequences of poverty, racism, and discrimination and exposed the health, economic, social, and other inequities vulnerable families experience. 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 a body of research that illuminates strategies and policies that will enhance families’ equitable access to key resources related to supporting their children’s healthy development. EFPR grants are guided by a research agenda 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. The agenda addresses three policy areas as providing critical resources for families: access to early care and education (ECE); income supports (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] and cash transfer programs) and income generation/replacement; and nutrition supports (such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]).

RWJF expects to make up to twenty awards through this funding opportunity, with awards ranging between $50,000 and $200,000. For projects that involve primary data collection through surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, and other methods (or a combination of methods), applicants may request up to $200,000 for a project with a duration of up to two years.

Eligible applicant organizations include academic institutions, public entities and private nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, and for-profit organizations. All organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.

Brief proposals are due February 16. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by May 11, 2021.

See the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

View another RFP related to children / youth

Deadline: February 15, 2021