A Project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund

Invest Health - Strategies for Healthier Cities

Featured Team

Tallahassee, FL

In Tallahassee’s Southside and Frenchtown, two predominantly African-American communities, poverty rates are four times that of the rest of the city and residents are plagued by poor health outcomes. Through Invest Health, the city aims to leverage community development resources and the power of community voices to increase access to healthy foods, available sidewalks and recreation areas, and improve the overall quality of life in these and other under-resourced neighborhoods.


May 2016

50 Cities Selected for Invest Health

Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced $3 million in awards across 50 mid-size cities in 31 states for Invest Health, an initiative aimed at transforming how city leaders work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that improve health.

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Invest Health is a new initiative that brings together diverse leaders from mid-sized U.S. cities across the nation to develop new strategies for increasing and leveraging private and public investments to accelerate improvements in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to better health. The program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund.

This initiative was developed to provide an opportunity for mid-sized cities to transform the way local leaders work together to create solution-driven and diverse partnerships. These partnerships will emphasize making changes in low-income neighborhoods to improve resident health and well-being. These changes can focus on increasing access to quality jobs, affordable housing, and nutritious food, and reducing crime rates and environmental hazards.



BRING TOGETHER DISPARATE SECTORS in mid-sized cities to align around a vision for better health, create innovative ideas, and unlock new sources of investment.

HELP MID-SIZED CITIES ATTRACT CAPITAL to improve health outcomes in low-income communities.

BUILD LASTING RELATIONSHIPS in these cities that extend beyond the length of the program and help inform work in other communities nationwide.

TEST POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS to inform the national conversation about how to best invest to achieve health equity in more communities throughout the U.S.

ADVANCE SYSTEMS-FOCUSED STRATEGIES that reach across sectors to support health improvement in low-income communities.

HELP CITIES USE DATA AS A DRIVER for change, beginning with an evidence-based understanding of the problem and continuing to a data framework for assessing impact.






Ivye Allen

President, Foundation for the Mid South

Jeffrey Brown

Founder, President and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, Inc.

Ray Daffner

Director of Entrepreneurship Programming at the ARC

Dr. David Fleming

PATH’s vice president of Public Health

Jenny Ismert

Vice President of Housing at UnitedHealthcare

Dr. Otis Samuel Johnson

Scholar in Residence at Savannah State University

Dr. Michael McAfee

Vice President for Programs at PolicyLink

John Moon

District Mgr. for Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of SF

Rebecca Morley

Director of the Health Impact Project

Maggie Super Church

Independent Consultant

Mark Van Brunt

Chief Operating Officer, Raza Development Fund

Paul Weech

President and CEO of NeighborWorks America



Inspiration, equity and the path ahead

From Portland, ME, to Riverside, CA, from Flint, MI, to Gulfport, MS, cross-sector teams from 50 cities gathered in Philadelphia in early June to launch the Invest Health learning community at our inaugural convening. Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, charged the group with an ambitious goal: “Creating a new, highly-networked approach to community investment. One that recognizes that health is the bedrock of personal fulfillment, and the backbone of prosperity, and also recognizes that mid-sized cities can lead the way.”

Grant to help Henderson provide resources, such as healthy food options, to at-risk residents

The city of Henderson was recently awarded a $60,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund that will help it invest in healthy lifestyles for its residents.

Bloomington Expecting Return On ‘Invest Health’ Grant

Bloomington is one of 50 mid-sized communities across the nation to receive a $60,000 health planning grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)


To learn more about this important initiative
email us at info@investhealth.org.