Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Announces Strategic Partnership with Purpose Built Communities to Integrate Health and Community Development

Foundation making $6 million investment to advance important health equity work of the Purpose Built Communities Network

At the 10th Annual Conference of Purpose Built Communities, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s President and CEO, Dr. Richard E. Besser, announced an investment of $6 million to advance the work of the Purpose Built Communities Network.

Purpose Built Communities is a dynamic nonprofit that is building a national network with the goal of empowering communities to end intergenerational poverty. Purpose Built works with business leaders, community members and other partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to concurrently address housing, education, and community wellness at the neighborhood level as part of its model.

“Purpose Built Communities has been at the forefront of changing community conditions in order to improve health and wellbeing for the past decade,” Said Abbey Cofsky, managing director of Program at the Foundation. “We are excited to work with them and their network in ways that accelerate efforts to improve health equity and end the cycle of intergenerational poverty in regions across the country.”

The grant will advance the work and mission of Purpose Built Communities and the fields of community development and public health directly and indirectly through:
A knowledge-sharing platform where Network Members can discuss the complex issues that surround neighborhood revitalization and share best practices that will strengthen capabilities across the network.

A research-based evaluation, conducted in partnership with a national advisory committee, of the various ways the Purpose Built Communities model has impacted neighborhoods and residents across the country.

“We are very excited about this partnership and what it will do to help create better health, economic, and racial equity outcomes across the country,” said David Edwards, CEO, Purpose Built Communities. “This investment by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a testament to their leadership in addressing the social determinants of health—to elevate and share solutions to the root causes of poverty.”

At its annual conference, Purpose Built Communities announced the addition of seven new neighborhoods to its national network including neighborhoods in: Atlanta and Columbus Ga., Tallahassee, Fla., Syracuse, NY, Dallas, TX, and two in Cleveland, Ohio. This brings the total number of communities in the Purpose Built Network to 27 nationwide.

Pictured left to right: David Edwards, Shirley Franklin, Dr. Richard E. Besser