How Johnson & Johnson is Accelerating a Health Equity Mindset: the Business Match Fund

How Johnson & Johnson is Accelerating a Health Equity Mindset: the Business Match Fund

In the U.S., health disparities for people of color relative to White individuals include higher rates of illness and death and less access to quality care. In response to longstanding and systemic healthcare inequities, Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) launched its “Our Race to Health Equity” initiative (“ORTHE”) in November 2020. The bold under-taking “aspires to help eradicate racial and social injustice as a public health threat by eliminating health inequities for people of color” with a $100 million commitment over five years.

The company will invest half of ORTHE’s $100 million through external grants, programs, and initiatives by 2025. To embed a health equity mindset into J&J’s everyday business practice and strategy, J&J has also committed to driving change from within their large enterprise, allocating $50 million over five years to a Business Match Fund (“BMF”). The BMF is an incubator and catalyst for alignment at all levels of J&J by providing dollar-for-dollar co-investment alongside business units seeking to advance a health equity-oriented initiative in the United States. 

This case study details how Johnson & Johnson designed and executed the Business Match Fund to accelerate the adoption of a health equity focus across its divisions and, consequently, to seed large-scale organizational change. Their approach includes five core elements, explored further in the report:

  1. Design a funding approach that promotes innovation, long-term thinking, and engagement
  2. Use a varied toolkit to invite applications from across the enterprise
  3. Administer a layered and inclusive review process to select fund recipients
  4. Track impact centrally and regularly, leaving room for flexibility
  5. Tell the story of catalyzed impact internally and externally

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How the Bush Foundation’s $100 million community trust funds are decolonizing philanthropy

How the Bush Foundation’s $100 million community trust funds are decolonizing philanthropy

Spurred by the global resurgence of the movement to demand bolder action against structural racism, the Bush Foundation designed an innovative approach to redistribute wealth to Black and Native American communities. Called community trust funds, the model disburses $100 million dollars through two steward organizations from these communities. Those steward organizations will use the trust funds to support educational attainment, home ownership, and entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals. The full report describes the Bush Foundation’s Community Trust Fund approach in five steps:

  • Issue a social impact bond to dramatically increase funding capacity.

By relying on debt financing to fund new grants, the foundation was able to urgently increase its support to the Native American and Black communities while still investing in other projects using their endowed assets.

  • Engage directly with community members to design a funding strategy.

The Bush Foundation structured a deep engagement process with 28 community members including leaders, elders, and experts on reparations and philanthropy. Their guidance helped the organization arrive at a community trust fund model for investing the $100M bond proceeds in Native American and Black individuals.

  • Invite expressions of interest from potential steward organizations.

The Bush Foundation cast a wide and inclusive net to invite interest from potential steward organizations. Their request for proposals focused on organizations’ capacity to credibly steward the funds and their demonstrated ability to engage deeply with community members in informing their work.

  • Select two steward organizations with guidance from community members.

The Bush Foundation recruited a representative community panel with understanding of the lived experiences and needs of the Black and Native American community to advise their selection process by interviewing finalist organizations. They helped identify NDN Collective and Nexus Community Partners as the two steward organizations for $50M community trust funds.

  • Provide initial funding and guidelines to steward organizations for their program design phase.

The Bush Foundation provided an up front $500,000 to each steward organization to support their work designing a grantmaking program for each community trust fund, as well as support around grant management, evaluation, and legal issues. The design phase funding is in addition to the $50M each steward organization will receive to seed their community trust fund.

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How Verizon engaged 89,000 employee volunteers in the middle of a global pandemic

How Verizon engaged 89,000 employee volunteers in the middle of a global pandemic

Between 2020 and 2021, Verizon mobilized 89,000 of its employees to volunteer over 1,000,000 hours, at an average of over 7 hours per employee. Far exceeding the industry average of 1.4 hours per employee per year and the average annual volunteer participation rate of 17%, Verizon’s success demonstrates how taking a human-centered and empathetic approach can tap into employees’ diverse motivations for Volunteering. This case study describes six elements of Citizen Verizon Volunteers that are critical to its success: 

  • Cascade volunteerism strategy from the organization’s broader societal purpose.

Verizon linked goals to the time and talents of its employees.

  • Develop a volunteerism-oriented RFP that’s empathetic and transparent toward applicants.

Verizon designed a partner selection process that mitigates legacy deficiencies.

  • Over-index to existing employee skills and organizational capabilities.

Verizon harnessed features intrinsic to the organization and its people.

  • Use metrics to elevate the strategic importance of volunteerism.

Verizon actively promoted the strategic value of volunteerism to the business, its employees, and the communities they serve.

  • Plan to tap diverse motivations among employees.

Verizon used a varied toolkit as opposed to relying on a single engagement lever to bring employees forward.

  • Make participation as easy as possible for employees and partners.

Verizon lifted barriers to entry for participants and created opportunities for engagement that were highly responsive to the current environment.

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