New Jersey Conservation Foundation Named One of Twelve Grantees for New Jersey Health Initiatives’ $1.2 Million Upstream Action Acceleration Initiative

Jan 3, 2019

Camden, NJ (Jan. 3, 2019) – New Jersey Conservation Foundation announced today that they are among the 12 communities selected as a grantee in a new initiative from New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) – the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The NJHI: Upstream Action Acceleration initiative supports community-focused, cross-sector coalitions to adopt and implement “upstream” environmental-, policy- and systems-change strategies, accelerating their work in areas identified as priorities to improve their communities’ health.


“This funding allows us to work with community partners on a new mapping and planning tool that puts the health and well-being of Camden citizens front and center,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation.  “Building on our historical work in Camden to ensure that all residents have access to clean air, clean water, safe parks and trails, community gardens and places to enjoy nature, this tool will enable local leaders, decision-makers, and residents to see data in a way that promotes shared decision making toward a healthier Camden.”


“We’ve been working with the greater Camden community since 1986, and we’re grateful to New Jersey Health Initiatives and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for supporting our work with community partners,” Byers added.


Through NJHI: Upstream Action Acceleration, 12 two-year grants totaling $100,000 each have been awarded to organizations to build on past or current strategies toward health improvement within New Jersey’s communities.  Working “upstream,” these grantees will work collaboratively to achieve statewide impact in addressing social, economic and environmental factors that are known to influence health. These factors include income, employment, early childhood development, education, housing, nutrition and the built environment.


“As we continue moving forward in making New Jersey the healthiest state, we’re learning from our grantee communities just how vital cross-sector collaboration is,” said Bob Atkins, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, director of NJHI. “We know that by partnering with diverse stakeholders such as residents, educators, law enforcement and elected officials, we can successfully address the factors that influence health.”


Grantees will be part of a learning network and participate in opportunities for peer sharing through in-person and virtual convenings. In addition to strengthening an in-state network of similarly-driven coalitions, these collaborative learning activities will help the coalitions implement their local projects and inform the field about practice-tested strategies to improve community health. Throughout the grant period, the coalitions will also receive ongoing coaching, resources related to their initiative focus areas and communications support to promote and share their successes, challenges and lessons learned.


Periodic updates about the coalition’s progress will be available on NJ Conservation’s project page on the NJHI website –


The following other organizations have been awarded grants under the NJHI: Upstream Action Acceleration initiative:


  • Allies In Caring, Inc, Hammonton, Atlantic County
    • Project Title: Hammonton Health Coalition
  • AtlantiCare Foundation, Atlantic City, Atlantic County
    • Project Title: AC Collaborative
  • Cape Regional Medical Center, Cape May County
    • Project Title: Kicking ACES in Cape May County New Jersey
  • Holly City Development Corporation, Millville, Cumberland County
    • Project Title: Connecting Families to Communities
  • Ironbound Community Corporation, Newark, Essex County
    • Project Title: Cultivating Tenant Leadership for Community Health in Newark
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Hudson County, North Bergen, Hudson County
    • Project Title: North Bergen Municipal Alliance Upstream Action Acceleration
  • Raritan Bay Area YMCA, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County
    • Project Title: Community Action for Safe Housing
  • Robert Wood Johsnon University Hospital Foundation, Middlesex County
    • Project Title: Mobilizing Just for the Health of it: Health Information Library on Wheels
  • The Gateway Family YMCA, Elizabeth, Union County
    • Project Title: Pulling Together: All Voices Heard and Count!
  • Trenton Health Team, Trenton, Mercer County
    • Project Title: Accelerating Action for a Healthy Trenton
  • United Way of Passaic County, Paterson, Passaic County
    • Project Title: Accelerating Community Safety


To learn more about the NJHI: Upstream Action Acceleration initiative, visit


About New Jersey Conservation Foundation

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space – from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation’s programs and preserves, go to or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).


About New Jersey Health Initiatives

New Jersey Health Initiatives is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI national program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Learn more about NJHI at, and follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at



About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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. RWJF has invested more than $1.2 billion in New Jersey since 1972. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


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The State We're In


By Michele S. Byers,
Executive Director