Lifting Leaders Projects

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Active Living by Design

Projects_ALbD_body image3Active Living by Design supported comprehensive approaches to increase physical activity in 25 diverse communities across the nation with a low-dollar, high-touch approach to grant making and technical assistance. Based on an integrated “5P” model (Preparation, Promotions, Programs , Policies, and Physical Projects), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s $15.5 million investment increased opportunities for active living and created sustainable community change.


  • Established a network of grantees that implemented 115 policy changes, facilitated 118 improvements to the built environment, created 115 new programs, and developed 45 new planning products.
  • Leveraged over $256 million in new funding to support healthy community environments.
  • Planned and hosted six national annual grantee meetings.
  • Consulted with dozens of local, statewide, and national organizations in the development of healthy communities, grant making, and technical assistance strategies.
  • Developed and disseminated case studies from all 25 communities and co-edited four peer-reviewed journals.

Projects_ALbD_body image2Funding Partner: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Engagement: 2001–2008

Services Provided:

  • Grant program design and management
  • Grantee learning network
  • Ongoing coaching and technical assistance
  • Conferences, convenings, and trainings
  • Tool and resource development
  • Field building with local, state, and national partners
  • Sustainability planning

“The work of Active Living by Design changed the debate about physical activity and the trajectory of many communities. ALbD helped to re-energize connections between planning, health, architecture and other sectors of community life. These 25 pioneering ALbD communities made quite a mark on public health in a very short time.”

—M. Katherine Kraft, PhD Consultant and Former Senior Program Officer
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation