May 10, 2016

Media contact:
Tucker Wannamaker
(202) 670-0869

Washington,  DC – May 10, 2016 - Ashoka Changemakers, known for its pioneering work of launching top social entrepreneurs around the world, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health, are pleased to announce an initiative titled the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative, #childrenswellbeing. 

The initiative is designed to spark a unified vision for children’s wellbeing across the United States by identifying innovative programs that are improving children’s lives, and creating a cohort of influencers to work together toward creating systemic change involving the wellbeing of children in multiple sectors.

Both Ashoka Changemakers and RWJF believe children, from newborns to age twelve years old, will thrive when they are given to opportunity to grow up in an empowering environment that nurtures their crucial building blocks:  strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose. These building blocks centered on wellbeing help children cultivate self-awareness, build healthy relationships, develop resilience and character, and make positive choices in their own lives, as well as those living around them.


The Children’s Wellbeing Initiative seeks out social entrepreneurs who have launched their own original initiatives focusing on children’s issues in education, government, health, family services, and community development. At its core, the initiative will achieve its mission by:

  • Mapping of social innovations in children’s wellbeing to understand key opportunities in the sector;
  • Electing a cohort of extraordinary leaders to help shape the agenda of the Children's Wellbeing Initiative; and
  • Nurturing a cross-sector network of funders, innovators, policy makers, and other stakeholders to drive a shared vision for the wellbeing of children in the United States.

Learn more about the initiative, eligibility, and criteria and submit your program here

To review a Children’s Wellbeing Initiative entry, read here about the Minneapolis Somali Community Autism Cooperative.

*** Two applications submitted before May 25, 2016, at 11:59 PM EDT, will be recognized as “Leaders to Watch," a designation which provides a $1,000 grant and a private consultation session with various thought leaders and Ashoka staff!

The Children’s Wellbeing Initiative’s timeline ends in October 2016, culminating in a celebration of 10 elected Champions of Children’s Wellbeing who will:

  • Shape the agenda of the first Children's Wellbeing Congress being held in late 2016, which will bring together key fundraisers and pioneering thought leaders in education, government, and childhood development, and
  • Represent the unified vision of the Children's Wellbeing Initiative.

Applicants selected for the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative will have an opportunity to join a network of influential leaders, articulate their unique vision, receive access to insights from leading social entrepreneurs, and refine their model through thoughtful feedback given by Ashoka staff and experts in the Children's Wellbeing network.  These benefits include:

  • Receipt of a travel and expense stipend so applicants can showcase their work during the Children’s Wellbeing Congress;
  • Offer of mentorship from experts in the Ashoka and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation networks; and
  • Award of funds from a potential pool of $48,000.  


Ashoka Changemakers is a global program of Ashoka, which is the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs with more than 3,200 leading social innovators in 84 countries who are putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Ashoka Changemakers rapidly accelerates the impact around critical social issues by building and nurturing networks of leading changemakers and empowering these networks to ignite sweeping change in their fields. Ashoka Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s three-decade history to advance an "everyone a changemaker” world where people gain the skills and resources they need to collaborate on solving complex social problems.

Follow Ashoka Changemakers on Twitter at and on Facebook at


For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at on Facebook at