Palm Beach County Receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize For Innovative Efforts to Create a Thriving Community

Palm Beach County is one of 10 winners of the 2020-2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors and elevates communities for working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity.  

Palm Beach County is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Palm Beach County’s award-winning efforts recognized for building a culture of health include:

Expanding equitable access to behavioral health. Greater reach and equity is being attained through countywide initiatives like BeWellPBC bringing together residents, providers and systems around solutions, and hyper-local efforts such as residents of “The Set,” Delray Beach’s historic Black community, creating partnerships with the faith community to overcome mental health stigma while respecting culture in the Haitian community. 
• Focusing on youth and being accountable for their success. Through Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures, Palm Beach County is promoting trauma informed care, honoring youth resident voices in its collaborative work, and encouraging a new generation of advocates to shape an even brighter future for the community.
• Elevating resident leadership. Maximizing the power of residents to make a direct impact on their own communities is creating change through grassroots organizations like the EJS Project in Delray Beach, which is dedicated to empowering youth. Another example is Lake Worth Beach’s Wall of Unity, a resident-led transformation of a wall that once represented segregation to a new symbol of people of all races and cultures coming together to break down barriers of hate and injustice.

Palm Health Foundation, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and Palm Beach County Youth Services Department collaborated on the application process for the prize that shared the county’s collective commitment to the social determinants of health, including Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures, an alliance of over 300 organizations supporting the healthy growth, development and education for children prenatally through young adulthood.

“We are honored to receive this nationally recognized award,” said Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation. “We know that one of Palm Beach County’s greatest strengths is how our health organizations, funders, nonprofits, and community residents collaborate and support one another in advancing health, opportunity, and equity for all.”

Palm Beach County will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and have its inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other nine winning communities are: Addison, Ill.; Alamosa County, Colo.; Chickaloon Native Village; Drew, Miss.; Howard County, Md.; National City, Calif.; Rocky Mount, N.C.; Thunder Valley Community—Oglala Lakota Nation (Oceti Sakowin Territory), and Worcester, Mass.

Palm Beach County now joins Broward County, Eatonville, and Miami-Dade County as the fourth Florida community to win the distinguished Prize.

“The 2020-2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners are striving to make good health and well-being achievable for all their residents,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of RWJF. “They understand the clear connection between the opportunity for health and education, jobs, and housing. They are leaning into community-led solutions that break down barriers caused by structural racism and other forms of discrimination.”

To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Palm Beach County had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria: 

● Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
● Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions. 
● Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.  
● Maximizing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members. 
● Securing and making the most of available resources.
● Measuring and sharing progress and results.

“We credit this honor to our community’s commitment to co-creating health solutions with residents,” said Lisa Williams-Taylor, CEO of Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. “We’re working together to remove barriers and build a culture of health for all who call Palm Beach County home.”

Tammy Fields, Director of the Palm Beach County Youth Services Department added, “Recognizing that health starts in families with our young people, and creates the foundation of health for a lifetime, is so important to the work we do as a community.”  

The Foundation will honor this year’s winners, November 9-10, during a virtual RWJF Culture of Health Prize Celebration and Learning Event. During the event, representatives from the Prize communities will talk through the different ways they are leveraging their strengths and bringing partners together to expand opportunity. The 10 new winners will also connect with their 44 fellow Prize Alumni communities.  

Click here to watch Palm Beach County's Culture of Health story. 

About Palm Health Foundation
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, incomes and states of well-being. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $85 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001.

About Palm Beach County Youth Services Department
Palm Beach County Youth Services Department is a department of the Palm Beach County government established by the Board of County Commissioners in 2015 to empower youth and families to realize their full potential and be the driving force of a thriving community.  The Department provides direct behavioral health services in addition to providing funding for families and community agencies serving the needs of youth and families in the community. 

About Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County

The Council is a local, special-purpose government created by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014. For more than 30 years, it has provided leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.

If you have questions related to Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County and/or media inquiries, please contact Shana Cooper, Public Information Officer.