Meet the Hero and the Hypocrite –
August 16, 2018 – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the country’s largest public health funder, has stayed out of the fray even though it led the philanthropic community in addressing substance abuse earlier in its history. The funder blazed the trail for other philanthropists to take on substance abuse, despite the taboo at the time. Over a 20-year period, RWJF invested about $700 million in treatment and recovery programs. The foundation moved away from the field about 10 years ago. Around the same time, it shifted its strategic focus to the upstream social and economic factors that influence health and wellness. Earlier this year, substance abuse lost another stalwart ally. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation decided to wind down its work in the field in favor of concentrating resources on other issues. The Hilton Foundation was usually the name that came up as the exception to the rule in conversations regarding foundation inaction on substance abuse. Now, even that support is ending.