Boston, MA, June 15, 2007. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Community Catalyst announced the launch of a $12 million effort to strengthen state consumer health advocacy networks in selected states across the U.S. The national program, Consumer Voices for Coverage, will assist in building a single, integrated health care advocacy network in selected states. The call for proposals is released today.

The new program seeks to strengthen state consumer health advocacy networks through an infusion of new resources, policy support and technical assistance.  The Consumer Voices for Coverage program will use a competitive application process and will award grants of up to $750,000 over a three-year period.  These new funds will help build effective health care consumer advocacy and infrastructure as critical forces in the health care reform policymaking process. 

“For ten years, Community Catalyst has worked to build stronger state health advocacy organizations and achieve improvements in health care policy,” said Susan T. Sherry, Deputy Director at Community Catalyst and Director of Consumer Voices for Coverage.  “We have seen the results of state consumer health advocacy in preserving and expanding coverage.  This investment by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is both timely and strategic—it will bring state-based consumer advocates to a new level of effectiveness and national influence.”

The program builds on the findings of a report issued last fall by Community Catalyst with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

 “Community Catalyst’s report, Consumer Health Advocacy: A View From 16 States, highlighted the importance of consumer advocacy and identified the specific capacities required to build stronger advocacy,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  “Health care coverage is a top priority for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and we are committed to supporting the consumer voice for health care reform in this country.  There is no better organization to lead this empowerment effort, and we are proud to be a partner with Community Catalyst as it enters its second decade of service to the health care community.”

“There is a new wave of reform coming from state health care advocates and policymakers—Massachusetts, California, Vermont are all moving on sweeping coverage changes,” Sherry added.  “Now is the time to strengthen the consumer voice.”

For details on the program and to view the call for proposals, visit

About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization working to build the consumer and community leadership that is required to transform the American health system.  With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst has provided leadership and support to state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations working to change the health care system so it serves everyone – especially vulnerable members of society since 1997.  For more information, visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.  For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.  For more information, visit