The Emergency Medical Services Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1973

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


In April of 1973, the Foundation announced a $15 million grant program to assist the development of regionalized emergency medical services. Ultimately the $15 million were distributed to forty-four emergency response organizations in thirty-two states. Those forty-four were selected from 251 applicants, and the average grant was $350,000, while the largest was about $400,000. There were three main components of the Foundation’s program. The first of these was to increase access to technology. In practice, this primarily meant equipping ambulances with radios that would allow them to communicate with dispatchers and hospital personnel. The second element of the strategy was training, both of ambulance drivers and of central dispatchers, who would answer emergency phone calls and initiate a response. The third component of the program was the promotion and facilitation of interagency coordination.
Progress in the emergency response capabilities of the forty-four grant recipients was considerable. One of the most visible developments associated with the program was the expansion of the 911 emergency system.



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