The Foundation was established by Robert Wood Johnson II (1893-1968), who built Johnson & Johnson into the world’s largest manufacturer of health products. RWJF’s mission is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. With over $9 billion in assets, it is one of the ten wealthiest nonprofit foundations in the world, making annual grants of over $400 million per year. The main About Us page is here.
OVERALL GRADE: B
The About Us pages of the RWJF site have several excellent features. One is navigation: at the top and bottom of each page, we can see where we are within the site. Frequent links to other About Us pages and to other RWJF pages make it even easier to explore the website.
The Newsroom page is one of the best we’ve seen: it offers links to pages for stories about RWJF, RWJF’s own press releases, features, videos, speeches and commentaries, blogs, and the RWJF DataHub. Our Commandment 4 of About Us pages is “Don’t take your own name in vain.” RJWF makes it easy for us to find their own material and the best material published about them.
The timeline alas, is not so good. It appears as a series of photos that are not self-explanatory: e.g., a close-up of Benjamin Franklin’s eye from the $100 bill. Until we click on a photo, we have no idea what topic it’s linked to. In our Mondrian-loving moments we might admire the way the photos are slotted together, but that’s not enough to offset the fact that we couldn’t get an overview of RWJF’s accomplishments. The Our History page sorts RWJF’s focus over 40 years into a few major headings – an interesting perspective, but no substitute for an overview.
From the Timeline page there’s a link to a page celebrating RWJF’s 40th anniversary. It’s always great to see a company celebrating its corporate history, but the page is initially a bit confusing: most of the above-the-fold space is occupied by a slide show of stories that don’t deal with the anniversary.
The page on Robert Wood Johnson is top-notch: a substantial amount of well-written text, an appealing photograph, and a caption that summarizes the bio for those too impatient to read the rest of the text. Our only suggestion for improvement are to add his birth and death dates (we had to look them up on Wikipedia) and to make the bio more vivid by including some direct quotes from Johnson. In the same vein, some direct quotations from the current members of the board (see the Leadership and Staff page) would liven up their canned bios. Surely among the numerous videos on the RWJF site of President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, there must be some words worth putting into print.
The Contact link is in the tiniest possible type at the last possible place on the page: it makes us wonder if RWJF really wants to hear from us. Their online email form has an unusual approach, asking us to click a radio button for the topic we’re interested in. It looks elegant, but we’d rather have a choice of emails, in case our inquiry doesn’t tidily fit into one of the standard categories.
The navigation, newsroom page, and founder bio on RWJF’s site are all worthy of emulation.
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