Putting local data to work

Everyone deserves fair and just opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives. The 500 Cities Data Project and the United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Project (USALEEP) -- two recently released city and census-tract level datasets -- show that people just a few miles apart may face vastly different opportunities to lead long and healthy lives. These data can help pinpoint geographic disparities in health outcomes and life expectancy, initiating conversations that lead to action.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute partnered to award $3 million in grants to 20 organizations across the United States, through two funding opportunities: 500 Cities Data Challenge and Visualizing and Powering Healthy Lives. The selected grantees and their partners are putting these local data to work to better understand health outcomes, produce data visualizations, and design innovative cross-sector solutions that promote healthier and more equitable communities.

Ultimately, through both the 500 Cities Data Challenge and Visualizing and Powering Healthy Lives, we hope to:

  • Empower local organizations across the country to use these neighborhood-level data to shed light on geographic disparities in health outcomes and life expectancy in their community;
  • Encourage communities to leverage this data to engage with local community members and policymakers to generate data-driven local health narratives that initiate conversations that lead to action; and
  • Elevate replicable strategies and models that centrally use these data by sharing the grantee’s data-driven practices and solutions to show how others can put local data to work for their communities.

We invite you to learn more about the grantees and their projects below and consider how you might dig into the data and put it to work for your community.


After an open and competitive selection process, the 500 Cities Data Challenge and Visualizing and Powering Healthy Lives awarded $3,000,000 to 20 different organizations, across 18 cities and 12 states. 

Get to know the grantees and their funded projects by exploring the map below and stay tuned for updates on the status of their important work.