Oct 18, 2022

2022 Health Equity
Innovations Fund
Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to frequently asked questions. We will continue to update this document as questions arise.

Additional questions can be submitted to HealthEquityNursing@aarp.org.

New Question – Updated 11/15/2022

Can I delete the instructions on the application before submitting?

Yes, you may delete the instruction block and begin your application with applicant information.

New Questions – Updated 11/08/2022

Should I include a copy of curriculum vitae with the application (CV)? If so, is there a page limit on the CV?

A curriculum vitae is not required. However, we encourage you to provide qualifications for key staff identified in the budget narrative. All supporting materials (except letters of support) must fall within the 10-page application limit.

Can a 501(c)(6) apply as a lead applicant?

A 501(c)(6) may serve as a partner, but the lead applicant should be a 501(c)(3) or public organization.

We are considering a project to incorporate implicit bias training for our hospital staff to combat racism and bias in our HR selection process. Does this project meet the application requirements?

Implicit bias training is important, but alone, is not enough to fulfill the application requirements. Applicants should also demonstrate how they plan to use the funds to create structural changes.

New Questions – Updated 11/01/2022

Where can I access additional information on dismantling structural racism?

Click on the topics below to access RWJF resources on structural racism and health equity.

Will proposals that address interpersonal racism be accepted?

Proposals should address systems and structures that perpetuate racism and injustice. While interpersonal racism and implicit bias is a symptom of systemic problems, projects should focus beyond those issues to address structural racism and health equity.

Can proposals advocate for specific legislation or partisan policies that addresses structural racism?

No. Proposals should not advocate for specific legislation or partisan policies nor have the slightest hint of partisanship. 

Are there sample abstracts of previously funded projects?

Information about Nursing Innovations Fund awardees can be found online. However, the current Health Equity Innovations Fund is a slightly different iteration and projects must focus on addressing structural racism.

What types of projects are you looking to fund?

There are no specific “guardrails” for the types of projects that can be funded. We understand that different communities have different needs and applicants have insights that we do not have. We are ultimately looking for ideas that address structural racism and lead to systemic change. If you wish to discuss your project ideas before submitting, we are open to reviewing them with you. 

Since this is through AARP is the focus on older adults, or is the target population open to all ages? 

All ages; however, we do know that health disparities disproportionately impacts people of color, as well as older Americans, women, people with low-income, those with disabilities and those from the LGBTQ communities.  

Is there an expected impact of projects?

Projects should focus on improving health equity, specifically efforts to dismantle structural racism and other forms of structural inequities within the nursing profession, health systems, or the community that can lead to improved access to care or services for those disproportionately impacted by health disparities.

How many awards will be granted?

It depends on what the final funding requests are. There is currently $300,000 to distribute, which could fund up to six projects at the maximum award amount. We hope to secured additional funding to sustain the program.

Will there be “seed funding” for each state in order to increase impact?

There will not be seed funding for every state.

I’m a medical doctor and want to support my nurse in her application. Is that okay?

Definitely. We are looking for interprofessional and cross-sectional partnerships.

May a state submit multiple applications?

Yes. However, applicants with support from their state Action Coalition will be viewed more favorably.

How does the relationship / partnership between academic institutions and state Action Coalitions work?

Academic institutions and universities are encouraged to apply. We are looking for collaboration in ways that address structural racism. For example, a previous applicant was an HBCU that created a coalition of nursing schools to develop a mentoring program and secured support from their Action Coalition.

What is needed from applicants to show support from their state Action Coalition?

A letter of support from the Action Coalition is required. Additionally, you may expand on how the applicant and Action Coalition are working in partnership with each other in the proposal narrative.

One idea we have is to address disparities in maternal-child health by creating a training program for providers to overcome bias. Is this addressing issues at an individual level or a structural level?

If you can show how interpersonal biases lead to systemic racism in care and how the project will address racism at an institutional level while leading to change beyond a small group of nurses, then it could be addressing structural-level racism.

A project we are considering is the development of a curriculum to create a dialogue on race amongst nurses and nursing students with the goal of replicating and expanding the program. Does this meet the criteria of addressing systems change?

Yes, if you provide evidence that the project could be scaled and show how outcomes can lead to larger systemic change beyond individuals. We would encourage you to provide evidence about how racist policies and practices have permeated into health care, including provider bias, and how the project can address that.

RWJ Barnabas Health System in New Jersey has developed a program called Ending Racism Together. This may be a good resource for those looking for additional information on focusing on systems change and the individual.

We want to partner with a local mayor’s office. Is that okay?

Yes, that is an excellent partnership idea.

For those not awarded funding, is there a space on the landing page to make their ideas public?

That is a great idea that we will look into. We hope to continue to raise more funds, and a platform to share ideas for future funding opportunities may be helpful.

Application Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Lead applicants should be either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. If your organization does not qualify, we encourage you to partner with a community organization that is a public entity or nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S Internal Revenue Code.

Is a public university eligible to apply for funding?

Yes. A public university is a public entity and eligible to apply for the award.

Can applicants submit more than one proposal and receive multiple awards?

An applicant may submit more than one proposal. However, only one award will be possible regardless of the number of proposals submitted.

Can two or more organizations apply as a team?

Yes, organizations may collaborate and apply as a team. Joint applications must designate one lead applicant. The memorandum of understanding will be between AARP and the lead applicant, which will represent the other Action Coalition(s).

If an Action Coalition received a prior Nursing Innovations Fund award, is it eligible for this round of funding?

Yes. If you are a past awardee or currently implementing an award, you may apply again. However, you may not apply using the same project proposal as a previous funding round. We are seeking new innovative projects or scaling effective models.

Are co-principal investigators and/or co-project directors allowed?

Yes. Co-principal investigators and/or co-project directors are allowed; however, one person from the applicant organization needs to be designated as the official contact for the award on the application.

Do we need to identify a principal investigator for this proposal and include his or her biography or curriculum vitae?

We encourage you to identify key staff members and their qualifications in the budget narrative.

If we want to include additional information in an appendix, does that count toward the 10-page limit of the application?

The only items accepted in addition to the 10-page limit are letters of support. All other supporting materials must fall within the 10-page application limit.

Can we include additional letters of support with our application, such as from key partners we have listed?

Yes, your application can include additional letters of support. Letters will not count toward the 10-page limit.

When is the application due?

Applications must be submitted to HealthEquityNursing@aarp.org by 10 p.m. ET on November 15, 2022.

What font and size should be used for the application?

Use Arial font, size 11.

Program Questions

What is meant by access to care and services?

In this context, access to care relates to the many ways that consumers can access the care, services, benefits, and options they need to live as healthy and well as possible. We are primarily interested in policy and/or systemic changes that increase equitable access, especially for those who are disproportionately impacted by health disparities.

What criteria will reviewers use when determining finalists?

Proposals must:

  • Offer innovative solutions for improving health equity, including efforts to dismantle structural racism and other structural inequities within the nursing profession, health systems or community that lead to improved access to care and services for those most disproportionally impacted by health disparities.
  • Support the advancement of one or more of the recommendations in the National Academy of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.
  • Show evidence of the project’s potential replicability and sustainability.
  • Clearly explain the role of each partner identified for this project.
  • Show evidence of diverse and genuine community partnerships.
  • Comply with application details and formatting requirements.

Applications from the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s Action Coalitions or approved organizations affiliated with an Action Coalition will be viewed more favorably. The Campaign is an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation building a healthier America through nursing. Affiliations to Action Coalitions can be demonstrated by a letter from the Action Coalition. Organizations unaffiliated with an Action Coalition are encouraged to contact the Action Coalition in their state to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Click here to find the contact information for each Action Coalition.

Who will decide which proposals are awarded?

All funding decisions will be made by a review team consisting of AARP and Campaign for Action leadership, staff, and advisors.

When will applicants be notified of funding decisions?

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in early December. Awards will be disbursed after a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is executed. MOUs must be completed in December 2022.

How will the award be distributed?

AARP will distribute the full award, in one payment, after a memorandum of understanding is executed.

What are the reporting requirements for awardees?

Awardees must provide a brief narrative report at the end of the funding period. For projects longer than one year, a mid-point progress report will be required.

What technical assistance will be offered to awardees?

Awardees may receive assistance with optimizing projects for impact, communicating project success, stakeholder engagement, coalition-building, and fundraising. Awardees will receive a social media toolkit with materials to announce their award across multiple platforms.

What is the project start date?

Projects should start no later than January 1, 2023.

Budget Questions

May an applicant apply for less than $50,000?

Yes, applicants may apply for any amount up to $50,000.

Is there a requirement to raise matching funds?

While matching funds are not required, this is a great opportunity to seek partnerships and secure additional. AARP offers resources and technical assistance to applicants who wish to solicit additional support.    

What constitutes an indirect cost?

Indirect costs are overhead expenses incurred by the applicant organization as a result of the project but that are not easily identifiable with a specific project. These are administrative expenses that are related to overall operations and are shared among projects and/or functions. Examples include executive oversight, accounting, grants management, legal expenses, utilities, and facility maintenance.

Indirect costs cannot exceed 12% and should be included within the total budget requested in the application. The total budget requested cannot exceed the maximum award of $50,000. 


Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, National Academy of Medicine report.

AARP Community Challenge – A grants program that is part of the AARP Livable Communities initiative that helps communities become great places to live for people of all ages.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps: Explore Health Rankings –A searchable resource providing data for the counties in your state (and state profiles) on the issues that affect how we live, work, and play.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps: What Works for Health –A site offering strategies that can affect health, rated based on evidence of effectiveness.

Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Fundraising Toolkit – The toolkit includes overview materials, resource guides and workbooks to aid Action Coalitions in their work to secure support for their programs.

Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Health Equity Toolkit – A resource for Action Coalitions and their partners to use as they work on improving health equity locally.

Healthy People 2030 – United States Department of Health and Human Services social determinants of health framework.

Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health – A January 2019 HealthAffairs article that assesses ways to address the social determinants of health.

What Is Health Equity? – A report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is designed to build consensus on the meaning of the term “health equity.”