Bastrop County Selected as Finalist for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize

Bastrop County, Texas, was chosen as a finalist for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize, a collaboration between RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

As a 2021 finalist, Bastrop County is one step closer to the national Prize, which honors communities working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity for all.

As the sole 2021 finalist from Texas – and the state’s first rural community to be recognized by the Prize – Bastrop County joins eight other finalist communities from across the country. Winners will be announced this fall.

“We are pleased to advance as a RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalist community. To the Bastrop County community, this is a moment to recognize and celebrate your hard work, resilience, collaboration, and collective can-do attitude,” said Debbie Bresette, Executive Director at Bastrop County Cares. “We credit our advancement to Prize finalist to the people who have been instrumental in our progress across four key initiatives: Affordable Housing Coalition; Resilience Design Team and its Healing History Community Conversations; Early Childhood Coalition; and Bastrop Connects Community Engagement Platform. Additionally, this work would not be possible without the goodwill and financial support of our partners and funders.”

The other 2021 finalists include:

Anne Arundel County, Md.
Freehold Borough, N.J.
Green Bay, Wis. Howard
County, Md.
Palm Beach County, Fla.
Rocky Mount, N.C.
Salinas, Calif.
Thunder Valley Community-Oglala Lakota Nation (Oceti Sakowin Territory)

“RWJF Culture of Health Prize communities offer important examples of places where partners are coming together to cultivate a shared commitment to equity so all residents can thrive,” said Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “We look forward to connecting and speaking with residents and community leaders in each finalist community to learn more about how they are achieving meaningful and lasting change.”

To advance to this stage in the process, communities had to showcase the breadth of work and collaboration happening across sectors to expand health opportunities for residents. To become a finalist, Bastrop County had to demonstrate how its efforts reflect the six Prize criteria:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.
  • Maximizing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.

If selected as a Prize winner, Bastrop County will be given a $25,000 prize and a national platform to share their story and lessons learned with communities across the country. They will have the opportunity join with and learn from other national and community change leaders, including past Prize- winning communities.

To learn about the work of the 44 previous Prize winners, visit