Program Design Tools for Funders

The Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) National Program Office (NPO), funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), was successful in designing, implementing, and managing the Foundation’s signature effort to improve the quality of health care.  National program offices have traditionally provided program leadership, implementation, technical assistance, some of the Foundation’s grant oversight, and communications.  As a vital link between foundation and grantees, NPO's play a critical role, however they are often not "ready-made" for the unique needs of a Foundation's program or vision and need time, resources and knowledge with which to quickly recruit or re-deploy talent and develop internal processes and systems. The NPO managed a staff of 20 people, divided into three teams. The lessons gleaned from AF4Q suggest that being thoughtful about how best to fulfill and evolve the program is dependent on ensuring that any coordinating entity has the capacity to fulfill the following core competencies.


A summary of the current landscape of funding in the public and private sectors can help leverage strategic opportunities to transform health care.