Announcing HIP’s Selection for the 2019 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Award for Health Equity

Oakland, Calif., September 13, 2019—Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) is thrilled to present Maria S. Gomez, RN, MPH, founder, and President and CEO of Mary’s Center with the 2019 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Award for Health Equity. This annual award recognizes and celebrates individuals who have successfully changed systems and policies that help reduce health disparities and move the nation toward health equity.

Ms. Gomez and a small group of health professionals founded Mary’s Center in 1988 with the mission to build better futures for families through the delivery of healthcare, education, and social services. Under her leadership, Mary’s Center has grown from a small basement in Adams Morgan, D.C. that served 200 participants a year to a robust, award-winning Community Health Center with an annual budget of $69 million serving over 50,000 individuals (70 percent Latino and 16 percent African-American) at eight locations in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

“It is a great honor to be able to recognize Maria for her outstanding work helping Latinx families thrive,” said Ana Marie Argilagos, President & CEO of HIP. “Mary’s Center has become an invaluable resource for Latinx families in D.C. and Maryland that HIP is proud to help support and shine a light on.”

The organization’s unique Social Change Model (SCM) is an integrated approach to health that provides medical, dental, and behavioral health services for the entire family, along with social services and family literacy services—all under one roof. This model is a testament to Ms. Gomez’s commitment to serving families holistically and aligns with HIP and RWJF’s vision to build a Culture of Health.

Mary’s Center’s impact is well recognized at the national level; the organization has received official visits from both First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady Hillary Clinton. For the past two consecutive years, Mary’s Center has also been recognized by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as one of the top community health centers among 1,400 in the country. Ms. Gomez is considered a pioneer in health and well-being for Latinos and in building up the Latino community to face not just health but also social and economic challenges.

Please join us in congratulating Maria Gomez as this year’s award recipient!


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About Hispanics in Philanthropy 

Hispanics in Philanthropy is strengthening Latino leadership, influence and equity by leveraging philanthropic resources, and doing so with an unwavering vision on social justice and shared prosperity across the Americas. You can learn more at and follow us on Twitter @BeHIPGive & Facebook for more frequent updates.