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About The Rippel Foundation


Who We Are

We’re a diverse group of changemakers pursuing an ambitious vision for health and well-being. We join with partners who believe in the power of shared stewardship – people, organizations, networks, and communities coming together to reimagine our systems and work toward a future where all people can thrive.

Our Work

Most people want equitable well-being for all, but very few know how to make it happen. We support those who are working to change the systems and root causes that perpetuate cycles of struggling and suffering. ReThink Health, our flagship initiative, provides real-world tools, frameworks, and expertise that help individuals, organizations, and communities consider how to make transformative, lasting change and shift investments in meaningful ways that support thriving populations.

We offer a range of services, including free resources, multi-year partnership arrangements, and an alumni network for those already familiar with our approaches who want to deepen their knowledge and have opportunities to learn with peers.

We do this work at multiple levels – locally, statewide, regionally, and nationally – because we know that it will require change at all levels to have an impact at the scale needed. We influence and learn from our partnerships with other national leaders in the movement to thrive together.

We work in close partnership with health systems, philanthropies, business, government, community organizations, and other changemakers throughout the United States, tailoring all of our guidance and support to local needs and conditions.

We welcome and seek the partnership of other organizations to make progress, broaden our impact, and expand the vital conditions for health and well-being that everyone needs to thrive.


Our Commitments for the Coming Decade

Our work over the next 10 years will invest in and focus on four interconnected commitments that can support and energize a nationwide movement for well-being and justice: reinforcing a unifying narrative to make the case for thriving together; bridging differences to break through barriers to change; investing in the vital conditions for health and well-being; and measuring movement and progress toward the north star of thriving together.

Pioneering New Approaches to Population Health Since 1953


The Rippel Foundation was established in 1953 to invest in initiatives addressing cancer, heart disease, the health of women and the elderly, and the maintenance of our nation’s hospitals. Today, we approach our mission through a broader focus: guiding transformational change that supports better health and well-being for all—a future where everyone thrives, without exception


We envision a cohesive system of health that focuses on health and well-being and extends beyond health care: a system that is thriving, equitable, and sustainable. Achieving this vision requires a collaborative effort to improve the systems that influence health and well-being.


We work in pursuit of the same ideal expressed by the World Health Organization since 1948: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.”

We honor the diversity of people, places, ideas, and solutions.

We respect our partners, who do the hard work of system change.

We challenge ourselves to excel, take risks, and push boundaries.

We’re passionate about health, so we uncover the truth and let it drive the solutions. 

We care about our colleagues and create a mutually supportive workplace culture.

Our History

The Fannie E. Rippel Foundation was established upon the death of Julius S. (J.S.) Rippel in memory of his wife, Fannie E. Rippel. The Foundation was established in 1953 to invest in initiatives addressing cancer, heart disease, the health of women and the elderly, and the maintenance of our nation’s hospitals. In directing funds, the Board of Trustees was granted broad authority to adopt approaches it deemed appropriate for changing times.

In 2007, the Board reflected on the relevance of the Foundation’s mission in today’s environment. The Trustees considered the writings of Julius A. Rippel, the founder’s nephew and the first Foundation President.

Julius A. had advocated for the important role of foundations as “pioneers” who must “have the courage to take initiative” in response to “changes in modern life.” As it planned for the Foundation’s future, the Board acknowledged the complex relationships between how health is achieved, how care is provided, and how resources are directed to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases.

About Our Founder

Born in 1868 in Newark, New Jersey, J.S. Rippel began his financial career in 1887 with stockbroker and steamship agent Graham and Company. He started his own firm, J.S. Rippel and Company, in 1891 at the age of 22. This company specialized in local investment securities and in New Jersey municipal bonds.

Through Mr. Rippel’s preeminence in the municipal bond market, J.S. Rippel and Company eventually financed most of the important cities and towns in New Jersey and became a prominent leader in many banking circles.

At age 30, Mr. Rippel proposed to Fannie Estelle Traphagen, his former Sunday school teacher, who was 18 years his senior. Mrs. Rippel was also from Newark and was an active member of the Newark community. The couple did not have children and were well-known for their philanthropic activities in the community.

By the mid-1920s, Mr. Rippel’s net worth was estimated at $40 million ($545 million in today’s dollars)—almost all of which was lost in the Great Depression of 1929. A determined man, he set out to remake his fortune and had nearly done so by the time of his death.

Mr. Rippel remained active as the head of his firm to the day he died. Upon his death seven years after his wife, he established the Foundation in her name, devoting nearly all of his income to the causes she had most favored during her lifetime.