OBJECTIVES: To present results from an outcome evaluation of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation's Community Health Promotion Grants Program (CHPGP) in the West, which represented a major community-based initiative designed to promote improved health by changing community norms, environmental conditions, and individual behavior in 11 western communities. METHODS: The evaluation design: 14 randomly assigned intervention and control communities, 4 intervention communities selected on special merit, and 4 matched controls. Data for the outcome evaluation were obtained from surveys, administered every two years at three points in time, of community leaders and representative adults and adolescents, and from specially designed surveys of grocery stores. Outcomes for each of the 11 intervention communities were compared with outcomes in control communities. RESULTS: With the exception of two intervention communities-a largely Hispanic community and a Native American reservation-we found little evidence of positive changes in the outcomes targeted by the 11 intervention communities. The programs that demonstrated positive outcomes targeted dietary behavior and adolescent substance abuse. CONCLUSIONS: Improvement of health through community-based interventions remains a critical public health challenge. The CHPGP, like other prominent community-based initiatives, generally failed to produce measurable changes in the targeted health outcomes. Efforts should focus on developing theories and methods that can improve the design and evaluation of community-based interventions.