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2021 Advancing Community Advocacy Fellowship – Request for Proposals


Howard County is not immune to systemic racism. Data prove many of our communities of color also face barriers to living long, healthy lives.

Today, improving health and wellness for all people in Howard County means advancing racial equity.  Simply acknowledging health gaps and the role race and ethnicity play, or just making statements, won’t cut it. We must rebuild community structures and systems so they are rooted in equity and fairness.

We first must accept inequities exist for people of color, and that they can be deadly. Then we must get to work righting them. This starts with a widespread and collective movement to change policies and practices, while continuing to educate and advocate with a broad coalition committed to doing what’s right and just. We are seeking partners to join the Foundation and others already involved in racial equity work to do the hard but necessary work to making Howard County a better and healthier place to live for all of our residents.

The Horizon Foundation seeks to strengthen the advocacy and organizing capacity of community leaders and/or committed non-profits so they can more effectively change policies/systems that will eliminate systemic racism and establish health equity throughout Howard County.

Through this RFP, the Foundation is seeking to partner with community leaders and/or organizations (i.e., staff, leadership and members) that are:

  • Passionate about the Foundation’s mission and at least one of the following strategic campaign areas including:
    • diabetes prevention (e.g., enacting policies that make healthier food and drink more readily available, accessible, and affordable and/or increase county funding for active transportation and complete streets)
    • mental health (e.g., permanently expanding school based mental health supports to all schools in the Howard County Public School System)
    • equity (e.g., advancing county policies that would close racial disparities in health, and/or improve other social determinates of health)
  • Relatively new to policy work and/or want to further develop community organizing, advocacy, communications, and other policy campaign-related skills by fully participating and practicing these skills in a real-time campaign together with the Foundation and other partners;
  • Experienced in serving and working with communities of color;
  • Committed to and understand racial equity principles; and
  • Willing to advocate and mobilize community members for needed community change.

The purpose of this strategic opportunity is to build the organizing and advocacy capacity of community organizations by helping them to use their power to advance issues that matter most to them and their community. The grantee(s) selected will become a key partner in one of the Foundation’s issue campaigns. Their staff, leadership, and members will learn essential organizing and advocacy skills by practicing them in a real-time policy campaign in conjunction with the Foundation and its other partners.

Up to 2 grantees will be awarded $30,000 per year for 2 years.  Selected grantees will be expected to:

  • Fully participate in and/or lead campaign activities including but not limited to**:
    • Planning meetings, decision-maker hearings, awareness events, actions, etc.
    • Coalition building
    • “Turn-out” related efforts (i.e., getting people to show up at an advocacy meeting, event, rally, etc.)
    • Media events
    • Quarterly trainings and related assignments
  • Raising Awareness
    • Sharing information with members about our joint campaign, and helping to develop and share social media content around the campaign.
  • Engaging with other partners
    • Building a base of partners and community members that will help develop and wage a successful campaign
  • Reporting
    • Completing quarterly reports about each of the trainings/campaign learnings to date, along with a midyear and final report.

Individuals should expect to spend 20-30 hours per month on fellowship activities.

**Virtual and in-person gatherings will be considered for 2022 activities. CDC Recommendations (masks, temperature checks, physically distancing) will be followed for all in-person events.


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants can be: a) individual (not a nonprofit) with established community base, or (b) non-profit organization that is tax- exempt under IRS Section 501(c) 3, or (c) be directly affiliated with the Howard County Public School System or other public entity that can receive funds on its behalf, or (d) have a fiscal sponsor to support their organization.
  • Your organization is not eligible to apply if it has been awarded more than $30,000 from the Foundation in the past year. Organizations operating as a fiscal sponsor for another group are excluded from this requirement
  • The grant period is from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023. This is a multi-year grant. Selected grantees will be awarded an operating grant of $30,000 per year for 2 years.

Prerequisite of ALL organizations wanting to apply for this RFP:

  • Interested applicants must send 2 organizational representatives to participate in a 4 hour virtual community listening session on October 23, 2021. Organizations will not be eligible for funding if they do not register and attend this community session.
    • The community listening session will help the Foundation better understand what policies and community issues are most pressing and ripe for change as we all seek a more equitable community. It will also help inform future equity funding initiatives.
    • The virtual session will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The session is deigned to be highly engaging and will include large and small group learnings.
      • Register online here.

How to Submit Proposals

All proposals must be submitted using our online grants system. Preview the grant application questions in this PDF.

The deadline to submit the application is November 7th, 2021.  Proposals will be reviewed and qualified applicants will be notified no later than December 10.


Interested in learning more? Attend an info session.

We will be hosting information sessions in October to explain the Request for Proposals and answer any questions you may have. Please participate in one of the upcoming virtual Zoom sessions on:

For questions on the grant opportunity, please contact Senior Policy and Community Engagement Officer Jennifer White at jwhite@thehorizonfoundation.org.

For assistance with the grant system, please contact Senior Program Officer Kenitra Fokwa at kfokwa@thehorizonfoundation.org.