As the year comes to a close, we are very grateful for your partnership and shared vision of a healthier Howard County.
Working together, we have made some amazing progress, and in celebration, we would like to share these top eight highlights of 2018:
Horizon Foundation celebrated its legacy of impact in Howard County at its 20th anniversary event
In September, nearly 100 past and present board members and health leaders gathered to commemorate 20 years of the Horizon Foundation improving health and wellness in Howard County. With new initiatives and strategic priorities, Horizon is continuing to lead community change so everyone in the county can live a longer, better life.
The Horizon Foundation held its first Equity Summit
In November, more than 500 community members gathered at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center for the Horizon Foundation’s first Equity Summit. The Summit brought community members and leaders together to highlight health disparities and barriers, learn about tools to address those barriers and begin developing an approach to advance racial equity in Howard County. The summit featured presentations by national equity experts from the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), interactive discussions and a compelling keynote address by nationally acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
300 people attended 2018 Mental Health Film Festival, showing that mental health matters
In June, 300 people gathered for an inspiring evening of film, discussion and reflection at the Horizon Foundation’s Mental Health Film Festival. Participants watched one of four films, heard from expert speakers and wrote personal comments on a Reflection Wall. As an event designed to build awareness and compassion for those facing mental health challenges, we are grateful for all who came to learn, share personal stories and make commitments to elevate mental health in our community.
Horizon Foundation announced its dynamic new five-year strategic plan
In May, we announced the Horizon Foundation’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which reflects an ongoing commitment to our mission and outlines our priorities for the next five years. Over the course of developing this plan, we interviewed more than 100 community members and leaders. We also analyzed local health data and considered where we could have the biggest impact on our community’s health.
Speak(easy) Howard and The Stoop Storytelling Series hosted a sold-out storytelling event
In November, Speak(easy) Howard and the Stoop Storytelling Series hosted “I Did It My Way: Stories about Creating a Life – and Death – On Your Own Terms,” which was an inspiring, sold-out storytelling event with over 250 attendees. Storytellers shared personal stories about living their best lives which were sad, funny, serious – or all three. The event was part of Speak(easy) Howard, a campaign of the Horizon Foundation that helps residents think through their preferences for care, talk about them with loved ones and name a health care agent – the person you choose to make medical decisions if you are unable to.
Candidate and community member “walk audit” showed need for better walking, biking facilities
In October, nearly 100 people—including 16 local political candidates and representatives from People Acting Together in Howard (PATH), American Heart Association, Bicycling Advocates of Howard County and the Horizon Foundation—explored the Guilford community on foot to learn how we can build roads that better accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, drivers and people with disabilities. Candidates and community members learned about the benefits of building these “complete streets” and participated in walk audits, facilitated group walks where they assessed the current state of nearby roads.
Horizon Foundation hosted fourth Open Streets Howard County event
In May, nearly a thousand people gathered at Long Reach High School, along Tamar Dr. and at St. John Baptist Church for our fourth Open Streets Howard County. Community members and leaders came out for a day of family fun such as a bike rodeo, spinart on a bike, steel drum lessons, balloon twisting, dance and jump rope on the stage, bike rentals, food trucks, a Fun Run and much more. Attendees walked the event route which featured a pop-up bike lane to show community members what a more walkable and bikeable Howard County will look like.
Sugar Free Kids Maryland’s healthy kids’ meal and healthy vending policies were enacted
This year, the Sugar Free Kids Maryland coalition celebrated two major policy wins for children’s health. The Horizon Foundation is Sugar Free Kids Maryland’s leading partner. In April, Mayor Catherine Pugh signed the Baltimore City Healthy Kids’ Meal Bill that ensures water, milk, 100% fruit juice, sparkling water and flavored water without added sweeteners will become the default drink options for all restaurants kids’ meals in the city. In May, shortly before his passing, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz signed an executive order requiring 100 percent of all items offered in vending machines on county property to meet healthy nutrition standards. Both laws help families make the healthy choice the easy choice.