August 17, 2020

Howard County Funders Aim to Raise Additional $200,000 to Address Growing Coronavirus Needs

HoCoRespond Has Already Raised $407,500 for Grants to Support Housing, Food Security, Childcare and Healthcare

Key Howard County funders are sustaining their strong partnership during the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing a new effort to raise and deploy an additional $200,000 to support nonprofits working on the frontlines in Howard County through HoCoRespond.

New, coordinated grant funding is urgently needed to help Howard County residents as unemployment insurance supplements and eviction protections are at risk of ending. Many vulnerable families in Howard County are increasingly unable to pay for food, rent, childcare and healthcare, and nonprofits in the county are helping address those challenges.

Under the umbrella of HoCoRespond, the Community Foundation of Howard County, Horizon Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland and Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County have been working together since March to assess community needs, accept donations and provide funding to Howard County nonprofits providing frontline support, with a focus on food security, housing, childcare and healthcare. Through HoCoRespond, Howard County funders have awarded a total of $407,500 since March to 31 nonprofits.

“This public health crisis has caused a wave of challenges for our residents; people are facing unimaginable circumstances deciding whether to keep a roof over their head or food on their table,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “We’re incredibly grateful to have such dedicated organizations to help look out for our most vulnerable, and HoCoRespond has already demonstrated effectiveness in collaboration. In a time when it’s imperative to help those among us most in need, this is a perfect way to support your neighbors and community. I encourage those who are able to make a charitable contribution to support this emergency fund.”

On August 17th, the Maryland Department of Health had reported 4,089 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Howard County and 110 deaths; across the state, 100,715 cases and 3,504 deaths had been reported.

“Howard County Funders are coordinating to raise and deploy critical resources to nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the urgent health and economic needs of disproportionately impacted communities in Howard County,” said Beverly White-Seals, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Howard County. “We continue to be here to support our community as we navigate ongoing community needs this summer and into the fall.”

A key focus of the collective grantmaking is to ensure communities of color are receiving equitable treatment.

“We are proud that our collective grantmaking is working to advance equity by focusing on cultural, racial, ethnic, geographic and ability diversity in the organizations we are funding,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “We are working closely with our partners to continue to identify urgent needs on the ground.” is continuing to accept donations and will announce another round of grantmaking soon. Those looking to help can donate to the following emergency funds supporting nonprofits that are assisting community members affected by COVID-19:

  • The Community Foundation of Howard County has established Howard County Community Relief Fund to address ongoing emergencies in Howard County.
  • The United Way of Central Maryland has established the COVID-19 Community Fund for Central Maryland to support the community, and in particular, support those who operate on the frontlines of providing help and resources to those in need.
  • The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County has established the COVID-19 Fund to address unprecedented COVID-19 community needs and is also responding to emergency needs through its long-established Emergency Response Network (ERN).

“The reality is that COVID-19 is continuing to harm our community,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of the Horizon Foundation. “We will continue to work closely with our funding partners to address critical housing, food, childcare and healthcare challenges in Howard County and provide emergency and ongoing support to those in need.”

The Howard County funding partners are urging county residents, donors and the community at large to take action and support the nonprofits who are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We will continue exploring the path forward in providing relief to our community by leveraging our strengths and working with others to make a bigger difference together than we might otherwise make alone,” said Barb Van Winkle, chair of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County.