April 20, 2020

Howard County Funders Announce $205,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Grants

HoCoRespond Launches Second Fundraising Challenge Goal of $200,000; Nonprofits Can Now Apply for Second Round of Funding

The Community Foundation of Howard County, Horizon FoundationUnited Way of Central Maryland and Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County have announced $205,000 in grants to 13 Howard County nonprofits addressing COVID-19 needs. The collaborative effort, called HoCoRespond, has also launched its second fundraising challenge, with a goal of raising $200,000 in five days. The application process for the second round of emergency grants opens today, and applications are due on Friday, April 24, 2020.

“This pandemic is going to continue to cause many challenges for our residents of Howard County and we’re incredibly grateful to have such dedicated organizations to help look out for our most vulnerable,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “HoCoRespond has already demonstrated how effective their collaborative effort can be, and I encourage those who are able to support their emergency funds to respond to this crisis.”

These four local philanthropies quickly established HoCoRespond.com in March 2020 and recently exceeded its first goal of raising $100,000 in 10 days to support Howard County nonprofits with emergency funds in response to the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, $205,000 in emergency funds have been awarded in the first round of grants, going to the following nonprofit partners on the frontline of support assisting with food security, housing, childcare and healthcare:

  • CASA: $10,000 for COVID-related needs of immigrant, Latino and working-class Howard County residents including information and referral hotline services, benefit and loan assistance, employment assistance, and advocacy support.
  • Chase Brexton Health Services: $10,000 to provide urgent access to food and rental assistance to Howard County patients experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 Crisis.
  • Community Action Council of Howard County: $25,000 to support the increased demand for services at the Howard County Food Bank.
  • Equity4HC: $25,000 to support emergency relief efforts that support disadvantaged students, families and seniors by providing healthy food, hygiene assistance and essential supplies through a partnership with Columbia Community Care.
  • Foreign-born Information and Referral Network (FIRN): $15,000 to provide access to food, financial support and culturally appropriate information to foreign-born Howard County residents affected by COVID-related needs.
  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center: $25,000 to support the increased need for crisis and homeless services in Howard County as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Hope Works of Howard County: $20,000 to assist in maintaining full operations of the 24/7 emergency shelter and crisis intervention support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including human trafficking.
  • Howard County Autism Society: $5,000 to support individuals with autism and their families most in need through the financial assistance from the “Madhu Fund,” a fund providing one-time, emergency assistance to individuals with autism and/or their families who are experiencing an immediate need for financial assistance, and operational support for increased family navigator services.
  • Humanim: $25,000 to provide food and supplies to Howard County homeless residents sheltering in local motels through the City Seeds program, a social enterprise that provides catering and job training skills for people facing employment barriers.
  • Just Living Advocacy: $5,000 to support low-income Howard County families with support for child care costs and advocacy.
  • Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington: $10,000 to support food security needs with culturally sensitive food options for low- to moderate-income Korean and Chinese American residents of Howard County.
  • Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland: $20,000 to expand the Home Delivered Meal Program and Grocery Shopping Assistance Program serving low-income Howard County seniors.
  • Neighbor Ride: $10,000 to support the food delivery program partnership implemented during the COVID-19 crisis with the Howard County Food Bank and Howard County Office on Aging & Independence Congregate Meal Program to support the food needs of vulnerable Howard County residents.

“We are facing an unprecedented challenge that continues to require collective action and support for those in our community who are impacted the most, and we are committed to taking steps to address the coronavirus outbreak in ways that include deep considerations of equity,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “We are focused on cultural, racial, ethnic, geographic, and ability diversity in the organizations we are funding.”

The Howard County Health Department has reported 538 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Howard County as of today, and 12 people have died. The number of cases is projected to continue to rise, putting great strain on front line nonprofits and health services across the county.

“We know the short and long-term impact of COVID-19 will continue to have lasting implications and disproportionately affect community members who are earning hourly wages, going without health insurance, needing child care and facing financial hurdles,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of the Horizon Foundation. “As we continue to monitor and address the needs of our most vulnerable residents and frontline health care workers, we are proud to be part of a community coming together to show support.”

To continue to address the need, Howard County funders are continuing to coordinate to rapidly raise funds from generous donors and deploy critical resources to nonprofits in Howard County through HoCoRespond.com, with the goal of raising another $200,000 in the next five days. Applications for the second round of grants are now open for nonprofits to apply through Friday, April 24. More information about the applications and ways to donate can be found at HoCoRespond.com.

This rapid response effort is available because of the many donors who have supported this collective effort, including Cyndi and Ron Gula, the Kahlert Foundation, the Hittman Family Foundation, M&T Bank, Katherine Schulze, the Sierra Grace Giving Fund, and the Christopher P. Parr Charitable Fund, all of whom have stepped up to generously invest in HoCoRespond and encourage the community to give to address unprecedented COVID-19 needs.

“We are able to invest in our community quickly and efficiently because of the support of many donors who wish to make a measurable difference,” said Beverly White-Seals, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Howard County. “We know that in these unprecedented times, our community will continue to take care of one another, and I have no doubt that we will reach our initial goal of raising another $200,000 in five days in record time.”

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 its established Howard County Community Relief Fund to address ongoing emergencies in Howard County. Members of the community and fund holders at the foundation are invited to donate.
  • 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. Community members are invited to donate.
  • The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County has established the WGC COVID-19 Fund. Donors can double the impact of their gifts through the generosity of Cyndi and Ron Gula, who are matching donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000 to address unprecedented COVID-19 community needs. WGC donors and members of the community are invited to donate.

“We know the needs are great, and we are proud to be part of a community of donors and funders that are stepping up to show support in these trying times” said Barb Van Winkle, chair of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County. “We are in this together, and will get through this together.”