July 31, 2019

July 2019 newsletter: Calling All Changemakers, Healthy Vending, Emotional Support Humans in the News

What’s your big idea for social change in Howard County? You could win up to $25,000

The Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland want to hear YOUR innovative ideas to make Howard County better! Whether your idea could impact intellectual or developmental disabilities, public health, the environment, social justice, economic opportunity, teens or older adults … the issues are real and the possibilities to effect lasting social change are endless. Four grants totaling $60,000 will be given in the amounts of: $25,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $10,000. One will be awarded to a project serving people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Apply by Sept. 16! Learn more>>

More healthy drinks and snacks coming to Howard County vending machines 

Four years ago, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball led the state in championing healthy vending legislation in Howard County to promote health and make healthy choices easier. Now, the county government is preparing to fully implement the law, which requires at least 75 percent of county vending machine options to be healthy snacks and drinks. The Horizon Foundation and dozens of partners advocated for this legislation, and similar policies are now in place in seven Maryland jurisdictions. The Baltimore Sun editorial board recognized the move as the culmination of efforts that often faced opposition, asking in an editorial: “So remind us, Howard County, why was providing access to healthy food in vending machines ever controversial?” A letter to the editor by Rev. Larry Walker of the African American Community Roundtable also was published in the Sun. “We believe the community, including our government, should create an environment that encourages health,” he wrote.
Read more>>
Read the Baltimore Sun editorial>>
Read the Howard County Times story>>
Read the letter to the Sun editor by Rev. Larry Walker of the African American Community Roundtable>>

Announcing the Streets for All campaign

The American Heart Association, Horizon Foundation and Bicycling Advocates of Howard County have teamed up to launch a new effort to advocate for safer, connected streets for everyone. We need Streets for All in Howard County! This campaign builds upon the successful efforts of 46 organizations and 2,000 people who advocated for increased county bike funding. The coalition is now focused on urging the County Executive and County Council to pass a new, world-class complete streets law that would require new neighborhoods, new businesses and rehabbed public spaces to have safe places to bike and walk. Learn more and take action>>

Horizon welcomes new staff: Jennifer Arice White and Kerry Darragh

Jennifer White and Kerry DarraghPlease join us in welcoming two new members of the team – Jennifer Arice White, senior community engagement officer, and Kerry Darragh, communications officer. Jennifer most recently served as community advocacy director in Maryland for the American Heart Association and brings deep experience and expertise in local policy change campaigns to promote health. At Horizon, she will be engaging with partners and community members to advance policy campaigns and programs on issues including complete streets and sugary drinks. Kerry previously served as a senior associate at The Hatcher Group, a Maryland-based communications and public affairs firm where she worked on state legislative campaigns on environmental and health issues. She will be leading communications for Howard County Unsweetened, Speak(easy) Howard and Streets for All. Learn more>>

98 Rock, Biz Monthly: Emotional Support Humans in the news

Our mental health campaign continues to spread, with 150 people who have taken the pledge to be an Emotional Support Human! Radio station 98 Rock’s Amelia Ryerse spoke with our CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick about how all of us can better approach conversations about mental health on the Maryland Perspectives show. The Business Monthly also featured the campaign in its June issue. “This new campaign shows that we can’t leave it all up to support dogs, peacocks and turkeys. They’re doing their jobs, and we as humans need to do ours and be emotional supports for each other,” Highsmith Vernick said.
Listen to the 98 Rock interview>>
Read The Business Monthly story (pdf)>>
Sign the pledge to be an Emotional Support Human>>

Speak(easy) Howard and Columbia Festival of the Arts events draw 800 people

Second City performing at Columbia Festival of the ArtsAs part of the Columbia Festival of the Arts (CFA), Horizon’s Speak(easy) Howard campaign hosted four events designed to encourage community members to think about how they can live their life according to their values all the way to the end. Attendees heard moving personal stories from the Stoop Storytelling Series, watched a film discussed the experience of doctors helping families navigate the end of life, saw legendary sketch comedy group The Second City and heard dramatic readings by Hollywood actors at a live show of Selected Shorts. We are proud to have partnered with CFA on these meaningful events! Read more>>

2020 Census will not include a question about citizenship

The Supreme Court issued a ruling that effectively blocked the addition of a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census. The question would have threatened the accuracy of the Census count, putting hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds for vital health and social services at risk and harming efforts to improve racial equity in American communities. As preparations begin for the Census, we are especially encouraged by the grassroots efforts of organizations like the Howard County Chinese School, one of our equity grantees, to provide education and outreach to local immigrant and minority households about the importance of the Census. Read our statement>>

Discussion with author Richard Rothstein on policies resulting in racial segregation

Howard County Public Library System, in partnership with the Horizon Foundation, presented a May 30 special discussion with author Richard Rothstein on his book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” This critically acclaimed book explores segregation as the result of discriminatory government policies at the local, state and federal level. While many tend to think of segregation as the result of private activities like unscrupulous real estate agents or unethical mortgage lenders, Rothstein shows how these activities could not have imposed segregation without explicit government policies designed to keep black and white people separate. Housing programs begun under the New Deal, in particular, were essentially a “state-sponsored system of segregation,” Rothstein said. Learn more about the book>>

Save the date: Mental Health Film Festival Oct. 23

The Horizon Foundation will host its third Mental Health Film Festival this fall at Regal UA Snowden Square in Columbia, Maryland, on Wednesday Oct. 23. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more information!

About the Horizon Foundation

The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland. We lead community change so everyone in Howard County can live a longer, better life. We are committed to improving health through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Learn more at www.thehorizonfoundation.org.