May 20, 2019

May 2019 newsletter: Emotional Support Humans, New Chief Operating Officer, Columbia Festival of the Arts

Emotional Support Humans Welcome

We all know someone in our lives – a friend, a family member, a neighbor – who is struggling with mental health, yet many of us are afraid of saying the wrong thing or making things worse. Featured in Sunday’s Baltimore Sun, the Horizon Foundation’s new “Emotional Support Human Etiquette” campaign provides practical tips to show how you can help. Modeled after the concept of emotional support animals, the campaign aims to normalize conversations around mental health.
Sign the pledge to be an Emotional Support Human>>
Change your Facebook profile photo>>
Read about the campaign in the Baltimore Sun >>

Anne Brinker Named Chief Operating Officer

The Horizon Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Anne Brinker as chief operating officer. In this role, she will direct the Foundation’s human resources, administrative operations, finance and accounting. Most recently, Anne served as the vice president and director of operations for the Community Action Council of Howard County, where she directed operations and various community programs. She also previously served as director of strategic organizational planning at Columbia Association and as village manager for the King’s Contrivance Community Association. Read more >>

Tickets Now On Sale for Speak(easy) Howard Events at the Columbia Festival of the Arts

Join Speak(easy) Howard and the Columbia Festival of the Arts for four events June 20-23 featuring sketches, stories, shorts and the screen. Watch a show from the Stoop Storytelling Series with tales about staying true to your values. Follow the experience of three visionary medical providers as they practice on the cutting edge of life and death in End Game. Laugh with Chicago’s legendary sketch and improv comedy theater The Second City. Or see a live show of NPR’s Selected Shorts with readings by Atandwa Kani (King T’Chaka in Black Panther), Valorie Curry (Talia in Blair Witch) and Sam Underwood (Jake Otto in Fear the Walking Dead). Learn more and get tickets>>

Baltimore Sun Letter to the Editor: Philanthropists Should Tackle Racial Justice

Our CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick penned a letter to the editor published last month by the Baltimore Sun on philanthropy’s responsibility to address systemic racism. “From slavery to redlining in housing to the War on Drugs to health disparities, America’s history has long been marred by inflicting harm and denying opportunities to black Americans,” she wrote. “All of us, including those in the philanthropy sector, must examine the ways in which we have and continue to contribute to these problems and work implement equitable solutions.” Read the full letter>>

Horizon Executives Author Chapter in The Practical Playbook II

Touted as a guide to “the secret sauce of improving public and population health,” The Practical Playbook ll: Building Multisector Partnerships That Work, published by Oxford University Press this month, features a chapter authored by Horizon CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick and Chief Program Officer Glenn Schneider. The chapter, “Fighting Big Soda at the Local Level,” details the Foundation’s work to reduce sugary drink consumption in Howard County by forming of a diverse coalition of community partners, launching of a comprehensive marketing and media campaign, advocating for local and state policy changes and leveraging data to measure success. Read more>>

1,500 Attend Angst Film Screenings on Youth Anxiety

Parents, students and community members attended four screenings of a film on youth anxiety and stress last month, held in partnership with Howard County Public School System. Participants also heard from panels of local speakers including high school students, mental health professionals and school system leaders. “We know we are not alone in dealing with mental health issues in our families and we know that there is hope,” said Horizon CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick. Read more>>

County Executive Significantly Increases Bike Funding, Paving Way for More Progress on Complete Streets

Later this month, the Howard County Council will vote on the county executive’s FY 2020 budget which includes $2.2 million in funding for bike routes—the county’s highest level of bike funding in years. This record funding responds to the strong advocacy of our coalition of partners including the American Heart Association, Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (Bike HoCo), 2,000 people and 46 businesses and community groups. This investment moves Howard County one step closer to becoming a community with “complete streets,” where everyone can safely, easily and comfortably bike or walk where they need to go.
Read the joint press statement from Horizon, Bike HoCo and American Heart Association>>
Read about the capital budget in the Howard County Times>>

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