May 4, 2020

May 2020 newsletter: $1+ million in emergency grants, new tips from Speak(easy) Howard

Horizon Foundation commits over $1 million in COVID-19 response grants 

Moving aggressively to fulfill its mission to improve the health of Howard County residents, the Horizon Foundation has committed over $1 million in grants to meet emergency health needs caused by the coronavirus outbreak. On April 13, the Foundation announced $1 million in grants focused on supporting the physical and mental health of frontline health care workers and enabling safe distancing for vulnerable community members including those in the county’s only general homeless shelter and in residential programs for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The Foundation also has coordinated COVID-19 relief efforts with the Community Foundation of Howard County, United Way of Central Maryland and Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County through, which recently announced $205,000 in emergency grants to nonprofits raised from local donors to provide assistance with food, housing, child care and health care.
Read about Horizon’s latest emergency response grants>>
Read about the joint philanthropic response through>>

Speak(easy) Howard releases tips for preparing to interact with the health care system

In these stressful and uncertain times, it feels like there is so much that is out of our control. That’s why it’s important to lean in and take control of the things we still can. Speak(easy) Howard partnered with local health experts and community members to share six ways you can get prepared in the event you or your loved ones need to enter the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new resource features videos from community leaders and practical tips on how you can get started.
Check out tips to be prepared>>

Take action: Support funding for mental health services in schools

Under current budget constraints, funding for school-based mental health services is at risk – and this comes at a time when students may be facing increased challenges because of the disruptions and change in their lives triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Mental wellness is critical to student success. Yet, too often, children and youth cannot get mental health treatment when they need it. Through a 30-school pilot program jointly funded by the Howard County Public School System and the Horizon Foundation, students can more easily access mental health services during the school day, including one-on-one counseling services. It is especially important to ensure that these services can support students at home and at school in these uncertain times. Hundreds of students have already received personalized help through this program. Take action by sending a message to the Board of Education or adding your organization to our sign-on letter and show that #MentalHealthMatters.

Send your message to the Board of Education>>
Add your organization/company to the sign-on letter>>

Thank you, Howard County Heroes!

The Horizon Foundation is extremely grateful for Howard County’s frontline and essential workers. Thank you for all that you are doing to support the community. We are honored to sponsor signs recognizing “Heroes Work Here” at Howard County General Hospital and other locations throughout the county including the Howard County Health Department, fire and police stations, grocery stores and nursing and assisted-living facilities. Thanks to Image 360 Columbia for partnering with us on these signs.

Streets for All Coalition celebrates $7.38 million for bike and pedestrian projects in proposed FY 2021 capital budget

The Streets for All Coalition has been testifying, turning out and showing support for making Howard County a place where people can easily and safely bike or walk anywhere they need to go – and coalition members’ hard work seems to be paying off. In his proposed capital budget released on April 1, County Executive Calvin Ball designated an extraordinary $7.38 million for new and improved bike lanes, street lights, paths, bus stops, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings across Howard County. These investments are critical to ensure our community is a healthy, safe and connected place for all – now and in the future.
Read more>>

Report: “The 2020 Vision for Health in Howard County” highlights racial disparities, community solutions

Persistent racial disparities in numerous health measures pose challenges and opportunities for Howard County, Maryland, according to a report by the Horizon Foundation. The report details inequities in prenatal care and infant health, chronic disease, mental health and advance care planning and also analyzes root causes and calls for specific solutions and broad action by public agencies and others to address them. Thank you to the Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition and our speakers Jonathan Ahn, Patricia Silva and Larry Walker for being part of our report release event.
Read our press release>>
Read the Howard County Times story>>
Read our op-ed in the Baltimore Sun>>

Welcome to our new trustees

The Horizon Foundation announced the appointment of two new members of its board of trustees: Gopi Suri, who currently serves as chief executive officer of the Supriv Group and president of the Suri Foundation, and Mark Cissell, chief executive officer and president of accounting firm KatzAbosch. We also thank former trustees Paul Gleichauf, Henry Posko and Ned Tillman who completed their terms at the end of last year.
Read more>>


RISE: Recreation-Inspired Sports for Everyone 

The Horizon Foundation proudly partnered with the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks and Howard County Public School System to pilot a program in select middle schools to expand after-school sports opportunities. Our CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick recently joined Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and recreation and school system representatives at Murray Hill Middle School in March to see the RISE (Recreation-Inspired Sports for Everyone) program in action. We look forward to seeing the program continue when schools reopen.
Read the Howard County Times story>>
See photos>>