October 27, 2021

October newsletter: RWJF prize, complete streets, Changemaker Challenge, grants and more!

Congratulations, Howard County: 2020-2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Winner!

Yesterday, Howard County was announced as a recipient of the 2020-2021 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. This national distinction recognizes our community for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Congratulations to everyone in Howard County for their hard work and dedication to make this possible and for continuing to improve health, wellness and equity for all of our residents!

Learn more about RWJF’s Culture of Health Prize>>


Complete streets: putting principles into practice

This month of “Walktober” is all about highlighting the benefits of walking to our physical and mental health. It’s also an opportunity to call out how our community can be better designed to prioritize the needs and safety of pedestrians, as well as bicyclists and transit users. Howard County is currently undertaking this important process as we speak with the drafting of a new Design Manual, which is open for public comment until October 28.  Updating the Design Manual is the crucial next step to ensure that Howard County’s complete streets vision actually becomes reality. Read more about implementing complete streets in our community in this month’s blog from Jennifer White, our senior policy and community engagement officer.

Read the blog>>


It’s almost here! Grab your FREE ticket to the Changemaker Challenge

In partnership with United Way of Central Maryland, the Community Foundation of Howard County and the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, we are so excited for the upcoming virtual live Changemaker Challenge event on November 9! Join us for this Shark Tank-style competition and watch our finalists pitch their big ideas for social change in our community. Learn more about the finalists and make sure to register for your free ticket!

Register now>>


Deadlines for our grant opportunities are coming up!

2021 Faith Community Mental Health Grant

The mental health needs of our community are top of mind – and faith leaders are often among the first people to become aware of these needs. The Foundation is seeking partners to help protect and support mental health and wellness in faith communities. Grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded. Learn more and apply by October 29!

2021 Advancing Community Advocacy Fellowship
This strategic opportunity will build the organizing and advocacy capacity of community organizations by helping them to use their power to advance issues that matter most to them and their community. The grantee(s) selected will become a key partner in one of the Foundation’s issue campaigns. Up to 2 grantees will be awarded $30,000 per year for 2 years. Learn more and apply by November 7!

2021 Racial Equity Collaborative Grant
The grantees selected for this strategic opportunity will build power to advance racial equity issues that matter to their community and work collaboratively on a joint equity-related policy. Their staff, leadership and members will focus on applying a racial equity lens to their work and learn essential organizing and advocacy skills by practicing them in a real-time policy campaign in conjunction with the Foundation and its other partners. Four grantees will be awarded $75,000 per year for 3 years. Learn more and apply by November 7! 


Nikki Highsmith Vernick, most admired CEO!

Our president and CEO, Nikki Highsmith Vernick, was recently named in the Daily Record’s list of Most Admired CEO awards. Congratulations Nikki, and thank you for leading us with vision, determination and a commitment to improving health for everyone in our community!

Read the Daily Record’s profile of Nikki>>


Announcing our new diabetes grantees!

We are so excited to start working with our new grantees to fight diabetes! Together, we will be working to increase Howard County residents’ awareness of diabetes, advocate for local and state health policies to reduce diabetes and related health disparities and reduce social and cultural stigmas that prevent people from seeking help.

Congratulations to the following organizations – we can’t wait to get started!

  • African American Community Roundtable
  • Black Student Achievement Program – Swansfield Elementary
  • Center for Creative Life and Learning, Inc. – Girls on Fire Mentoring and Enrichment Program
  • Continental Societies, Inc. Columbia Chapter
  • Every Kid Can Cook
  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, Inc.
  • Howard County Housing Commission
  • Indian Cultural Association of Howard County
  • JustLiving Advocacy, Inc.
  • Life Change AME Church
  • Lindaben Foundation, Inc.
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Alpha Sigma Chapter, Inc.
  • The Columbia (MD) Chapter of The Links, Inc.


Staff picks: What we’re reading, watching and listening to