October 31, 2019

Deadline Extended! RFP: Mental Health Outreach and Community Engagement Grant Opportunity

Please note: Mental health outreach grants are currently closed.


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 our innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Our work is driven by the community’s needs and shaped strategically around solutions that promise the greatest lasting impact on physical and mental health in our community.

One in five adults in America experiences mental illness in a given year. National research also shows it can take an average of 10 years between the time when a person shows symptoms of a mental illness to when they seek treatment. Among our youth, roughly one in six high schoolers reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide. Here in Howard County and across America, there remains a significant need for better access to mental health services.

Request for Proposals: Mental Health Outreach and Community Engagement

The Foundation is seeking organizational partners to help encourage and normalize help-seeking behavior related to mental health, address social and cultural stigmas that could prevent people from getting the help they need and further help parents learn about and take advantage of school-based mental health services in schools where they exist.

Grantee Commitment and Expectations

For the second year, the Foundation will offer two funding opportunities for partners to engage in raising awareness in our community:

Track 1
The Foundation seeks committed organizational partners to help increase Howard County parent and student awareness of mental health, the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety and ways to reach out to those who may need help.

Track 1 Grantees will be awarded $600 and will be expected to complete the following:

  1. Attend training
    • Have at least two (2) representatives from their organization participate in a two-hour Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) suicide prevention training. The training will be offered several times throughout 2020 to accommodate Grantee needs.
  2. Raise awareness
    • Share information with your members at least monthly about the Foundation’s mental health awareness campaign. The Foundation will provide periodic toolkits of pre-drafted social media posts, newsletter blurbs and flyers that Grantees can use to share with members electronically, in emails, on paper, etc.
    • Promote the Foundation’s “big event” (TBD) around mental health awareness. Details on the event will follow. The event will be held in the spring or summer of 2020.
  3. Engage with other partners
    • Send representatives to two in-person meetings (dates pending) that will be held during the year. The first meeting will serve as a kickoff/introductory meeting. The second will include updates on the Foundation’s work, opportunities to connect with other Grantees and time for feedback and discussion.
  4. Report back
    • Complete a brief (three-question) bimonthly report about how your organization has reached out to the community.

If your organization is interested in more extensive involvement with mental health engagement and outreach, then there is an additional funding opportunity via Track 2.

Track 2
The Foundation is also seeking organizational partners that will more extensively work with the Foundation to:

  • Encourage and normalize help-seeking behavior related to mental health
  • Increase awareness around mental health and address social and cultural stigmas that could prevent people from getting the help they need
  • Further help parents learn about and take advantage of school-based mental health services in schools where they exist

Data indicate that people of color, especially people who are Asian American, Black and Latino, receive treatment at disproportionally lower rates than White populations. Data also show that LGBTQ youth are at high risk of mental health challenges. The Foundation encourages proposals that are designed for these communities in addition to proposals that are designed for broad, diverse audiences. The Foundation also welcomes proposals that are tailored to either students, parents or both age groups.

We recognize that different groups will have different approaches to reaching these goals. The Foundation is open to however you suggest best utilizing grant funds for this work. However, we typically do not fund Track 2 proposals that duplicate resources and events already available in the community. We also do not typically fund proposals that focus more on well-being (e.g., meditation and yoga) instead of on mental health. We understand that mental health is a component of well-being, but for this Track 2 grant opportunity we are seeking proposals that are focused more clearly on mental health awareness.

Track 2 Grantees will be awarded up to $30,000 and will be required to:

  1. Meet the same criteria as listed in Track 1 above; and
  2. Perform the scope of work outlined in their proposal.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Proposals accepted from organizations that aim to improve the health and wellness of those that live or work in Howard County, Maryland.
  2. Organizations must be: (a) tax-exempt under IRS Section 501(c)3 or be directly affiliated with a Howard County Public School that can receive funds on its behalf. Organizations include but are not limited to PTAs, community groups, faith based groups, student groups with adult oversight, etc.
  3. For both Track 1 and Track 2 listed above, the grant period is for one year (January 1, 2020 thru December 31, 2020).
  4. If more than one organization affiliated with a single school applies for a Track 1 Grant, they will be asked to consolidate their requests.

How to Submit Proposals

All proposals must be submitted using our online grants system.

The deadline to submit the application has been extended to 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

Proposals will be reviewed and qualified applicants will be notified no later than Nov. 25, 2019.

Interested in Learning More?

Please contact our Community Engagement Associate Rashel Taylor at rtaylor@thehorizonfoundation.org or 443-766-1227.