September 10, 2018

RFP: Racial Equity Health Initiative Grant Opportunity

Update: Please note that Racial Equity Health Initiative Grants are now CLOSED. 

The Horizon Foundation believes that every member of our community deserves the opportunity to live a long, healthy life. Yet data show health challenges are far greater for some members of our community. For example, chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease disproportionately affect more Black residents than those of other races; the rate of contemplating suicide is higher for Latina youth; and documented advance directives are rare for people of color.

This is why we must make a concerted effort to support those facing the greatest barriers to good health and reduce health disparities. This work involves starting with racial equity in health and includes a focus on:

  • Advancing policies and systems change that promise equitable health outcomes and increasing engagement with diverse leaders.
  • Elevating the voices of leaders from diverse communities in the county to highlight and address health disparities in the community.
  • Building the capacity of community organizations to advocate for health equity.

We know that some organizations in the county are considering a systems-change focus and racial equity lens for the first time and need support in doing so. Other organizations and leaders want to advocate for larger systems changes and may be fluent in racial equity analysis but lack the resources to focus on these efforts.

We seek to increase the capacity of organizations that want to advance health equity and general racial equity in the county―so that together we can win campaigns that improve the health and lives of local people.

Request for Proposals: Racial Equity Health Initiative Grants
The Foundation is seeking diverse organizational partners that are committed to take their equity efforts to the next level. Grants will provide organizations with financial support and require participation in a year-long Collaborative (that will begin in February 2019).

The Collaborative will support grantees as they:

  • Establish partnerships with other organizations to leverage each other’s strengths and resources;
  • Identify one or two equity goals based on those issues for their organization to prioritize and tackle;
  • Develop and execute a racial equity policy campaign to achieve those goals, involving message research and development, building coalitions and organizing diverse communities, traditional and social media strategies, and engaging policy leaders, etc.;
  • Foster closer ties with grassroots organizations, schools, and government agencies; and,
  • Coordinate efforts with all partners to ensure it is mutually reinforcing.

Each team member participating in the Collaborative can expect to spend an average of up to 20 hours per month working on this initiative in the form of meetings, trainings, community engagement, organizational homework, etc. Working together, Collaborative partners will learn, work and transform their respective groups into “equity-ready” organizations ready to reform the policies and systems that stand in the way of achieving equitable health outcomes for all members of our community.

Foundation Commitment to Grantees

The Foundation recognizes that building a strong team of staff and volunteers that is willing and able to fully participate in a Collaborative is not an easy task. Committing to becoming an “equity-ready” organization may also seem challenging.

  1. To help make this work easier, the Foundation will award organizations chosen for this Collaborative grants of $20,000 to $100,000 for one year and will fund a total of $265,000 in 2018. Funding amounts and the number of awards may vary depending on the quantity and quality of the applications the Foundation receives. The Foundation hopes to fund a mix of small and large grant opportunities.
  2. We will plan our meetings/trainings, etc., to fit the needs of participants (e.g., taking into account that many volunteers work and may need to meet on evenings and/or weekends or may need accommodations for childcare).
  3. The Foundation will also provide successful applicants with technical assistance on how to build a successful Collaborative team (i.e., one that is ready to learn and has the talents, relationships and leadership needed to help your organization take systemic action to break down racial health barriers). Collaborative participants will receive guidance and technical assistance from national and regional equity experts and have multiple training and networking opportunities to support their equity campaigns.
  4. Additional funding beyond the Collaborative year will depend on whether the funded partner team fully participates in the Collaborative and whether the organization makes progress toward their campaign and becoming an “equity-ready” organization.

Grantee Commitment and Expectation

  1. The grant award will run from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019.
  2. Organizations must be: (a) tax-exempt under IRS Section 501(c)(3) and serve those who live or work in Howard County.
  3. Collaborative partners will be required to build a team of at least five people from among their membership, clients, board and staff who are willing to fully participate in the Equity Collaborative. Each team member will need to commit up to 20 hours per month on average to the activities of the Collaborative that will begin in February 2019. Activities will include but not be limited to participating via in-person training and phone teleconferences; organizing support and coaching; individual consultation, workshop and training attendance; and organizing campaign development (relational meetings, campaign research, etc.) just to name a few.
  4. Since the goal of this initiative is to help make organizations “equity-ready,” the leadership of each selected Collaborative partner will need to be engaged throughout the year. For example, team members participating in the Collaborative should regularly update their organization’s leadership and membership about the Collaborative and will need the cooperation of leadership to carry out some activities such as participation in organizing and advocacy on county issues.
  5. We understand that social determinants of health (e.g., housing, education, employment) are important to our community. While health equity may not be the primary goal of selected organizations, the Foundation expects each awarded grantee to also work on a specific health issue. Still, the activities of the Collaborative will serve to help advance the goals of all equity grantees.

Prerequisite of ALL organizations wanting to apply for this RFP

  • Bring a team of at least three members of your group to one of three racial equity workshops to be offered in September 2018. Board member, volunteer, and/or client participation is strongly encouraged.
    • The workshops will help Foundation partners and community stakeholders develop a shared understanding and language regarding equity, equality, structural racism, diversity and inclusion.
    • Not all team members need to attend the same workshop and can only represent one group (i.e., team members cannot represent more than one applying organization).
    • The workshops will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 4 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will take place at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045.
  • Bring a team of at least three members from your group to the Racial Equity Summit on Nov. 10, 2018.
    • The Summit is a convening of Foundation grantees and community stakeholders who are committed to improving the health outcomes of all Howard County residents. The summit will focus on understanding and addressing disparities of health and well-being through a racial equity framework.
    • The Summit will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Rd, Columbia, MD 21044.
    • Attending team members cannot represent more than one applying organization.

All proposals must be submitted using our online grants system. Applications for this program will open on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

Preview the grant application questions in this PDF.

The deadline to submit the application is Nov. 16, 2018. Proposals will be reviewed and qualified applicants will be required to conduct a site visit on Dec. 6, 2018, at the Horizon Foundation with staff and members of the Board of Trustees.

Applicants must refer to the Horizon website ( for notifications and additional information.

2018 Equity RFP Timeline

Action Date
Release equity RFP

*Note: workshop & summit attendance REQUIRED in order to apply for 2018 equity grants opportunity

Sept. 10
Equity RFP Due Nov. 16
Meet with potential grantees (as needed) Weeks of Nov. 26 and Dec. 3
Site Visits Dec. 6
Notify grant recipients By Dec. 14
Announce grant recipients Dec. 17

Grant Limitations

The following activities are not eligible for funding support:

  • Partisan political activity; and
  • Capital projects

Interested in learning more? Attend an info session

We will be hosting information sessions in October to explain the Request for Proposals and answer any questions you may have. Please participate in one of the upcoming sessions on:

  • Thursday, Oct. 18 from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 18 from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 3 to 5 p.m.
All sessions will be held at the Horizon Foundation Office, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Suite 200, Columbia, MD 21044.
For additional information please contact Rosimar Melendez at 443-766-1213 or via email at