The Horizon Foundation was established in 1998 with proceeds from the sale of Howard County General Hospital to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Today, the foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in the state of Maryland. Its mission is to improve the health and wellness of people who live or work in Howard County, Maryland. For 20 years, it has invested nearly $50 million in more than 250 organizations tackling major public health challenges in the county.
Howard County, Maryland is one of the nation’s wealthiest and most educated counties, yet its residents still face serious health challenges, including high rates of chronic disease, gaps in mental health services, and a vulnerable aging population. The community also faces health disparities, particularly impacting communities of color. Through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking, and thoughtful advocacy, the foundation works to improve the health and wellness of all who live or work in the county.
Horizon’s three key priority areas are designed to help ensure that everyone in its community has an opportunity to achieve better health. These issues are driven by the community’s needs and are shaped around strategic solutions that promise the greatest, lasting impact on physical and mental health. From its grantmaking and partnerships to public policy advocacy and initiatives, its work is guided by these key priorities: Promoting Healthy Kids and Families, Encouraging Healthy Aging, and Ensuring a More Equitable Community.
Total Assets: $87,273,577 FY19
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Grants: $1.8 million
- Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services Grants:
Howard County Public School System—The foundation’s partnership with the school system is expanding mental health services in 28 schools so that student support teams, teachers, and families can better identify students’ mental health needs and coordinate services for students within their schools—including onsite counseling with licensed mental health care providers, referrals, and case management to connect with resources in the community. ($386,586)
African American Community Roundtable, Association of Community Services, Equity4HC, Hopeworks, and Howard County Chinese School—As part of a new Racial Equity Collaborative, these grantees will work together to strengthen their organizations’ ability to advocate for racial equity in health. Each organization is receiving year-long training and education in organizing and public policy, internal assessments, and coalition building. (Total for five organizations combined: $306,000)
Columbia Festival of the Arts—As part of the Columbia Festival of the Arts’ annual signature event series, performing arts groups will host several events in partnership with the foundation’s Speak(easy) Howard campaign to promote advance care planning. ($65,000)
American Red Cross, Central Maryland Chapter—Following the historic May 2018 flood in Ellicott City, Maryland, the American Red Cross provided disaster relief including immediate shelter, nursing staff, welcome center services including help with food, clothing, showers, and comfort kits and also expanded mental health counseling services. ($20,000)
Most Pressing Health Issues in the Community You Serve
“The numbers are clear. Some members of our community—particularly our communities of color—face significant challenges to good health, wellness and opportunity. We need to lead community change so everyone can live a long, healthy life. This is why we are focused on advocating for policies and practices that promise more equitable health outcomes for people of color, elevating voices of leaders from communities of color and strengthening the abilities and resources of community organizations to catalyze movements for social change.”
–Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation