Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland Launch Changemaker Challenge, Seeking Innovative Ideas to Address Social Issues in Howard County

Three winners to receive $10,000 in seed funding and project consultation

Columbia, Md. – The Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland announced today the launch of the first-ever Changemaker Challenge, focused on sparking innovation and fresh thinking to address some of Howard County’s most pressing social issues.

Individuals, teams and nonprofit organizations are invited to pitch a big idea and have a chance to potentially receive $10,000 in seed funding, and project consultation. Ideas are not limited to specific categories. They could impact local health, the environment, social justice, children, teens, older adults or a host of other issues.

 “Despite all the strengths of our community, we recognize that many pressing problems continue to persist,” said Sandy Monck, Chief Impact Officer at United Way of Central Maryland. “One in five Howard County households do not earn enough to meet a basic ‘survival budget’ and face barriers beyond their control that limit their ability to become financially stable. Chronic diseases like diabetes disproportionately affect people of color in our community. Public transportation remains a hurdle for residents who need to get to work, school or grocery shopping without a car. There are many issues that changemakers could address.”

 How does it work?

  • All big ideas to make Howard County better must be pitched at www.changemakerchallengehc.org by September 8.
  • If an idea is chosen, it will be presented to a live audience on October 30.
  • Three winning ideas will receive $10,000 in seed funding, and project consultation.

Howard County has a long history of tireless work by many individuals and organizations that have brought creative solutions to some of these pressing problems. The Changemaker Challenge is designed to spark and celebrate new and continued innovation in our community.

Social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than current solutions.

“We are looking for big, out-of-the-box ideas for addressing issues facing our county, and are especially interested in ideas that reduce barriers and challenges for all residents,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation. “We are looking to spark meaningful, lasting, social change.”

Since 1998, Horizon has invested $45 million in community programs, including grants to more than 250 organizations serving the county, from after-school programs to faith-based organizations to health care providers.  

For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community it serves: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties, and Baltimore City.

Learn more about the Changemaker Challenge, including official rules, terms and conditions online at: www.changemakerchallengehc.org

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Hosted by the Horizon Foundation, in partnership with United Way of Central Maryland, the Changemaker Challenge is an event focused on sparking innovation and fresh thinking to address some of Howard County’s most pressing issues. www.changemakerchallengehc.org

Please see the Official Rules for the specific Terms and Conditions of the Changemaker Challenge.

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