Official Rules

Terms and Conditions


• The Changemaker Challenge (the “Contest”) is seeking innovative and fresh thinking ideas to help tackle important social issues in Howard County, Maryland (the “County”). No idea is too big or too small. All ideas, however, must be original and must help to make a positive difference in the lives of County residents. Ideas can focus on any social issue affecting the County, including, by way of example only, public health, education, social justice, economic opportunity, children, teens, or the elderly. All ideas must consist of educational or charitable activities consistent with Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

• There will be 5 finalists if we receive 20 or fewer entries, and up to 10 finalists if we receive more than 20 entries.

• Finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a live audience. A panel of judges will award three of the finalists each Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) as well as project consultation services, to help the winners implement their ideas.

• These Official Rules set forth the complete terms and conditions of the Contest.


• The Sponsors of the Contest are the Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland.

• The Horizon Foundation is an independent philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and wellness of people living or working in Howard County, Maryland. The Horizon Foundation invests in strategic grants and initiatives that achieve the greatest impact. It also builds partnerships and advocates for public policy changes that advance its mission.

• United Way of Central Maryland works to advance the basic building blocks of education, housing, employment and health to help low income families achieve self-sufficiency; and works to be an efficient and effective fundraiser.

• The Horizon Foundation is located at 10221 Wincopin Circle, Suite 200, Columbia, MD 21044.

• United Way of Central Maryland is located at 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 340, Baltimore, MD 21230.

Who May Enter

• The Contest is open to (1) individual residents of the State of Maryland who are 18 years of age or older as of June 28, 2017, (2) teams of individual residents of the State of Maryland all of whom are 18 years of age or older as of June 28, 2017, and (3) non-profit organizations that conduct activities or provides services in the State of Maryland as of June 28, 2017.

• For-profit entities are not eligible to participate in the Contest.

• All individuals, teams and non-profit organizations (individually, an “Entrant” and collectively, “Entrants”) must be able to attend, at their own cost and expense, an event in Howard County, Maryland on October 30, 2017 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm (the “Event”), where selected Entrants will present their ideas and winners will be determined and announced. If an Entrant is unable to attend the Event, the Entrant is not eligible to participate in the Contest or win a prize.

• The judges of the Contest and board members and employees of either of the Sponsors, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, step-parent, child, step-child, sibling, step-sibling and their respective spouses), and persons living in the same household of any such judge or employee (whether related or not) are not eligible to participate in the Contest. In addition, if any such ineligible individual holds a leadership position in a non-profit organization, that non-profit organization is not eligible to participate in the Contest.


How to Enter

• The Contest Period will begin on June 28, 2017 at 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Savings Time and will end on September 8, 2017, at 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Horizon Foundation’s computers will serve as the official time keeping device for this Contest.

• All Entries must be submitted during the Contest Period. No late Entries will be accepted.

• All Entrant (Applicant) ideas must directly impact (or directly benefit) Howard County.

• Eligible Entrants may enter the Contest by completing the Changemaker Challenge Online Entry Form.

• Each eligible Entrant must answer the following questions online at within the word limits specified below.

1. What’s your big idea? [Summary in 100 words or less]

2. What is the potential social impact in Howard County? [100 words or less]

3. How will you use the $10,000 if you win? [100 words or less]

4. What experience do you have that will help you succeed in making a difference? [100 words or less]

5. What is your plan to develop, promote and implement your idea to ensure success? [200 words or less]

• Each eligible Entrant must also create a video about his/her/its idea (the “Video”). The Video must be 2 minutes or less in length. Cell phone videos are acceptable. The Video should be your “elevator pitch.” In other words, the Video should summarize your idea and explain how it will have a positive social impact on the County. Each Entrant must upload the Video to YouTube (be sure it is not marked “private”) and include the YouTube link as part of the Changemaker Challenge Entry Form.

• No individual may enter the Contest more than once. Each person must choose to be part of a team Entry or an individual Entry, but not both and not more than one of each.

• There must be only one Entry per team; individual team members must not submit separate Entries. All team Entries must identify a team leader who will be the main contact person on behalf of the team.

• No non-profit organization may enter the Contest more than once. All non-profit Entries must identify an individual who will be the main contact person on behalf of the non-profit.

• Each individual participating in this Contest (whether individually or as part of a team) and each non-profit organization acknowledges that he/she/it has read, understands and agrees to be bound by these Official Rules. By submitting an Entry, each individual (whether participating individually or as part of a team) and each non-profit organization warrants that he/she/it has complied with all the requirements set out in these Official Rules. If any individual team member is determined not to be eligible to participate in this Contest, the entire team will be disqualified from winning a prize.

• Only electronic entries will be accepted.

• Submitted entries must be original and must not infringe any copyright or trademark rights or violate any laws.

• Entries that contain obscene, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content will be disqualified in the sole discretion of the Sponsors.


• For the first round of judging, a team from the Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland will evaluate big idea pitches. The big ideas will be evaluated on three criteria: innovation, impact and implementation. Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  1. Innovation – You should demonstrate a compelling need for your idea and explain your idea clearly and concisely;
  2. Impact – You should explain the expected impact of your idea, how you will evaluate success and how your idea may be sustained over time; and
  3. Implementation – You should explain how you plan to implement your idea successfully.

• The judges will select finalists from all eligible Entries. Finalists will be notified by email on or about September 15, 2017. It is important that all Entries include proper working email addresses. Each finalist needs to respond to the email no later than September 20, 2017, to confirm eligibility, including that he/she/it will attend the Event. In the event a finalist has not responded affirmatively by September 20, 2017 despite several attempts, Sponsors reserve the right to pick an alternate finalist.

• All eligible finalists will attend the Event on October 30, 2017, in Howard County, Maryland. Each finalist will be given five (5) minutes to make a presentation about his/her/its idea before a live audience, and a panel of social innovation expert judges. Each finalist will then answer one or two questions posed by the judges. There will be appropriate technology available to use as visual aids.

• At the end of all of the presentations, the judges will confer and will choose three (3) of the finalists as winners.

• The winners will be announced at the Event.


• Each winning Entrant will be presented with a grant in the amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), contingent upon the execution of a grant agreement. The grants must be used to implement the winning ideas in a manner consistent with Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

• The grant funds will only be used for charitable and educational activities consistent with the tax-exempt status described above. It is understood that you and/or your organization will not intervene in any election or support or oppose any political party or candidate for public office, or engage in any lobbying not permitted by IRC Section 501(c)(3) or, if applicable, IRC Sections 501(h) and 4911.

• Each winner will also be provided with project consultation services. These services will include:

  1. Idea Development – Winning Entrants will work with staff members of the Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland to further develop and help implement their winning ideas;
  2. Peer Engagement – The Sponsors will establish a “Changemakers’ Cohort,” which will provide the winning Entrants with an opportunity to meet with each other and share ideas and resources with each other;
  3. Connections in the Community – Sponsors will provide the winning Entrants with connections to funders, partners, the media and others to help develop the winning ideas and help bring the projects to fruition; and
  4. Publicity – Sponsors will work with the winning Entrants on publicity, including helping to create a video and marketing toolkit for each project.

• The value of each prize is up to $35,000, which includes the grant money plus the project consultation services described herein.

• In the event any of the winning Entrants does not accept the prize offered, or any of the winning Entrants fails to return the signed grant agreement and any other required forms as requested by the Sponsors, the Sponsors reserve the right to select an alternate winner or not award the prize.

• The prizes are not transferable, nor are there substitutions or cash redemptions, except at the Sponsor’s discretion if the prizes become unavailable.

Chances of Winning



• The odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received.


• Only the winners and people at the Event who stay to hear the announcement of the winners will be notified of the Contest outcome, but you can check the winners’ list by visiting The winning Entrants will be listed on or about October 31, 2017, and will remain online for at least ninety (90) days. You may also request a winners’ list by sending an email to or via mail to either of the Sponsors at the addresses listed above that are received no later than January 31, 2018.

Other Important Information

• Entrants should not include any confidential or trade secret information in their Entries.

• All Entrants retain their copyright rights in and to the materials they submit.

• Each finalist, including all individuals who enter as part of a team, hereby grants the Sponsors the right to use his/her/its name and likeness in promotional materials relating to the Contest and his/her/its idea.

• The Sponsors will use their best efforts to keep confidential the content of all Entries, except for Entries of the finalists.

• The Sponsors agree not to knowingly fund or use any non-winning idea without the permission of the Entrant of such idea. Notwithstanding, Entrants understand that many grant ideas are similar and acknowledge that it is possible that a Sponsor may fund or use an idea similar to one of the submitted ideas in the future.

• The Sponsors’ and judges’ decisions are final and binding in all matters related to the Contest.

• Entries become the property of the Sponsors and will not be returned.

• The Sponsors are not liable for lost, late, illegible, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, or incorrect Entries.

• No mechanically reproduced Entries or faxes will be accepted.

• All taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners.

• The Sponsors are not responsible for any tampering with this Contest (e.g., hackers, viruses, automated entry devices, and other). The Sponsors reserve the right to terminate or modify the Contest at any time in case of technical failures or other issues outside of their control.

• The Sponsors reserve the right to disqualify anyone who violates these Official Rules.

• The information the Sponsors collect about entrants through this Contest will be used to disseminate communications from the Sponsors. Such Entrant may unsubscribe at any time by following the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email from the Sponsors. All information collected by the Sponsors via this Contest will be governed by the privacy policy located here.

• By entering this Contest, all Entrants (including all individuals if part of a team Entry) agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsors and their officers, directors, employees and agents, from all claims, losses, damages and liabilities arising out of their participation in this Contest, including participation at the Event, and the acceptance of any prize awarded hereunder.

• This Contest shall be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland, without regard to its conflict of law rules. The forum for any dispute shall be in Howard County, Maryland.