United Way of Central Maryland CEO Franklyn Baker, Changemaker Challenge Winner Erin Cassell, Changemaker Challenge Winner Beth Sandbower Harbinson, Changemaker Challenge Winner Danielle Staton and Horizon Foundation CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick

The Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland has named three winners of the 2017 Changemaker Challenge. Each of the winners will receive $10,000 in seed funding and project consultation to launch their ideas. Congratulations to:

Erin Cassell, the owner of Roll Up N Dye tie dye studio in Columbia, won for her idea “Safe and Beautiful Bus Stops.” She proposed a plan to lead the Elkridge community – including artists, students, businesses, volunteers and government agencies – in working together to create safe bus stops decorated with locally made art. Specifically, Cassell would like to focus on a stretch of Route 1 which includes only three shelters for 25 bus stops. She envisions her funding going toward a prototype bus shelter that will demonstrate to Howard County and potential investors how they will make traveling safer and easier for everyone in the community.

Beth Sandbower Harbinson, an experienced nonprofit executive and consultant, won for her idea “SOBAR” – devised from the combination of the words “sober” and bar.” She proposed to create and offer healthy interesting non-alcoholic ​beverages at public social events to decrease pressure to drink for recovering alcoholics. The Changemaker Challenge reception featured the “ginger fizz,” a mixture of ginger beer and coconut milk created by Harbinson.  She plans to jump start the project with an 18-month plan that will include focus groups, establishing a 501(c)(3) and marketing.

Danielle Staton, a first-generation college graduate who attended Atholton High School, won for her idea “College Readiness Communities.” Staton pitched a plan  for a program that would create supportive peer groups of middle and high school students from lower-income backgrounds, with a focus on those working to become the first in their family to graduate from college. By providing guidance and resources on issues such as high school course selection, financial aid and SAT preparation, the program aims to improve academic equity for Howard County students.

Read the full press release.