Sheppard Pratt Launches Community Wellness Hub

Ten nonprofit partners co-locate to service community

In June of 2015, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) embarked on an unexpected seven-year journey.  While sometimes fraught with obstacles, Foundation staff and the Board of Trustees are grateful for the lessons learned and partners who have joined along the way who are now a part of the Sheppard Pratt Community Wellness Hub and the Thriving Germantown Partnership. The Community Wellness Hub was launched on November 1st in Germantown, MD, one of HIF’s priorities communities that has historically been under-invested and experiences one of the lowest life expectancies rates in the county[1].

Germantown zip codes have some of the lowest life expectancies in Montgomery County. Produced in 2018 by the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Center on Society and Health for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Health Officials Committee, ‘Uneven Opportunities’ examines the health of the community at the census tract level, focusing on life expectancy and the factors that shape health.

Since the first meeting at Captain James E. Daly Elementary (Daly) to connect the school and its community with nonprofit services, the Foundation realized that the Germantown region was truly a ‘service desert,’ meaning the population was growing but the availability of quality and comprehensive services were not meeting the community’s needs.  At Daly, children were hungry, thorough vision exams were lacking, behavioral and physical healthcare services were inaccessible, and there was insufficient understanding about trauma-informed practices.  These conversations reinforced that not all communities have equitable access to the essential resources and that our nonprofit services and philanthropic investments were not reaching those who needed them.    

Over the next seven years, HIF hosted and facilitated more than 50 meetings, community conversations, and forums and these discussions with residents, the public sector, funders, nonprofits, school system, and civic organizations guided HIF in the design of Thriving Germantown, the placed-based model that centers investments around trauma -informed, interdisciplinary, multi-sector, and intergenerational service-delivery. It was during the launch and implementation of Thriving Germantown, which was a program of Family Services, Inc. at the time, that HIF and partners realized the necessity for a cost-effective way to bring more organizations to the communities experiencing a lack of resources.  The concept of a nonprofit service hub was born. 

Partners at the Sheppard Pratt Community Well Hub include American Diversity Group, Upper Montgomery County Assistance Network (UMAN), The Upcounty Hub, Healthcare Initiative Foundation, Care for Your Health, EveryMind, Casa Ruben Foundation, Thriving Germantown, Feed the Fridge, and Germantown Global Connections.

This work also allowed the Foundation to reflect on its own practices. Realizing that as an investor, we needed to change our strategy to one that offers greater intentionality and focus—moving from investments that serve all 1.1M Montgomery County community members towards investments that help nonprofits target communities with the greatest disparities.  To this end, HIF is proud to note that since our 2020 investment cycle we have moved from investing 44% in the ten historically underinvested communities to 99% in our 2022 cycle.  

In the coming year, HIF will embark on a strategic planning journey that will guide commitments and priorities moving forward.    Part of this planning will include reinvigorating the intersectoral data collection with Thriving Germantown partners to assess trends and tell the story of our impact; engaging more Thriving Germantown partners and strengthening existing ones; establishing protocols for warm referrals amongst the partners; and creating similar models for other communities throughout Montgomery County.

Leadership from Sheppard Pratt and Healthcare Initiative Foundation are joined by Maryland State Delegates and Montgomery County Executive to officially open the Community Wellness Hub.

The Foundation would like to thank the following leaders, advocates, and partners who helped to make the Community Wellness Hub possible.

  • Maryland State Delegate Kirill Reznik,
  • Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich,
  • Councilmember Craig Rice
  • Montgomery County Council,
  • Nora Dietz, formal Principal of Captain James E. Daly Elementary,
  • Mike Knapp, Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF), Board of Trustee,
  • HIF Board of Trustees,
  • Mike Ginsberg with the Germantown Coalition,
  • Marilyn Balcombe, Gaithersburg Germantown Chamber of Commerce,
  •  Sue Myers, Independent Consultant,
  • Cathy Matthews, former UpCounty Regional Services Center Director & Greg Wims, Director, UpCounty Regional Services Center
  • Kylie McCleaf, former CEO & President of Family Services – Sheppard Pratt
  • Scott Rose, Scott Birdsong, Angelo Knox, & Karla Hoffman, Sheppard Pratt,
  • Mark Luckner, Maryland Community Health Resources Commission,
  • Adam Luecking, Clear Impact,
  • Kim Jones, former Executive Director of the Nonprofit Village,
  • Pamela Jones, former Executive Director of Crittenton Services of Greater Washington,
  • Kaiser Permanente,
  • Mead Family Foundation,
  • MCAEL,
  • Cafritz Foundation
  • Children’s Opportunity Alliance (formerly Children’s Opportunity Fund),
  • The Community Foundation of Montgomery County,  
  • Holy Cross Hospital,
  • Washington Regional Area Grantmakers and the Healthy Communities Working Group,
  • Montgomery County Public School System, and
  • Thriving Germantown Partnering Nonprofits.

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To learn more about the launch of the Community Wellness Hub at Sheppard Pratt, visit their website for the press release.  To view the grantmaking priorities of Healthcare Initiative Foundation, click here

Pictures from the November 1, 2022 ribbon cutting can be found:

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[1] According to the 2018 Census Data.  View more at www.hifmc.org/uneven-opportunities

Building Nonprofit Capacity Recordings

Workshop Recordings Now Available

If you were unable to join the two-part virtual workshop series hosted June 14 and 16 or wanted to re-watch the sessions to recapture the information shared, the recordings are now available.

To view the June 14th session featuring Maryland Nonprofits and Nonprofit Montgomery, click here. Maryland Nonprofits has also made available their PowerPoint Presentation here.

The June 16th session featuring Institute for Public Health Innovation, Montgomery County Food Council, and Montgomery County Volunteer Center will be posted shortly.

FY22 Nonprofit Forum

FY22 Nonprofit Forum – Recording Available

If you were not able to attend HIF’s October 4 Nonprofit Forum, the recording is now available. If you have questions about the forum, please reach out to an HIF Team Member.

To view the recording of the October 4 forum, click here.

A sincere thank you to the community and grant partners who attended and offered candid feedback. Thank you to MCAEL, Crittenton Services, CaringMatters, and Manna Food Center for taking time to help HIF facilitate the breakout sessions during the forum!

To view the PDF of the PowerPoint presentation, click here.

Registration is now open for HIF’s annual grantee training on October 26th from 10-11am. To register, click here.

Food Provider Grantees Announced

Montgomery County awarded $1,126,100 in grants to twenty-eight nonprofits to build additional capacity for their food assistance programs

For a second grant round, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation partnered with Montgomery County HHS, the Montgomery County Food Council, and the Greater Washington Community Foundation to provide nonprofit food assistance providers with funding to support their programmatic operations. Montgomery County issued their press release announcing all twenty-eight grantees on Monday, August 17th. The full release is available below.

For Immediate Release: Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

“Montgomery County has awarded $1,126,100 to 28 local food assistance providers to improve their infrastructure and expand their capacity to provide food access to hard-to-reach communities in Montgomery County during the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This program was funded by the Federal CARES Act as appropriated by the County Executive and Montgomery County Council, the Community Food Rescue mini-grants program, and the newly launched Food Security Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

The COVID-19 Emergency Food Assistance Provider Capacity Building Grant is a partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Montgomery County Food Council (MCFC), the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF), and the Greater Washington Community Foundation (The Community Foundation). The County’s Food Security Task Force, formed by the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), reviewed and determined all grant awards. The HIF and The Community Foundation are the fiscal agents for the program and will award the money.

These grant awards will support community nonprofit purchases of refrigerators and freezers, shelving and space enhancements, vehicles, forklifts, hand trucks, computers and software, as well as repairs to existing infrastructure. Funded investments will directly expand these organizations’ ability to store and transport larger quantities of shelf-stable and cold-stored food and are estimated to increase community-wide capacity for food assistance distribution and delivery to over 31,000 households.

“I am proud to be part of a community where our nonprofit and faith-based organizations work tirelessly to ensure our residents have access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food, especially during this national pandemic,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Providing funding to help these organizations improve their infrastructure and increase their capacity to feed more residents is money well spent.”

Special consideration was given to organizations who formed partnerships to better serve the community and provide culturally diverse food access services. Despite funding limitations more than half of the applications were awarded full or partial funding. As the County’s food security response to the pandemic continues, it is anticipated that additional funds will be made available to further support initiatives that address the significant food security needs of our community.

“Food insecurity is currently being experienced by more residents in our community than ever before,” said County Council President Sidney Katz. “So many of our neighbors are feeling the instability caused by the health crisis in so many ways. It is incumbent upon us to provide culturally appropriate food to those in need and these funds will do just that. I want to thank all of the nonprofit and faith-based organizations who are forging partnerships to reach out to the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Nonprofit organizations were eligible to apply for up to $85,000. The organizations receiving grants, ranging from $1,075 to $85,000, are:

Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington, Inc.

American Diversity Group

Bethesda Cares

Caribbean Help Center, Inc

Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, Inc.

Clifton Park Baptist Church

Damascus HELP Inc.

Guru Gobind Singh Foundation

Indonesian American Association

Islamic Center of Maryland

Kingdom Fellowship African Methodist Episcopal Church

Kings & Priests Court International Ministries Inc.

Liberty Grove United Methodist Church

Manna Food Center

Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park and Silver Spring

Montgomery County Muslim Foundation

Nourish Now Inc

Rainbow Community Development Center

Shepherd’s Table

Small Things Matter

So What Else, Inc.

Southern Bethany Baptist Church

Camillus Church Food Pantry

The Living Legends Awards for Service to Humanity

The Salvation Army

Up 2 Us Foundation

Vietnamese Americans Services, Inc.

Women Who Care Ministries

DHHS, along with Montgomery County Public Schools, MCFC, and a network of over 110 local food assistance providers and community partners have been working during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the dramatically increased need for food assistance across the county. To address food insecurity and plan for a greater need, OEMHS created the Food Security Task Force, made up of County staff, community partners and food assistance recipients to create and implement a comprehensive and innovative Food Security Response Strategy.

Montgomery County Government recently partnered with The Community Foundation to launch the Food Security Fund to galvanize private sector and individual support of food access initiatives in the County in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Visit the Food Security Fund website to learn more and contribute. 

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD”

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Media Contact: Mark Hodge, mark.hodge@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Food Access Grant Awards Announced

text of News Release


Montgomery County Food Access Grants Awarded to 38 Community Organizations

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

       Montgomery County awarded 38 food assistance grants to community groups providing food assistance to vulnerable residents and families in the county.  A total of $1.2 million was appropriated to increase food access during the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-profit organizations were eligible for up to $75,000.  A portion of the funds will be used for partnerships with ethnic grocery stores to increase the availability of culturally appropriate food assistance, as well as deliver hot meals to residents and purchasing food from local kosher markets to distribute to seniors.

       “The need for food assistance has grown dramatically because of this pandemic, and I am appreciative of the work with many of our community partners to get food to our residents as best as possible,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.  “We will continue our work together to address the needs of our residents during this difficult time.” 

       “The economic hardships experienced by countless Montgomery County residents as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have created ever-increasing and sustained demands on food banks, nonprofit providers and community service partners providing food assistance,” said Council President Sidney Katz. “We are deeply grateful for our community partners and their ongoing efforts to combat food insecurity during this extremely challenging time. The Council is committed to providing the resources necessary to assist in these essential efforts across our community.”

       The organizations receiving grants, ranging from nearly $7,000 to $60,000, are:

  • Adventist Community Services
  • AHC, Inc.
  • American Diversity Group
  • American Muslim Senior Society
  • Bethel World
  • CASA
  • Catholic Charities
  • Chinese Cultural and Community Center
  • Direct Support for Immigrants
  • Gaithersburg HELP
  • Germantown Black Rock Hub
  • Goshen United Methodist Church
  • Help for Life Foundation
  • Hindu American Community Services
  • Hughes United Methodist Church
  • Humanity First USA
  • Indonesian American Association
  • International Cultural Athletic Association
  • Islamic Center of Maryland
  • Islamic Community Center of Potomac
  • Jewish Council for the Aging
  • Kingdom Fellowship AME Church
  • Kings and Priests Courts International Ministries
  • Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington
  • Latin American Youth Center
  • Manna Food Center
  • Nourish Now
  • Rainbow CDC
  • Salvation Army
  • Shepherd’s Table
  • Silver Spring Christian Reformed Church
  • So What Else
  • The Living Legends Awards for Service to Humanity
  • Up2Us Foundation
  • Vietnamese Americans Services
  • Washington Youth Foundation
  • Women Who Care Ministries
  • YMCA Youth & Family Services

       The COVID-19 Emergency Food Access Grant is a partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Montgomery County Food Council (MCFC) and the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF). The County’s Food Security Task Force, recently formed by the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), reviewed and determined all grant awards. The HIF is the fiscal agent for the program and will award the money.

       DHHS, along with Montgomery County Public Schools, the MCFC and local food assistance providers have been working during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the increasing need for food assistance across the county. To address food insecurity and plan for a greater need, OEMHS created the Food Security Task Force, made up of county staff, community partners and food assistance recipients. A strategic plan to address food insecurity and priorities for future food assistance spending is being developed.

       For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

       Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD

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Media Contact:  Mary Anderson, mary.anderson@montgomerycountymd.gov

Zip Code Ranking Project 2018

Late in 2018, Montgomery County released their Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed report. According to the Montgomery County press release from November 2018:


“The purpose of this data is to build an equitable response to improving outcomes for all county residents.  We need to improve health and quality of life outcomes for everyone and demonstrate a tracking mechanism that will help us evaluate how our budget, policy and practice are improving outcomes for all residents.  Our goal is to utilize the data to inform our approaches in prevention, promotion, policy, practice, and planning for existing and new health programs that work to meet the public health needs of Montgomery County.” 

Dr. Travis Gayles, Montgomery County Health Officer

To view the report, click here. To view the Montgomery County November 2018 press release, click here.