BlackRock Hub Gets Recognition

When a community comes together with innovative solutions for complex problems amazing things can happen! Montgomery County created a video highlighting the work being done at the Upcounty Consolidation Hub. View the video here.

The team of community leaders including HIF’s President & CEO, BlackRock Center for the Arts Executive Director, County Executive Marc Elrich, and Grace Rivera-Oven.

When COVID closures started in March 2020, BlackRock Center for the Arts converted from a performance and event venue into a community consolidation hub providing meals, groceries, COVID relief kits, diapers, and more to residents living Upcounty. Healthcare Initiative Foundation is one of the proud investors of this forward-thinking work. This piece, created by Montgomery County Council Media, highlights all the pieces and partners that have to come together each and every day to provide cohesive services to our community.

To learn more about the hub, what items and donations are needed, or if you need to inquire about receiving assistance, visit the BlackRock website.

COVID-19 Food Access Grant Now Open

Second Round of Funding Open Through Aug 3

The Montgomery County COVID-19 Food Assistance Capacity Building Grant opened at 12pm EST on Monday July 20th. To access the grant in HIF’s online portal, click here and search for ‘COVID-19 Food Assistance Capacity Building Application.’ 

This opportunity 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).  All grant decisions will be made by the Food Security Task Force’s review committee. HIF is the fiscal agent for the program and will award the money.

The $1 million in funding for the program comes from the federal CARES Act funding and was appropriated by the County Executive and Montgomery County Council to increase food access to county residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eligible Montgomery County nonprofits can apply for up to $85,000 for increasing organizational capacity to store, distribute and deliver shelf stable, frozen, or refrigerated grocery items and/or meals. Applications open Monday, July 20th, 2020 and close Monday, August 3rd and 12 pm EST.

Questions regarding the application process or access to the grant portal can be directed to

Information pertaining to the Phase 1 (May 2020) grant recipients can be found here.

Maryland Releases Recommendations for Nonprofits

On May 13th, Governor Hogan released his updated Roadmap to Recovery Plan and the initiation of Phase I and the release of the Stay at Home order.

As a part of Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery, Governor Hogan launched a Nonprofit Advisory group through the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives to get valuable ongoing input during the recovery from religious groups and nonprofit organizations. HIF’s President and CEO, Crystal Townsend, was honored to be a part of this Advisory Workgroup.

To view the recommendations put forward by the Nonprofit Advisory Workgroup click here. This document does not have any authority and these are suggested recommendations, a synthesis of the work group’s discussions, for the Governor’s consideration. Every jurisdiction may add additional restrictions or guidelines recognizing the different conditions in areas throughout the state and that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate.

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,

COVID-19 Resource Websites

In times like this when we are faced with so much uncertainty, it is important to have access to quality information and resources. We wanted to share with you government resources that have pages dedicated to providing up to date information related to COVID-19 cases, closures, and precautions.

The State of Maryland :

Montgomery County, Maryland:

Montgomery County Constituent Resources (Councilmember Craig Rice):

Montgomery County Public Schools:

Nonprofit Montgomery:

Maryland Health Connection (extended enrollment from March 16 2020 to April 15 2020):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Power based Violence Resources:

Food Resource Listings

Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services has created a web page dedicated to County Food Resources. Links include MCPS Meal Distribution sites, an interactive food resource map prepared by the Montgomery County Food Council. food access resources for Seniors, and more.

To view the link the County’s website, click here.

Interactive Food Resource Map

Interactive food map that can search food resources by organization name or by proximity to a given address. Map courtesy of Montgomery County Food Council. Direct link by clicking on the map.

Gender Based Violence Resources

COVID-19 Gender Based Violence Resources

This resource list is a starting point for foundations interested in expanding their learning around those most impacted by COVID. There are many local and national resources available, as well as culturally specific information and responses. This list was compiled by the Weissberg Foundation.

General Resources

Safety Planning

Digital Safety and Security

  • National Network to End Domestic Violence best practices for mobile advocacy
  • National Network to End Domestic Violence using technology to communicate with survivors during a public health crisis

Culturally Responsive and Specific Resources


  • COVID-19 fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC folks
  • National Resource Center on Reaching Victims COVID-19 webinars and listening sessions
  • COVID-19 resource kit, which includes a compilation of resources from disabled, queer, elderly, Asian, and indigenous people and US-based mutual aid projects

Aging, Disability, and Deaf Communities

Immigrants and Undocumented Folks

Indigenous Persons

LGBTQ Community

  • National Center for Trans Equity COVID-19 guide to what trans people need to know


Location-Specific Resources

District of Columbia



This list developed by:

BlackRock Leads Upcounty Distribution Site


Dear Community Partner,  

Thank you for participating in the discussion about the creation of an UpCounty Distribution Hub for Community Needs at BlackRock Center for the Arts (BlackRock). We are grateful for everyone’s work toward meeting the needs of so many people in upper Montgomery County who are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we can create greater access to essential items for individuals, children, families and seniors whose needs are not fully met by the current system in the UpCounty region.  

BlackRock will serve as the distribution hub for donated essential goods such as packaged food, diapers (infant and adult), health care kits, toilet paper, and paper towels. We already received the first donation of food from Nourish Now and The David and Mikel Blair Foundation which will be delivered to families this week. This week only, we are also looking for donations of Easter candy (individually wrapped, nut free) to fill donated baskets that will be given to 300 local children for Saturday’s distribution.  

In order to achieve our vision of serving upper Montgomery County as an essential distribution hub, we are recruiting additional partners to join us, The David and Mikel Blair Family Foundation, Healthcare Initiative Foundation, Latino Health Initiative, and Nourish Now to:

-Consolidate and repackage donated goods for community distribution pick-up in BlackRock’s parking lot:
-Large deliveries to communities such as Clopper Mill Elementary School and
Waters Landing
-Home delivery distributions to vulnerable and/or homebound populations  

Trucks or vans provided by community partners will be used for large deliveries.

Volunteers’ vehicles and ride share services (Lyft, Uber) will be used for smaller deliveries.   BlackRock is centrally located in Germantown Town Center and next to the public library. We have a large parking lot behind our building and there is free on street parking in front of our building. We also have several exterior entrances into spaces that will be used to consolidate, repackage and pick-up donations. The distribution center and scheduling will be managed by BlackRock’s Operations Director who will ensure safe social distancing practices are always in place, as well as oversee the county’s cleaning services, and all other onsite services, as required. Donated items can be dropped off at the BlackRock from Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

We know that many of you offer specific services, such as specializing in case management, volunteer meal delivery, food recovery and distribution, snack packs, and distribution of large donations. If you are able to participate in our partnership, please complete this form. Please indicate on the form any type of tracking you may need, so that we can ensure you have the data that you need for reporting purposes.  

We are in this together and through collaborative partnership, we can meet the needs of the upper Montgomery County community. If you are not able to participate at this time or if you have any questions, please let me know.   Stay healthy and safe,  

Lynn Andreas Arndt
Chief Executive Officer, BlackRock Center for the Arts
12901 Town Commons Drive Germantown, MD 20874

Business Leaders Fighting Hunger Address COVID-19


March 27, 2020


Shondra Jenkins, 240-654-7043,


Grants will support Manna, Identity, Universities at Shady Grove, and Five Additional Nonprofits. Coalitions requests matching dollars from local businesses to feed more people.

Montgomery County, MD – Business Leaders Fighting Hunger, Montgomery County’s private sector coalition committed to ending hunger for the 60,000 food insecure people in the county, today announced emergency support to eight organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants total $50,000, but will likely yield far more dollars due to the dollar-to-dollar match that was requested by Business Leaders.

The primary recipients, including Manna Food Center, Identity, and the Universities at Shady Grove, serve diverse populations across the county. Each assist low-income families and underserved youth under normal circumstances, but report that COVID-19 has created an unforeseen urgency that needs to be addressed.

Additional support is also being provided to five other organizations whose mission is to fight poverty in Montgomery County, MD. They are: Gaithersburg HELP, Meals on Wheels, Nourish Now, Rainbow Community Development Center, and Shepherd’s Table.

“Our low-income neighbors are facing an unprecedented double whammy,” said Andy Burness, co-founder of Business Leaders Fighting Hunger and president of Burness, a public interest communications firm that operates out of Bethesda. “Too many struggle on a daily basis in the best of times. Now, COVID-19 is putting people out of work, with no obvious prospect for better days any time soon. These people need to eat, and we wanted to act now.”

“Business Leaders’ support is a start,” Burness said. “It will make a difference for hundreds of families and children in the county. But, we need corporate leaders to join us, donating to these organizations or to any others that are on the front lines serving people who are really suffering now.”

Business Leaders Fighting Hunger is a group of Montgomery County businesses committed to reducing the number of food insecure residents in the county by making strategic investments in programs that tackle the root causes of hunger. The coalition was co-founded by Sodexo and Burness. Supporting businesses include Atlantic Electric Supply Corp,  Bass Accounting & Tax Services, Belikove and Graves, Bendler & Company, Bethesda Magazine, Clark Construction, David R. and Deborah S. Lambert Charitable Trust, Golden & Cohen, and SmithPilot.

The coalition intends to engage many more businesses. Interested companies or individuals should contact Shondra Jenkins, co-founder and former director of Sodexo’s foundation here in Montgomery County. Her email is, and she can be reached by phone at 240-654-7043. To view a PDF of the press release, click here.


Community Foundation RFP

The Greater Washington Community Foundation has opened an RPF for their COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. To view the RFP or to learn more, click here.

” The Community Foundation, in collaboration with regional partners, has established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support emergency preparedness and response efforts that will help mitigate the impact on disproportionately affected communities in our region. Through this fund, we are focused on addressing lost wages, relief for small business and gig economy workers, expanding access to medical services, and meeting the unique needs of people experiencing homelessness, among other needs.”