HIF Awards $1.116M to Grant Partners

On February 28, the HIF Board of Trustees awarded $1.116M to 29 nonprofit partners serving Montgomery County with the potential to impact more than 130,000 residents. The grant investments continue the Healthcare Initiative Foundation’s (HIF) longstanding commitment to advance the health and wellness in our community by increasing access to quality and comprehensive healthcare and health programming.

FY24 Capacity Building Scope

The FY24 Capacity Building portfolio marks the first capacity building cycle awarded through the lens of the Foundation’s 2023 Strategic Plan that was launched in July 2023.  While maintaining the integrity of the work of the last fifty years of Healthcare Initiative Foundation, the 2023 Strategic Plan focused the vision and mission into three robust strategic goals: To support affordable, integrated, culturally responsive health and wellness systems across the lifespan; To support Comprehensive behavioral health services across the lifespan; and To increase effectiveness of and improve accessibility to health, wellness, and social services, the Foundation supports convenings and collaborations amongst stakeholders that improve and integrate services.

Strategic Priority 1: Health and Wellness

The Board of Trustees awarded $829K to twenty nonprofits.  These nonprofits will address food insecurity, placed-based dental and vision care, culturally-appropriate physical healthcare, health service navigation, and healthcare workforce programming.  Key to the impact of these investments is ensuring the connectedness and integration of the programs across partners. A wonderful example of addressing the cross-sectoral approach to systemic solutions is the investment of $142K to address food insecurity.  HIF awarded Community FarmShare, AfriThrive, and Mid-County United Ministries to increase access to healthy, locally-grown produce as a means of using ‘food as medicine.’

Strategic Priority 2: Behavioral Health

Knowing the critical situation facing the mental wellness of our community, nine nonprofits were awarded $262K to provide services to more than 2,100 residents.  Six of the nine programs will lean in to provide essential resources and programs to the youth and adolescents in the County through existing and new partnerships. In addition to the direct program support investments, the Foundation awarded EveryMind a grant to address the troubling issue of the lack of mental health professionals trained to provide on-the-ground support. This forward-thinking program will provide paid internships to three social service students who will be placed within MCPS schools and at the Sheppard Pratt Community Wellness Hub in Germantown.  Offering paid internships works to address the hurdle of professionals coming into this field requiring a livable income while simultaneously completing arduous practicums. 

Strategic Priority 3: Convenings and Collaboration

New to this year’s Strategic Goal Priorities is the intentional investment in convenings and collaborations that increase the effectiveness and accessibility to health and wellness programs throughout the county. HIF fully recognizes that substantial and valuable programs require connectivity and coalition-building for innovation to bloom.  Through this goal, HIF awarded Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park/Silver Spring with grant dollars to allow for the development of a community meeting place for nonprofits to come together in the down county region. 

HIF’s Commitment to Priority Zip Codes

Healthcare Initiative Foundation is immensely proud of the commitment of the Board of Trustees and staff to ensure that historically-underinvested communities throughout Montgomery County are receiving placed-based, culturally-competent programming. In the Foundation’s FY21 Capacity cycle, applicants were asked to identify, as best they could, how their HIF-requested dollars would be distributed throughout the county’s zip codes, with priority towards those zip codes with the lowest life expectancy. 

This commitment enlightened HIF’s grantmaking and provided insight into the communities impacted the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This grant cycle, 85% of grant requested dollars were going to support high-impact zip codes. 

To learn more about HIF’s grantmaking guidelines or grant calendars, visit www.hifmc.org or contact Elissa Schwartz, HIF’s Director of Grants and Community Impact.

Advanced Purchasing Pilot Continues

Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) is pleased to announce its second-year investment in Manna Food Center’s (Manna) Advanced Purchasing Pilot. Through the Foundation’s FY24 Emerging Needs portfolio, Manna will receive $47,500 to continue this innovative project. In FY23, $50,000 was invested to bring culturally-important fresh produce to historically under-invested communities which were in dire need of fresh, healthy produce. This proof-of-concept investment was a response to the Foundation engaging with community partners throughout 2022 about food insecurity issues related to the lack of fresh produce coming into Montgomery County after COVID emergency funds expired.

The Advanced Purchasing Pilot is molded by the highly successful Farm to Food Bank model. This pilot is designed to be mutually beneficial and sustainable for both the community and local farmers: food providers get culturally-important produce for their residents, farmers get paid a fair rate in advance for their goods and services, and community members receive healthy, farm-to-table produce!

The Gaithersburg C.A.R.E Hub receives produce made available through the FY23 Emerging Needs Advanced Pilot Purchasing grant from HIF.

Manna’s initial 16-week pilot project in the spring and summer of 2023 was a remarkable success. 1,100 residents received more than 18,000 pounds of fresh produce from two local farms! The Gaithersburg C.A.R.E Hub partnered with Farm at Our House (Brookville) to receive more than 8,000 pounds of produce, a 3,924% increase from the previous year. Lewis Orchards (Germantown) provided 10,650 pounds of produce to Kingdom Fellowship AME Church, more than exceeding the Farm to Food Bank goal for this partnership.

The FY24 funding will connect three Montgomery County-based farms (Dodo Farms, Sandy Spring Gardens, and One Acre Farm) with three food provider partners (Clifton Park Hub, AfriThrive, and The Upcounty Hub). Over the course of 4 to 6 months, more than 20,000 pounds of fresh produce will be delivered.

According to Manna, “The success of this pilot [in 2023] created a blueprint for replication in year two [2024]. Our intent is to conduct a contract growing project with farms that have different characteristics, such as smaller acreage and disparate labor force in order to see how well the model adapts to farms of differing capacities.”

This project falls under the Foundation’s Food Security Initiatives. For more information on this project or the work of our other grantees, please reach out to HIF’s Director of Grants and Community Impact, Elissa [email protected].

2023 Strategic Plan Recording

On July 27, the Healthcare Initiative Team hosted a virtual meeting to launch the Foundation’s 2023 Strategic Plan.  For those who were unable to attend, the session was recorded.  To learn more about the Foundation’s 2023 Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals, click here

The recording is also available on the HIF YouTube page here.  If you have questions about the 2023 Strategic Plan and our Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals, please reach out to a member of the HIF team