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

FY23 Small Grant Recipients

FY23 Small Grant Partners

Through the Foundation’s FY23 Small Grant cycle, $60,000 was invested in #14 nonprofit partners serving a variety of sectors throughout Montgomery County.
42% of funding is going towards serving Youth and Families, 40% to Behavioral Health services, 7% to Workforce, 6% to the LGBT+ community, and 5% to those with Differing Abilities**. Our partners estimate that through the next year that more than #6700 community members will be served.
To learn more about our grantmaking priorities, click here.
**These percentages represent an overlap in funding categories.

Manna Building Advanced Purchasing Pilot

In Spring 2022, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) team began to hear about the hardships local food providers were having in their efforts to obtain fresh produce.  During the height of the pandemic response, federal COVID-19 Emergency Response dollars increased purchases and access to fresh and healthy produce.  In 2022, these dollars came to a halt and so did the access to fresh fruits and vegetables that local food partners had come to rely on.  Partners were forced to travel throughout the DC Metro Region to access healthy and nutritious produce. 

After months of discussions and learning tours with County government and local food leaders, the Foundation had a better understanding of the need. Crystal Townsend, President and CEO of Healthcare Initiative Foundation explains, “Food security is a social determinant of health and unequal access to healthy, culturally important, and affordable foods contributes to the health inequities and disparate health outcomes we see in our County. A new approach is needed to help build a sustainable health promoting local food system. HIF’s investment through this innovative contract growing pilot will encourage Montgomery County farmers to grow culturally important, farm-to-table crops creating a local solution to address our County’s food insecurity needs.”      

To develop and lead this proof-of-concept model, HIF has awarded $50,000 to Manna Food Center (Manna). While this pilot is a forward-thinking first step, it is being built using the proven Farm to Food Bank model that is led by Manna.  Farm to Food Bank was launched in 2010 to partner with local farms, orchards, and farmers markets to purchase local produce at a cost that is beneficial to both the farmers and partners and then distribute those nutrient-dense foods to people experiencing food insecurity through local food providers. Manna’s CEO, Jackie DeCarlo, elaborates, “HIF’s investment will allow Manna to test the ability of contract growing arrangements with Montgomery County-based farms to increase the amount of highly sought after and health-promoting foods that are available for the Hubs and other food assistance providers to share with community members experiencing food insecurity.  In addition to supporting the short-term necessity for additional produce for County residents, this financial support of the contract-growing model and enhancement to Manna’s Farm to Food Bank program addresses the ever-increasing need to support the local Montgomery County agricultural economy in order to realize Manna’s vision of Food for All.”

This 16-week pilot, built around the growing season, will partner with two Montgomery County farms – Lewis Orchards (Dickerson) and Farm at Our House (Brookeville) – that will provide produce to two consolidation hubs that have been underserved – Gaithersburg CARES Hub at Seneca Creek and the East County Hub at Kingdom Fellowship.  In this advanced purchasing model, the two hubs, through Manna, will place their order for specific produce (in pounds) at the beginning of the growing season (February 2023).  The $50,000 in funding from HIF ensures that these two partner hubs and 1700 members of their communities receive a specific amount of culturally-appropriate produce.

To learn more about this pilot project, please reach out to the team at HIF for more information. On May 23, 2023, Manna Food Center and the Farm to Food Bank project were highlighted in The Washington Post. The work of this proof-of-concept model was featured. Click here to view the article.

Capacity Award Recipients for 2023

On February 21st, the HIF Board of Directors awarded more than $500k in grant dollars to #22 Montgomery County-serving nonprofits.  These grant dollars are focused on ensuring that all members of Montgomery County receive high-quality, comprehensive, and equitable health and wellness services in the communities where they live.   

Due to the vast need in our community, the Board of Trustees was committed now so more than ever to investments that built collaboration and cross-sectoral coordination within the Foundation’s strategic priority areas to have the greatest community impact.  This year, more than 80% of the awarded grant dollars will be supporting the historically under-served zip codes in the county.  

More than $176K is being invested in healthcare access and navigation services to mitigate the health disparities in our community. WUMCO Help and American Red Cross are expanding services and care to historically underserved communities. JSSA, CaringMatters, Family Services’ Thriving Germantown program, and CCACC are providing care navigation resources for seniors, families, and patients managing cancer treatments and chronic diseases. Jewish Council for the Aging is bringing their Kensington Club model to Germantown for the first time ever, expanding vital services for our aging population. 

$98K will support specialty care services in Montgomery County.  Both American Diversity Group and the Maryland Foundation of Dentistry will be providing free dental services to those who would otherwise not be able to access or afford this specialty care service.  Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and Prevention of Blindness Society will continue their efforts to ensure that students within the 27 Community Schools in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are provided eye exams following their Department of Health and Human Services screenings.  Students who require them receive two free prescription eyeglasses. We know from longitudinal research that this successful health intervention has a tremendous impact on a child’s confidence and academic success and the Foundation is excited to move this project to scale.

Knowing the critical demand for behavioral and mental health services in our community, particularly for our youth, HIF is dedicating $85K to #4 nonprofit partners focusing on mental health and wellness.  Community Bridges, Crittenton Services, and Our Minds Matter will continue their work engaging MCPS youth to build their wellness and resiliency.  Warrior Canine Connection, and their partnership with The Cohen Veterans Clinic at Easter Seals, will impact the military and veteran community using their Mission Based Trauma Recovery model and service dogs.  In conjunction with the $85K in this cycle, in July 2022, HIF awarded $75k to Identity, Inc. to develop a proof-of-concept pilot—Trauma-Informed Eco-System—at Magruder and Seneca Valley High Schools. 

$70K will be supporting #4 nonprofits to address food insecurity in the County – AfriThrive, American Muslim Senior Society, Yad Yehuda of Greater Washington, and Community FarmShare. These investments will increase access to culturally important healthy, affordable, and nutritious meals.  HIF recognizes food insecurity as a social determinant of health that impacts our community’s health outcomes.  It is critical that these awards closely align with existing systems in the County, centered around meeting the needs of our diverse community, and scaled the work of the Foundation’s existing food partners.  In the last 5 months, HIF has also awarded a combined $85k to Nourish Now and Manna Food Center to address access to food items post-federal COVID recovery aid and to scale access to fresh and local produce to community-based organizations and the food distribution hubs.   

Lastly, to address the need for a qualified healthcare workforce, HIF will award $75K to AsylumWorks, Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park, and EveryMind to provide paid internships and fellowship opportunities to HIF social work student scholars.  These partnerships will concurrently support the social work workforce pipeline, connect scholars to nonprofits and potential employers, and scale the availability of behavioral health services to our community members. When you include the $1M 5-year installment to The Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery College, the FY23 total Healthcare Workforce investment is $275K.

The HIF Board of Trustees and staff are immensely proud of the work being done each day by our partners.  We know we cannot fund every application that comes to us, but we appreciate all the time and energy that went into each thoughtful project.  The HIF team welcomes conversations throughout the year to talk about the Foundation’s strategic priorities and grant award guidelines.  Parties can reach out to Jess Fuchs, Director of Grants and Community Impact, to learn more.