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.
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.
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.
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,
- 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.
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:
 According to the 2018 Census Data. View more at www.hifmc.org/uneven-opportunities