October 15, 2020

Media Contact:

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, County Executive Calvin Ball announced $1.5 million in Rise to the Challenge grants to 40 Howard County nonprofits. The Rise to the Challenge grants are funded through the CARES Act. Ball presented grants to 16 of the nonprofits that provide human services during an event this morning and will distribute the additional grants throughout the coming weeks. Photos of the event can be found here.

“Howard County’s vibrant nonprofit organizations continue to give me hope – they show us every day that if we work together, we can tackle any obstacle. For many of the nonprofit organizations that provide vital services to our community, COVID has depleted their ability to fundraise – and forced needed in-person services online or to the sidelines,” said Ball. “Nonprofit staff and their organizations are known for being able to stretch every dollar and make it count – even in the best economic times. However, in times like these, when we are asking them, counting on them to do more with less, they need our help too. And that’s why we’re here today, to recognize these innovative non-profits who provide jobs, value, and support to our community, and ensure that they too are able to survive.”

This latest round of grants builds upon significant relief funding for many business sectors in Howard County. Through the HoCo RISE Business Grant program, County Executive Ball provided 650 grants totaling $1.6 million to locally-owned small retailers, provided grants to 45 local farms, and granted 148 restaurants more than $370,000. The business grants also supported 20 local hotels and provided $610,000 to 244 local childcare establishments. Additionally, $750,000 was granted to the Howard County arts community and live venues.

The Rise to the Challenge grant recipients are:

  • A-OK Mentoring
  • Arc of Howard County
  • Autism Society
  • Bridges to Housing Stability
  • Bright Minds
  • Camp Attaway
  • Candlelight Concert Society
  • Columbia Community Care
  • Columbia Orchestra
  • Community Action Council
  • Community Ecology Institute
  • Community Foundation of HoCo
  • Downtown Columbia Arts
  • EcoWorks
  • Ellicott City Partnership
  • Feed Howard County
  • FIRN
  • Free Bikes 4 Kidz Maryland
  • Grassroots
  • Health Tech Alley
  • Howard County Arts Council
  • Howard County Chinese School
  • Howard County Conservancy
  • Howard County Library System
  • Humanim
  • Just Living Advocacy
  • Kindness Pantry
  • Korean American Senior Association
  • My Covenant Place
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • Neighbor Ride
  • Oakland Mills Online
  • Pearl Foundation
  • Power 52
  • Rebuilding Together HoCo
  • Sobar
  • Tau Pi Foundation
  • Voices for Children
  • VolunTeens
  • Way Station, part of Sheppard Pratt

"Ensuring the overall wellbeing of the developmentally disabled individuals we support and the staff that provide their direct care is paramount to our organization,” Cindy Parr, Executive Director for The Arc of Howard County said. “The Rise to The Challenge grant award will play a critical role in helping us continue to acquire necessary items (PPE, sanitization supplies and equipment) we need each day to properly care for this at-risk population and protect our staff as we navigate these challenging times."

“Bridges to Housing Stability is honored to have been chosen to receive one of the Rise to the Challenge grants,” said Jen Broderick, executive Director of Bridges to Housing Stability. “This funding will allow Bridges to make needed safety changes and upgrades resulting in housing and eviction prevention services for more Howard County households at this critical time.”

“Because of the pandemic, families who have a child with special needs have lost vital outside supports that they relied on to keep their head above water,” said Sue Ann Shafley, Executive Director of Camp Attaway. “Research shows that the negative effects people feel as a result of the pandemic will continue to necessitate additional mental health services and enhanced supports to keep families healthy, not just during the acute phase of the pandemic but also post pandemic. By recognizing this reality and implementing programs that directly support the mental health of our most vulnerable segments of Howard County’s population, the County is being proactive in funding innovative programs and services that will mitigate the long-term effect of COVID on its high-risk residents. Camp Attaway, which provides a therapeutic summer camp for children with complex emotional and behavioral disorders as well as family education and support groups, is grateful to Dr. Calvin Ball, Angela Cabellon, and the County for assisting local nonprofits that are on the front lines and are providing critical services to meet the needs of Howard County residents caused by COVID.”

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to be able to continue the important work of Columbia Community Care,” said Erika Strauss Chavarria, Founder of Columbia Community Cares. “We are committed to uplifting and supporting our families in Howard County who are affected by systemic injustices exacerbated by the Covid crisis. Thank you.”

“The pandemic has transformed the centuries-old, chalk–talk teaching model to one driven by technology,” said Bita Dayhoff, President of the Community Action Council (CAC) of Howard County. “This funding allows CAC to use technology and bring the classroom into the living room of hundreds of children from low-income families and create access to high quality early childhood education experience. We are thankful to the County Executive Ball and his administration for their visionary outlook and for creating a culture that embraces innovation and creativity in serving its people.”

“While innovation is always sought, it is never more crucial than in tough times,” said Mike Mitchell, CEO of the Foreign-Born Information Referral Network. “We know this as we’ve witnessed the innovation of the people we serve as they’ve faced COVID, so we’re pleased to join the County Executive and other nonprofits in modeling their behavior in these tough times that we all share. Through their example and this support, we’ll get there.”

“We are grateful to County Executive Calvin Ball and other county leaders for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center to receive a Rise to the Challenge grant,” said Anna Katz, Grassroots Operations Manager. “This funding will support our efforts to shelter vulnerable people during the pandemic and provide them the services they so desperately need.”

“We are grateful to the Howard County government for its support of nonprofits such as ours who serve county residents,” said Melissa Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Howard County Autism Society. “The last eight months have seen an avalanche of needs in the autism and disability community and we anticipate that will increase this fall as the pandemic drags on. Individuals with autism and their families struggle under the best of circumstances to access appropriate education, housing, employment, transportation, respite, and health services. COVID has only exacerbated those struggles. This funding will go a long way to addressing their needs. “

“COVID-19 has been trigger for stress, fear, anxiety and feelings of vulnerability. For individuals who live with disabilities we know the detriments of pandemic related stressors and isolation can be even worse,” said Cindy Plavier-Truitt, Interim President & CEO at Humanim. “With the generous support from the Howard County Rise to the Challenge Fund, Humanim will continue to pivot our service delivery model increasing access to and use of technology for Howard County residents we serve and their families. We greatly appreciate the innovative thinking of our County Executive and his team for supporting new human service models in this era of social distancing and virtual learning.”

“This funding will protect and preserve our nonprofit organization so that we can look at the bright side together for the hope and strength to cross the bridge of cultural obstacles during pandemic,” said Sue Song, Presidents of the Korean American Senior Association. “I really appreciate the County Executive, Dr. Ball and his staff who outreach the diverse hidden population so that every human in the county will be able to adopt to make a living during this challenging time and give us for the hope for the best.”

“The need for access to domestic/family violence services is greater now than ever,” said LaTisha Carter, Executive Director of My Covenant Place. “The Rise to Challenge funding from Howard County will allow us to further our mission and continue to serve those in need.”

“Neighbor Ride has been providing volunteer-based transportation directly to older adult residents of Howard County for sixteen plus years,” said Bruce Fulton, Executive Director of Neighbor Ride. “With the onset of the pandemic, older adults were among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and their needs expanded and the challenges facing local government and other non-profits in serving their needs grew substantially as well. Neighbor Ride was quickly able to pivot and provide new services like food delivery for partner organizations to their clients. With this Rise to the Challenge grant, Neighbor Ride will be able to expand and scale these new services by building and offering Neighbor Ride ASSIST. Neighbor Ride ASSIST is a ‘business to business’ transportation and delivery service that we will provide to our fellow non-profits as well as local government to ‘ASSIST’ them in providing their services to the older adult population in Howard County.”

"Rebuilding Together Howard County greatly appreciates this much needed funding,” said Ann Heavner, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Howard County. “Due to the pandemic, for the first time in 29 years, we were forced to cancel our annual Rebuilding Day event. On that day 1,000 volunteers repair 30 homes free of charge for low income homeowners. Our year-round repairs program is now accomplished using professional contractors instead of volunteers. This funding will be used to streamline our house inspection process to allow the inspectors to rapidly inspect a house while wearing a mask and with social distancing. Thank you so much for this funding to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions and at the same time, continue to provide free house repairs to low income homeowners."’

“The need for greater access to mental and behavioral health care in Howard County and the surrounding area continues to grow and has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. We appreciate County Executive Calvin Ball’s recognition that many in our community are suffering as a result of the pandemic. The Rise to the Challenge grant will enable us to better serve the community and close that gap by increasing access, providing vital resources quickly, and connecting those in crisis to outpatient care. We remain committed to providing critical services to those in need,” said Jeff Richardson, VP and Chief Operating Officer of Community Services for Sheppard Pratt.

"Sobar is pleased to receive a Rise to the Challenge grant,” said Beth Harbinson, Founder of Sobar. “Our mission is to encourage choice in how we celebrate by providing a variety of sophisticated non-alcoholic beverages to consumers and hosting alcohol-free bars and events. With alcohol now available for delivery to our homes, this is a critical time for us to provide alternatives. The grant will allow us to build the infrastructure to serve our clients through our Sobar in a Box product. We're also offering a sober virtual New Year's Eve event this year on a night where many struggling from Substance Abuse Disorders feel left out and lonely. Stigma, shame and isolation are contributing causes to relapse and Sobar is working to prevent this with."

“Thank you to Howard County for the opportunity provided by the Rise to the Challenge grant,” said Erica Byrne, Executive Director of Voices for Children. “This funding will allow us to provide tutoring and other educational services and devices to youth in foster care in Howard County, who need additional support due to the challenges presented by virtual learning. We will also provide additional training to Court Appointed Special Advocates, as they work to support youth from birth to age 21, in foster care in Howard County.”


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