The Horizon Foundation and the United Way of Central Maryland were honored to name three members of the Howard County community as winners of the 2017 Changemaker Challenge. They were selected among 10 finalists who presented their innovative ideas to address pressing issues in the county. Each will receive $10,000 in seed funding and project consultation to launch their ideas.
Three hundred people attended the Shark Tank-style event, held at the Kosiakoff Center at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel. The winning ideas were selected by a panel of judges from Horizon and the United Way.
Erin Cassell, the owner of Roll Up ’n Dye tie dye studio in Columbia, won for her idea “Safe and Beautiful Bus Stops.” She proposed a plan to lead the Elkridge community, including artists, students, businesses, volunteers and government agencies, in working together to create safe bus stops decorated with locally-made art. Specifically, Cassell would like to focus on a stretch of Route 1 that includes only three shelters for 25 bus stops.
Beth Sandbower Harbinson, a nonprofit executive and consultant, won for her idea “SOBAR” — which is devised from the combination of the words “sober” and “bar.” She proposed to produce alcohol-free events and provide healthy, creative non-alcoholic beverages at community social events in Howard County. She plans to jump start the project with an 18-month plan that will include focus groups, establishing a 501(c)(3) and marketing.
Danielle Staton, a first-generation college graduate who attended Atholton High School, won for her idea “College Readiness Communities.” Staton pitched a plan for a program that would create supportive peer groups of middle and high school students from lower-income backgrounds, with a focus on those working to become the first in their family to graduate from college.