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Nikki Highsmith Vernick

President and CEO
Horizon Foundation


The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland and as President and CEO, Nikki Highsmith Vernick has led many campaigns and efforts to improve health and wellness in Howard County.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, she spearheaded a response committing the foundation to more than $1 million in grants to meet emergency health needs. She launched a collaborative philanthropic effort to raise more than $400,000 for basic needs such as food and child care assistance.

Since 2012, Vernick has helped launch several transformative programs that demonstrably improved community health outcomes including advancing health equity, expanding access to mental health services, school nutrition and physical activity and reducing the consumption of sugary drinks.

“In these challenging times, all of us are deeply concerned for the health and wellbeing of our loved ones and our community,” she said. “This makes the Horizon Foundation’s mission to improve health and wellness in Howard County that much more important. It is my honor to lead this organization and be part of this community of support alongside tireless partners.”

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's 2020 Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.