Community Foundation of Howard County

Community Action Council - Howard County Food Bank

Third Light


In August of 2016, the historic portion of Ellicott City (aka "old Ellicott City") was ravaged by a massive flood that prompted several dramatic rescues, left two dead, and cost over $20 million in damages. Many groups banded together to help provide relief and assistance as utility workers, businesses, community leaders, and neighbors all banded together to clean and rebuild what was lost in the floodwaters.  Right there with everyone was the Community Foundation of Howard County, connecting volunteer efforts and donations with partnering organizations like the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center and the Howard County Community Relief Fund.  In fact, that's what their bread and butter is!  Connecting people and funds to the right organizations that need resources, all with the goal of improving the quality of life in Howard County, MD.

Whether it's helping to fund/create grants, scholarships, non-profits, or disaster relief efforts, the Community Foundation of Howard County has a history of making those special connections that turn talk into action.  It all started with James Rouse, who developed the town of Columbia, MD, and created the Columbia Foundation as the first community foundation for the state of Maryland in 1969.  Have you ever visited the South Street Seaport in New York City?  Or the Gallery at Market East in Philly?  Maybe the Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans?  Harborplace in Baltimore?  Pioneer Place in downtown Portland?  St. Louis Union Station?  Those are all developments courtesy of James Rouse and The Rouse Company.  Mr. Rouse had a vision for Columbia's potential, and the Community Foundation honors that vision today by ensuring that the proper resources are available to the very causes that keep it great.  

In 2013, The Columbia Foundation renamed and rebranded itself as The Community Foundation of Howard County.  Same mission, just a more all-encompassing vision since there's more to Howard County than just the town of Columbia.  Now in 2017, Third Light has been invited to perform at the organization's annual Spring Party, where we will help celebrate Columbia's 50th birthday.  We're happy to support a group that does so much to foster diversity, educational growth, sustainable development, and forward progress for the county and all of its residents.

If you'd like to learn more about The Community Foundation of Howard County and/or the more than 300 charitable funds under its management, check out their website here.

Greetings!  For this page, we wanted to get a little more personal about the different charities we've partnered with over the years.  As much as we love creating music, we're also pretty passionate about helping our local community.  We want to thank everyone who has donated to our various collections, because with your help we have managed to raise nearly $1,500.  Read below to learn more about the specific partnerships we've formed in time and how they came about.

Located nearly halfway between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Howard County is a place that Third Light proudly calls home.  David and Debby both went to Wilde Lake High School and grew up in the Columbia/Ellicott City communities within the county. Matt currently lives in Columbia, and Becca purchased her first home there as well!  But more than anything, Howard County tends to be known for is its affluence and high-ranking public schools.  Just watch season 93 episode 10 of HGTV's House Hunters, and you'll get the idea really quickly.  With the many great parks, well-funded public libraries, and ongoing community events, it's easy to get swept up in the narrative of just how fortunate anyone should be to live here.  So as a group, we wanted to do our part to focus a little on those who were less fortunate.

A study conducted by researchers of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Social Policy in the late 2000s compared information about income against local self-sufficiency data (e.g. TANF, SNAP, and other food assistance programs; workforce development and training programs; early care and education, health insurance, etc.).  It was found that nearly 30,000 individual county residents were classified as the "working poor, " earning between $10,830 and $31,517 annually.  The study also found that due to the high cost of living, a family with two adults and one infant needed $63,537 to no longer be considered among the working poor in Howard County...that's more than $45,000 above the federal poverty level!  So to help dispel the myth that poverty really isn't an issue here, we chose in 2014 to partner with the Community Action Council and collect money at our performances to help donate to the Howard County Food Bank.

If you want to know more about what you can do to help, click here to go to the CAC's website to learn more about the various food assistance programs they offer, in addition to some logistics such as their location, donation hours, and list of most needed items for donation.

Unfortunately, the story of how Third Light came to partner with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) starts off on a little bit of a down note, but we promise that it gets better by the end!  In 2014, Debby and David lost a very special friend that they knew from their early days growing up in Howard County.  She had her whole life ahead of her as a prosecutor for the local government, following in the footsteps of her father, who was also a lawyer, and her mother, a local judge.  But her plans were cut short just 18 months after her diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia in early 2013.

Did you know that approximately every 3 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with some form of blood cancer?  An estimated over 1.2 million people in the US are either in remission from or living with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma.  Leukemia alone accounts for approximately 28% of those individuals.  We as a group wanted to do something, and the generosity shown by those who contributed to our collections for the Howard County Food bank gave us the tools to do so.  In 2015, we decided to change things up and donate to the local chapter of LLS in our friend's memory.  Then something rather extraordinary happened that year.

In June of 2015, a mere 6 months after beginning his first term as governor of the state of Maryland, Larry Hogan announced his plans to battle an aggressive form of Stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  He had just learned about it the week prior to his speech, and it had already spread throughout his body.  Fast forward to the present day, and Governor Hogan is essentially cancer-free thanks to multiple intense bouts of chemotherapy between 2015 and 2016.   He continued to work throughout his treatment as Governor and has become a vocal advocate for the fight against blood cancers.

We believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining to a cloudy day.  While there certainly is more work to be done to help those battling all forms of cancer, 2016 alone saw several medical breakthroughs ranging from the creation of the first blood test to detect breast cancer to discovering a more effective treatment than chemotherapy for lung cancer, and even finding impressive results with immunotherapy for terminal blood cancer patients.  So join the fight by checking out LLS's national webpage to learn more about what you can do for your local chapter!  For the Maryland chapter, click here!

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Maryland Chapter