Mariana Izraelson Named New Grassroots Executive Director

Nonprofit Leader has Expertise in Healthcare and Addiction Recovery

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, now celebrating its 50th year of service to Howard County, has selected Dr. Mariana Izraelson, an experienced leader of nonprofit organizations in Maryland, to replace former Executive Director Ayesha Holmes who has accepted a position as State Director for the No Kid Hungry campaign at Share Our Strength. Dr. Izraelson will assume her new position Oct. 12.

Dr. Mariana Izraelson

Dr. Izraelson most recently served as Chief Executive Officer at La Comunidad Hispana in Kennett Square, PA. She was also employed as Executive Director of Shepherd’s Clinic in Baltimore and Director, Outpatient Services, for Ashley Addiction Treatment in Havre de Grace, MD.

Dr. Izraelson has a Doctor of Clinical Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University-Northern Virginia. She is a licensed Project Management Professional and Licensed Clinical Alcohol & Drug Counselor.

Grassroots provides 24-hour crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and support to individuals and families with a mental health, substance use or homelessness crisis. Most recently, Grassroots established the New Beginnings Crisis Stabilization center to provide more effective and timely screening and treatment referral or to serve as a safe alternative for individuals at risk of an overdose. 

“We are very pleased to have Mariana Izraelson assume leadership at Grassroots,” said Past President Nicholas J. Langhauser, who served as chair of the search committee. “She has the experience and skills to lead Grassroots during a period of change for the organization brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic increase in delivery of services,” he noted.

During the fiscal year ending June 30, Grassroots served 340 people in its shelter programs and 921 individuals at the Grassroots Day Resource Center, handled 33,474 calls to its Hotline, and made 2,825 face-to-face contacts. The Mobile Crisis Team made 721 community responses, and 143 clients were enrolled in the Substance Use Treatment program.

During the search for a new executive, Grassroots Operations Manager Anna Katz has served as interim director, and Sara Smoley, Director of Clinical and Crisis Services, has provided oversight for all programs. Holmes also provided assistance during the transition. In addition to Langhauser, the search committee included recently elected Board President Dottie Paxton and board members Libby Boswell, Rochelle Michaux Conway, Kristine Harshaw, Gail Makode, Chitra Raghu, Joseph Stellone and Steve Sternheimer. Former Board President Mary Lasky was an advisor to the committee.

Grassroots is located on Freetown Road in Columbia. For information, visit

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Grassroots is the 24/7 single point access for behavioral health, crisis and homeless services for individuals and families.