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RMC Announces $555,917 Available Funds For Grant Program

Annapolis, Maryland – On May 9, 2016 the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) announced the opening of the Fiscal Year 2017 Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) for applications. The MAERDAF program has helped many rural-serving organizations establish or maintain programs and projects that have had a significant impact on Rural Maryland. The fund provides grants to rural-serving nonprofit organizations that promote statewide and regional planning, economic and community development, and agricultural and forestry education. Also eligible are rural community colleges that support small and agricultural businesses through enhanced training and technical assistance. MAERDAF’s goal is to increase the overall capacity of rural-serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges to help them establish new public/private partnerships for leveraging non-state sources of funding.

Between Fiscal Year 2001 and Fiscal Year 2016, the MAERDAF program awarded $3.25 million in grants to over 75 organizations.  The Rural Maryland Council administers MAERDAF in partnership with several state of Maryland Departments including the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Department of Commerce. This will be the largest grant year on record for the fund, with more than triple the resources available just last year. Rural Maryland Council Chair, Doris Mason, stated, “The Council is very excited about the impact we will be able to have this year, as we expect to fund a larger number of projects, thus more positively effecting the economic prosperity and overall quality of life in the rural areas of our state.”

For fiscal year 2017, the RMC is particularly interested in proposals that address: Agriculture, Energy, Rural Broadband, Healthcare, Youth Engagement and Workforce/Economic Development. Regardless, the Grant Review Board will give full consideration to any application that is submitted. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, July 15, 2016. Instructions and applications are available on the RMC’s website at www.rural.maryland.gov/maerdaf/.

The RMC operates under the direction of a 40-member executive board in a nonpartisan and nondiscriminatory manner. It serves as the state’s federally designated rural development council and functions as a voice for rural Maryland, advocating for and helping rural communities and businesses across the state to flourish. The RMC envisions a future where all areas of Maryland are prosperous with thriving resources, vibrant economies, and healthy, connected communities.

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