MAERDAF Provides Grants to Rural Nonprofits
Established in 2000, the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) offers important financial support to rural-serving nonprofit organizations that promote statewide and regional planning, economic and community development, and agricultural and forestry education efforts. The Fund also provides targeted financial assistance to community colleges that support small and agricultural businesses through enhanced training and technical assistance offerings.
Between FY 2001 and FY 2016, the MAERDAF program awarded $3.25 million in grants to over 75 organizations. Many rural-serving organizations have been able to establish or continue programs and projects that have had a significant and positive impact on Rural Maryland because of the MAERDAF program. Moreover, the Fund has helped many nonprofits develop institutional capacity, improve grant-writing skills, and enhance the internal development of volunteer boards and staff.
The Rural Maryland Council administers MAERDAF in partnership with the Maryland Departments of Agriculture, Maryland Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Departments of Business and Economic Development, Maryland Departments of Housing and Community Development, and Maryland Departments of Natural Resources.
For Fiscal Year 2017, the RMC is particularly interested in proposals that address the following: 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.
General Guidelines and Criteria for FY 2017 MAERDAF grant applications click here.
General Instructions for FY 2017 MAERDAF grant applications click here.
Applications are due July 15, 2016.
Grant application for FY 2017 MAERDAF grant program click here*
*We cannot post a MS Word version of this document to the site. If you would like a MS Word version, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (do not forget final submission must be a PDF file.)
Prior year MAERDAF Annual Reports are available on our Publications tab at the bottom of the page.
The MAERDAF program was born out of the frustration experienced by a number of rural-serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges who had difficulty obtaining adequate, much needed programmatic or special projects funding. Unlike their counterparts operating near or in the urban centers, nonprofits operating in rural communities typically lack access to public sector (county or municipal) or private sector (corporate and private foundation) philanthropic opportunities. Moreover, given the economic distress found in the rural regions of the State, many local governments do not have the financial wherewithal to address these important developmental needs. Consequently, a serious resource deficit existed where, in many instances, the need had been the greatest.
The General Assembly created MAERDAF in 2000 in order to increase the overall capacity of rural-serving, nonprofit organizations that promote statewide and regional planning, economic and community development, and agricultural and forestry education. In addition, MAERDAF provides targeted funding to community colleges that provide training and technical assistance to ag businesses. Since it was created, the program has helped many rural-serving organizations establish or continue programs and projects that have had a significant and positive impact on Rural Maryland. In addition, the modest State investment in the MAERDAF program has helped the nonprofit sector leverage a substantial amount of private and federal financial support. (The MAERDAF Board is required to give preference to organizations that leverage non-state matching funds and many grantees have had matches exceeding 100 percent.) Moreover, MAERDAF has helped many of these nonprofit service providers develop institutional capacity, improve grant-writing skills, and enhance the internal development of volunteer boards and staff.
“MAERDAF has provided the LEAD Maryland Foundation with a vitally important source of funding to help prepare the next generation of agricultural and rural leaders. I think it is fair to say that without the substantial financial support we have received from MAERDAF, LEAD would not be the great educational program it is today.”
–Kenny Bounds, President
LEAD Maryland Foundation
RMPIF – Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund
On March 29, 2016, the Maryland Legislature passed the Fiscal Year 2017 State Operating Budget which includes funds to support the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF), a key step forward in addressing disparities in the State’s rural areas. The Rural Maryland Council would like to thank Governor Hogan for inclusion of funds to support RMPIF, the Maryland House of Delegates and Maryland Senate for their support and, in particular, the Senate Budget and Taxation and House Appropriations Committees.
For the first time since 2006, the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund will receive $2 million in funding for targeted investment to promote economic prosperity in Maryland’s traditionally disadvantaged and underserved rural communities. By sustaining efforts to promote rural regional cooperation, facilitating entrepreneurial activities and supporting key community colleges and nonprofit providers, the quality of life in rural Maryland can be advanced over the next several years.
The Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund will support the Rural Maryland Council’s activities and the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) which provides capacity-building funds to rural nonprofit service providers. It will also support the states’ five regional councils, regional infrastructure projects, rural entrepreneurship development, rural community development, and rural health care organizations.
Stay tuned for more updates and announcements about RMPIF coming soon!