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Governor Hogan, William E. “Brit” Kirwan, award-winning author Amy Goldstein and new AgPitch featured at “Bridging the Divide: Strengthening Rural and Urban Communities” Summit on December 1

ANNAPOLIS, MD – It’s no secret that Maryland’s urban and rural areas have different characteristics and solve issues differently based on their unique characteristics and their resources. However, one Maryland organization, the Rural Maryland Council, chooses to focus on the challenges that they have in common with the ultimate goal of “bridging the divide.”

This concept is the foundation for its upcoming biennial summit “Bridging the Divide: Strengthening Rural and Urban Communities” which will be held on Friday, December 1, at the DoubleTree Hotel, 210 Holiday Court, Annapolis. The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is open to the public. Advance registration is $50.00 per person. Registration at the door will be $60.00. Meals are included. Deadline to pre-register online is November 28th by 5 p.m.

Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. will open the one-day conference with welcoming remarks. In addition to the Governor, featured guest speakers include


William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland (USM), former president of the Ohio State University, former USM president and recipient of the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence.

Photo Credit: Melina Mara

Amy Goldstein, staff writer at the Washington Post, and author of Janesville: An American Story.

Named Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year, in Janesville Goldstein tells the story of a small, proud Wisconsin city that lost the nation’s oldest operating General Motors assembly plant and the lessons it offers about economic pain and resilience.

The Summit breakout sessions will include updates from Maryland State Secretaries as well as a panel of State Legislators. Sessions on Agriculture, Community Development, Economic Development and Health Care will also be available. Topics include a feature on a new Ag GIS dashboard, Affordable Housing, Rural Broadband, New Tools for Eliminating Blighted, Vacant Properties, and the updated Maryland Rural Health Plan.

In addition, a new AgPitch session will be presented this year. Five finalists will be selected to present their ideas/business plans to compete for cash and related business services. The day will close with a networking reception beginning at 3:30 p.m.

“The content of this year’s Summit sets the tone for a conversation about strengthening our communities and making come-backs regardless of whether you are talking about a rural or urban community,” says Charlotte Davis, executive director, Rural Maryland Council. “We share so many common challenges that need to be solved. Switching the focus to what we share and bringing all the stakeholders together to create the solutions is what will make the difference,” she adds.

Summit corporate sponsors

The Summit is made possible through the support of numerous sponsors including: MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, PNC Bank, Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), MARBIDCO, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), Maryland Rural Health Association, Community Development Network of Maryland, Maryland Relay, LEAD Maryland Foundation, Maryland Association of Counties, Cecil County Office of Economic Development, Maryland Tourism Commission, Maryland Insurance Administration, Salisbury University, Maryland State Office of Rural Health, USDA, Grow & Fortify, Maryland Small Business Development Centers, Mid-Shore Regional Council, F3 Tech Accelerator Program, Maryland Department of Commerce, Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Eco Ecology, USDA Rural Development, University of Maryland Extension.

Founded in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council 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 and to gain equity to its suburban and urban counterparts.

To register for the conference visit or call (410) 841-5774, email For updates on all RMC events and activities connect with the Rural Maryland Council at or on Twitter @RuralMaryland.