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Request for Proposals (RFP) Rural Research Grants- Rural Maryland Foundation

The Rural Maryland Foundation’s purpose is to support efforts of citizens and governments to meet the
economic and social needs of rural Maryland. It also supports the efforts of the Rural Maryland Council, an
independent state agency.

The Rural Maryland Council (RMC) brings together citizens, community-based organizations, federal, state,
county and municipal government officials as well as representatives of the for-profit and nonprofit sectors
to collectively address the needs of Rural Maryland communities. We provide a venue for members of
agriculture and natural resource-based industries, health care facilities, educational institutions, economic
and community development organizations, for-profit and nonprofit corporations, and government agencies
to cross traditional boundaries, share information, and address in a more holistic way the special needs and
opportunities in Rural Maryland.

Research Grant Program
One-year grants will be awarded to conduct applied policy research or to identify local strategies that can
result in legislative or program policy considerations or recommendations. For the 2023 grant cycle,
the Foundation will grant research awards up to a total amount available of $100,000. The Foundation may
select one award for the total amount or multiple small awards.

The Foundation is looking to support data-driven anaylsis to address pertinent and timely public policy
concerns impacting rural Maryland. Research proposals should included policy recommendations that can
be supported through identified implementation strateies. The Foundation intends to build a policy resource
for rural Maryland.

The Foundation intends to award grants to individuals and qualified faculty members of the University of
Maryland, its affiliates including Salisbury University, Frostburg University and University of Maryland
Eastern Shore, one of Maryland’s community colleges or of one of the State’s Historically Black Colleges and
Universities. A qualified faculty member must serve as a partner on the project. Partnerships with other
academic institutions, community or enterprise organizations, and public and private agencies are


Targeted Topics
This year the Board of Trustees has approved five targeted topics.
Open Topics
Other topical and beneficial projects that address one or more of the Foundation’s research
areas will be considered by the Foundation under the Open Topics category.
Grant Application Process and Timeline
The Foundation’s 2023 Research Grant Program application process is as follows:
1. Request for Proposals is released May 10, 2023
2. Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent with proposed budget June 12, 2023
3. Letters of Intent are reviewed and selected applicants are invited to submit a full
proposal Late June/Early July 2023
4. Proposal planning discussions are conducted with applicants August – September 2023
5. Deadline for full proposal submissions October 10, 2023
6. Foundation’s Board of Tustees selects projectsfor funding December 14, 2023
7. Final work plans are negotiated and accepted January 2, 2024
8. Memorandum of Understanding are issued, and work begins February 2024
9. Interim report due August 2024
10. Project ends January 2025
11. Final Reportdue February 2025

Letters of Intent
As the first step in the grant application process, researchers must submit a Letter of Intent. No full
proposal will be accepted without submission and approval of a Letter of Intent. Each letter is reviewed to
determine its potential to support the Foundation’s research mandate. Applicants meeting that benchmark
will be invited to prepare and submit a full grant proposal. Applicants whose Letters of Intent are approved
for proposal submission will receive additional information and instructions on proposal preparation,
submission, and review procedures.

Letter of Intent narratives must include the following:
• Project Title
• Project description
• Research scope and methods
• Anticipated policy implications and recommendations including implementation strategies and
• Identification of partners and/or subcontractors (indication that letters of support will be secured
from all project partners is strongly encouraged).
Letters of Intent must be received by the Rural Maryland Foundation via email by the close of
business (5:00pm) on June 12, 2023.
Letter of Intent Submission Guidelines
Letters of Intent must be emailed to the Rural Maryland Foundation’s Secretary, Charlotte Davis, at

Receipt of a Letter of Intent will be acknowledged via email. If acknowledgement is not received in
three business days from the date of sending, please email or call
(410) 841-5774 to follow up.

1. Transfer of Wealth in Maryland
This study of Transfer of Wealth (TOW) in Maryland will provide research on the intergenerational farm and
forestland in Maryand, with particular emphasis on demographic shifts in the
wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its financial implications in rural Maryland. This interdisciplinary
project will analyze trends in intergenerational transfer of wealth, will identify potential impacts and
opportunities for rural communities and how to promote legacy gifting as transfer of wealth.
Key Expected Outcomes:
• Estimate the projected intergenerational wealth transfer for each Maryland county over the next 30
years, in five-year increments.
• Estimate how much land is expected to transfer in the next decade
• Estimate how many rural households and farms have current succession plans
• Identify opportunities, through transfer of wealth, for local foundations and organizations to
support community improvement work.
• Provide public policy implications and/or best practices from across Maryland and other states, as
well as relevant recommendations.
2. Analysis of food distribution and production from Maryland farms and fishing industry
The COVID-19 pandemic caused increased hunger rates throughout Maryland and put a strain on many
Maryland grocery stores, farmers markets and food banks. This research will identify the need for food
system development in rural Maryland and will measure the gaps of the food system production and

Key Expected Outcomes:
• Conduct an inventory of all food banks throughout Maryland and include descriptions of operational
• Mapping food networks in Maryland and how does food move in and out of our state identifying the
challenges, opportunities and ecosystem
• Identify structures, funding, and how they serve local hunger-relief organizations.
• Provide an analysis of how food banks distribute food, conduct educational outreach, and provide
other services.
• Provide an analysis of the food supply distribution from Maryland farms and fishing industry
• Identify gaps and barriers in food distribution to rural communities in Maryland.
• Assess the needs of hunger-relief organizations in providing food and services to clients.
• Provide public policy implications and relevant recommendations.
3. The impact of solar development on farmland in Rural Maryland
Across the country and in Maryland, demand for solar energy is growing. With this growth, questions
have emerged about its impact on farmers and communities. This research will complete three to four
profiles of utility-scale projects in Maryland to assess the complexities of farmland solar production and how
these projects have affected agriculture, local governments, transportation, utility companies, residents,
etc., and their impact on farmers and other relevant stakeholders.
Key Expected Outcomes:
• Conduct three to four case studies profiling utility-scale solar projects across Maryland.
• Each case study should include a diverse set of key stakeholders, such as farmers, property
landowners, local governments, utility companies, etc.

• Identify key challenges and opportunities concerning utility-scale solar development on farmland,
• particular focus on leasing conditions, supply chain implications, and community impacts.
• Include a policy review of relevant regulations concerning solar development.
• Provide public policy implications and relevant recommendations.
4. Economic Development in Rural Maryand
Rural Maryland continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular agriculture, aquaculture
and forest industries. This study will identify entrepreneurship training needs for rural agri-business
enterprises and the uses of emerging technologies in stabilizing and enhancing rual agri-businesses.
Increasing and supporting historically under-represented populations in agri-business should be a focus.
Key Expected Outcomes:
• Identifying strategies to make our rural communities more attractive for economic development
• Analysis of what growth industry sectors rural Maryland should position itself for in the next ten
years in order to be competitive
• Impact of fedral and state legislation and policies on water and forestry industries.
• Analysis of employment needs within the agriculture industry.
• Identify economic changes to rural Maryland over the past 10 years, and the potential outlook for
the next 10 years.
• Provide public policy implications and relevant recommendations.
5. Volunteerism in rural Maryland
Volunteerism is essential to communities. In addition to direct service impact, it decreases social isolation
and increases community engagement. Across rural Maryland, population decline, transportation
challenges, and other barriers may have caused volunteer shortages. This study will examine the extent to
which rural residents are volunteering and the impact volunteering has on communities. It will also measure
the benefits of volunteerism on rural communities and individual well-being.
Key Expected Outcomes:
• Assess volunteer participation rates in rural Maryland.
• Create a profile of rural volunteers, including who they are and the types of activities and services
they are participating in.
• Identify barriers and opportunities to expand volunteer opportunities in rural Maryland
• Identify programs in other states that might be applicable to Maryland for encouraging
• Provide public policy implications and relevant recommendations.
In addition to the targeted topics, other relevant and potentially beneficial projects will be considered by the
Rural Maryland Foundation under the Open Topics category. Proposed projects for this category must show
a clear relationship to one or more of the Rural Maryland Council’s priorities of agriculture and forestry,
economc and community development, health care, leadership development, youth engagement and
infrastructure development. Application procedures for proposed Open Call projects must follow the Letter
of Intent guidelines. Open Topic projects must define specific key outcomes and specific policy implications
that will benefit communities in rural Maryland.
For the 2023 grants cycle, the Foundation is particularly interested in seeing the following “Special Focus
Areas” addressed through the Open Topics category

• Improving rural education and engagement through remote learning.
• Opiod and other addiction health care in rural Maryland
• Real analysis and realistic solutions to rural public transportation issues
Project Budget
Please include an estimated budget and information related to project duration. Submissions without
budget information will not be considered. Preference will be given to proposals with identified matching

Ranking Criteria
The following criteria will be utilized by the Rural Maryland Foundation and its Board of Trustees when
deliberating and making award decisions:
• Scope of work – does the proposal include an adequate description of the research proposed and a
list of tasks to be completed?
• Proposed outcomes – does the proposal include recommendations and strategies for
• Capacity – does the entity submitting the proposal have experience and staff available to complete
the proposed scope of work?
• Partnerships – does the proposal include partnerships and collaborative organizations to assist in
completing the scope of work?
• Targeted areas – does the proposal address targeted areas of research as determined by the
• Budget – Are budget items clearly described and do they make sense?
• Matching Funds – Are any matching funds being utilized by the applicant?

The Foundation plans to award the grants by January 1, 2024. The Foundation will then mutually discuss and
refine the scope of work with the selected applicant and shall negotiate final conditions, compensation, and
performance schedule.

RFP Questions and Responses
All questions pertaining to this proposal must be submitted in writing via email to: Charlotte Davis, RMF
Secretary at of Non-Commitment
Issuance of this RFP does not obligate the Foundation or the Council to award a grant or to pay any costs
incurred in the preparation of proposals responding to this RFP.