Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund
The Rural Maryland Council needs your help to secure funding this next fiscal year for the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF). This fund was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2006 to direct financial resources to rural-serving small businesses and regional councils to help improve the overall standard of living in rural areas.
RMPIF will provide funding in five targeted areas:
· Increased Entrepreneurship through replenishment of existing revolving loan funds and expanding existing successful training programs;
· Improved Infrastructure by increasing the availability of telemedicine throughout Maryland and continuing expansion of the broadband network;
· Enhanced Regional Planning by increasing the capacity of existing regional councils;
· Targeted Community Development through the Rural Maryland Council and Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF), expanding the agricultural education and business training programs offered by nonprofit providers and community colleges; and
· Targeted grants to ensure access to Health Care and address rural-specific issues related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
More information is available on the RMPIF website, www.ruralmarylandprosperity.org.
To voice your support, please write to both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor through their convenient online contact pages: www.governor.maryland.gov/mail/ and www.governor.maryland.gov/mail/ltdefault.asp.
Here is a sample message you may copy and paste into the message boxes:
Dear Governor O’Malley OR Lt. Governor Brown:
I am requesting that the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF) receive a State Appropriation in the Fiscal Year 2015 operating budget of $6 million. Funding RMPIF will fill a current void in providing important targeted investment and promote economic prosperity in Maryland’s traditionally disadvantaged and underserved rural communities.
This $6 million request for RMPIF will be an investment in all of Rural Maryland, sure to increase quality of life for more than 1.6 million Marylanders who live in the 18 rural counties in Western Maryland, in Southern Maryland, and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Thank you for sending these messages to the Governor and Lt. Governor to help the RMC provide this renewed investment in Rural Maryland.
2013 Rural Action Assembly
The 2013 Rural Action Assembly took place October 16-18 in Aberdeen, Maryland. Titled “Hitting a Grand Slam for Rural Maryland: Creating a Unified Playbook for the Prosperity of Rural Agriculture, Community, Economy, and Health,” the 2.5-day conference identified a number of policy issues that could potentially enhance our rural areas and will be advanced in the upcoming General Assembly session.
More information about the Assembly is available on the conference’s website, www.ruralactionassembly.org. Coverage in the Carroll County Times here, here, here, and here; Cumberland Times-News; The Star Democrat; ShoreUpdate.com; and The Chestertown Spy is also available online.
If you attended the Rural Action Assembly, please take a few minutes to complete our brief survey to help us as we debrief the conference and plan for the future. Thank you to the planning committee, sponsors, speakers, and the over 200 people who participated in our conference to help make it a success!
Fiscal Year 2014 Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) Awardees Announced
The MAERDAF Grant Review Board and RMC are pleased to announce the Fiscal Year 2014 grant awardees:
· Energetics Technology Center in St. Charles, Maryland – $18,921 for creating an agricultural technology transfer program
· Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation, Inc. in Frostburg, Maryland – $21,705 for building an educational heritage wood shop
· LEAD Maryland Foundation, Inc. in Queenstown, Maryland – $25,000 for funding educational seminars for emerging rural leaders
· Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC, Inc.) in Salisbury, Maryland – $24,729 for the Living Well With Chronic Disease program
· Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts in Edgewater, Maryland – $14,268 for supporting the Maryland Envirothon educational competition
· Small Business and Technology Development Center in Salisbury, Maryland – $17,327 for creation of educational business development workshops catered toward watermen
· Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland in Hughesville, Maryland – $5,650 for increasing accessibility to farmers markets to SNAP participants
· Upper Shore Regional Council in Chestertown, Maryland – $19,900 for building a Harvest Directory mobile resource and app.
· Western Maryland Regional Library in Hagerstown, Maryland – $19,500 for digitizing documents of historical relevance
For Fiscal Year 2014, the RMC received 30 applications requesting more than $577,000 in funding and dispersed a total of $167,000. Of the nine organizations awarded grants, three serve residents of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, two serve Western Maryland, and two are based in Southern Maryland. The remaining two organizations have a statewide focus.
MAERDAF 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. The program’s goal is to increase the overall capacity of these organizations and community colleges to meet a multitude of rural development challenges and to help them establish new public/private partnerships for leveraging non-state sources of funding.
Congratulations to all awardees! Information about the Fiscal Year 2015 MAERDAF grant program will be released in Summer 2014.
RMC on Social Media
Health Enterprise Zones and Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund Grants
The Mission of the Rural Maryland Council is to build a bright future for Rural Maryland by helping to address its unique concerns. The RMC works towards achieving effective solutions by bringing together a diverse partnership of federal, state, and local government officials and representatives from the private nonprofit and for-profit sectors to form a strong collective voice dedicated to addressing the critical issues facing Rural Marylanders. The success of the RMC depends on the strength of its Executive Board, membership and Working Committees. Our general membership includes several hundred people -- each of whom brings a unique perspective, background, knowledge, and skill set to the table. Any Maryland citizen is eligible to become a member of the RMC. There is no fee for joining, just fill out an application form, mail or fax it back to us and we'll be in touch. Read more here.
Special RMC Programs
· The 2020 Rural Prosperity Investment Initiative (pdf) outlines a vision for Rural Maryland. A Rural Prosperity powerpoint presentation (2.3M) is also available. A PDF version (900 kb) is also available
Rural Maryland Council’s Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report is now available electronically. Printed copies are also available by contacting our office.
RuralStat is an interactive tool developed with GeoDASH at Salisbury University to track the general health of individual rural counties and regions in Maryland. RuralStat uses basic quality-of-life indicators compiled from reliable state and federal sources and organizes that data to show how each rural county and region is doing compared to itself over time, as well as to other counties, regions and the state. You decide which counties, regions and indicators to review.
Read our informational brochure.