MAERDAF Provides Grants to Rural Nonprofits
Established in 2000, the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistant 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 2013, the MAERDAF program awarded $3.25 million in grants to over 50 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.
General Instructions for FY 2014 MAERDAF grant applications click here.
Applications are due July 15, 2013.
Grant application for FY 2014 MAERDAF grant program click here.
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
Rural Maryland Council :: 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway :: Annapolis, MD 21401 :: 410-841-5774
The FY 2014 Grant Cycle has closed. $167,000 is available to be awarded. Funded grants will be announced on August 19, 2013.
The application was due July 15, 2013. Fiscal year 2015 applications will be posted in late spring 2014 and due in July 2015.
MAERDAF Applications will ONLY be accepted via email to
Applications must be received by 11:59pm on July 15, 2013. All applications will be acknowledged with a personalized e-mail. If you do not receive a reply, please call us at 410-841-5772 to ensure your application has been received and will be considered.