In 2018, The Maryland Telehealth Alliance (MTel) Board of Directors applied for a Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) grant established by the Rural Maryland Council (RMC). The grant proposal was to fund a revamp of the MTel website and provide additional funding for community and marketing outreach. MTel received notification in September 2018 that our proposal was accepted and awarded a $20,000 grant. MTel has been working since 2018 and into 2019 around the design and construction of a new website with our website partner, HD Marketing. We are expecting to launch this new website in Summer 2019.

Background on the MAERDAF grant

The MAERDAF program was born out of the frustration experienced by several rural-serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges who had difficulty obtaining adequate, much needed programmatic or special projects funding. 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.

A link to the 2019 Rural Maryland Council’s Grant Recipients award announcement can be found here –

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