Maryland Independent - - Com­mu­nity Fo­rum - Twit­ter: @PaulIndyNews

trans­porta­tion, and lack of ac­cess to health care.

Char­lotte Davis, RMC’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, told the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent that the coun­cil saw an uptick in ap­pli­ca­tions from or­ga­ni­za­tions in South­ern Mary­land dur­ing the most re­cent grant ap­pli­ca­tion cy­cle.

“We are see­ing in­creas­ing re­quests from more of the so­cial ser­vice de­liv­ery agen­cies, which is a con­cern,” Davis said. “There must be an in­crease in de­mand in South­ern Mary­land, be­cause we haven’t seen a cor­re­spond­ing in­crease in the other ru­ral ar­eas of the state.”

Davis said that the in­crease in grant ap­pli­ca­tions could be a sign that state and county govern­ments are re­duc­ing their fund­ing for such pro­grams, as so­cial ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions are tra­di­tion­ally heav­ily re­liant on govern­ment grants.

The grants were made from the Ru­ral Mary­land Pros­per­ity In­vest­ment Fund and the Mary­land Agri­cul­tural Ed­u­ca­tion and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance Fund.

RMPIF grants pro­vide funds for use in “ca­pac­ity build­ing,” or help­ing non­prof­its to grow their mis­sion ca­pa­bil­i­ties. MAERDAF grants of­fer fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to de­velop pro­grams in re­gional plan­ning, eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment, and agri­cul­tural and fore­str y ed­u­ca­tion.

Five or­ga­ni­za­tions in St. Mary’s and Calvert coun­ties re­ceived RMPIF grants for en­trepreneur­ship, health care and in­fra­struc­ture projects.

The South­ern Mary­land Re­source Con­ser­va­tion and De­vel­op­ment Board, based in Leonard­town, re­ceived two grants to­tal­ing $80,000 for the re­lo­ca­tion of the pop­u­lar farmer’s mar­ket cur­rently lo­cated in the park­ing lot of the Char­lotte Hall Li­brary and for im­prove­ments to ameni­ties along the Three Notch Trail.

Be­cause the farmer’s mar­ket has con­tin­ued to grow to the point where it can no longer ac­cept ad­di­tional ven­dors, the St. Mary’s County govern­ment re­cently ac­quired a 15-acre farm­stead near Char­lotte Hall that will serve as the mar­ket’s new home. The board will use the RMC grant to pur­chase build­ings for use by ven­dors, make im­prove­ments to the land, and in­stall ameni­ties.

Mov­ing the farm­ers mar­ket will free up the li­brary’s park­ing lot to al­low more peo­ple to park there to use the Three Notch Trail. The board will use its sec­ond grant to con­struct 565 lin­ear feet of trail con­nec­tion and 300 lin­ear feet of wooden bridges over wet­land ar­eas, as well as plat­forms, signs, and ameni­ties along the trail.

“The mar­ket re­lo­ca­tion is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the over­all strat­egy to sup­port agri­cul­ture and value-added cot­tage in­dustr y in the five South­ern Mary­land coun­ties,” said board ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Cindy Greb.

The South­ern Mary­land Com­mu­nity Net­work of Prince Fred­er­ick re­ceived a $34,050 grant to re­model a home that it owns for use as a res­i­den­tial fa­cil­ity for peo­ple with se­ri­ous men­tal health is­sues. The fa­cil­ity will of­fer train­ing in daily liv­ing skills for up to three peo­ple at a time to help them tran­si­tion to in­de­pen­dent hous­ing.

The house is cur­rently used as a cri­sis fa­cil­ity for peo­ple in South­ern Mary­land as well as Anne Arun­del and Prince Ge­orge’s Coun­ties. The cri­sis fa­cil­ity will be mov­ing to a new lo­ca­tion.

SMCN ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Karen Car­loni said that this was the first time her or­ga­ni­za­tion had ap­plied for an RMC grant, which she said will also help en­sure the house stays in good re­pair.

“It’s re­ally giv­ing us an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity,” Car­loni said. “This is im­por­tant to us, and for our neigh­bors in the com­mu­nity too.”

The Arc South­ern Mary­land, which is also based in Prince Fred­er­ick but has of­fices in Leonard­town and Wal­dorf, will use its $37,500 grant to pur­chase two vans that will al­low it to bring se­niors, shut-ins, and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties to ap­point­ments with their health care providers.

Arc CEO Terry Long said that the ser­vice is ex­pected to be­gin in Charles County in Jan­uary and has al­ready been in great de­mand in both Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties since it started in Au­gust.

“We bud­geted for 25 trips daily in Au­gust and we ended up with 150,” Long said. “Trans­porta­tion is a ma­jor is­sue in South­ern Mary­land, as you can imag­ine.”

Long said that this was The Arc’s first time ap­ply­ing for an RMC grant.

“We’re re­ally happy that they no­ticed us and want to help us,” Long said.

The Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion in Bel Al­ton will be test­ing an in­no­va­tive tele-health pro­gram for di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tion with its $28,000 grant. The pro­gram aims to re­cruit be­tween 300 and 400 par­tic­i­pants statewide in a four-month pro­gram that will in­clude health ed­u­ca­tion as well as train­ing in food prepa­ra­tion and cook­ing.

Dr. Vir­ginia Brown, the prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the pro­gram, said that the pro­gram is based on a model that has been suc­cess­fully tested in other ru­ral states.

“We know that the pro­gram is ef­fec­tive,” Brown said. “The ques­tion is, how does it work in Mary­land?”

Brown said that par­tic­i­pants will be ran­domly as­signed to one of three groups that will meet all in per­son, all on­line, or a mix of the two in or­der to see which meth­ods work best.

“For­tu­nately, broad­band — or at least In­ter­net ac­cess — tends to be more preva­lent in South­ern Mary­land than in other ru­ral re­gions in the state,” she said. “Whether or not peo­ple fol­low through with it is an­other story.”

Brown and the other in­struc­tors will con­duct fol­low-ups with pro­gram par­tic­i­pants to see how well the lessons stuck, and will present a re­port and we­bi­nar on the re­sults next sum­mer.

CalvertHealth Foun­da­tion of Prince Fred­er­ick re­ceived a $60,000 grant to fund four po­si­tions in CalvertHealth Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s On­col­ogy Nav­i­ga­tor pro­gram. The nav­i­ga­tors will help at least 300 breast, tho­racic and prostate can­cer pa­tients to ob­tain needed spe­cial­ist care from 25 part­ner­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions through­out South­ern Mary­land over the com­ing year.

“The use of nav­i­ga­tors in the pro­vi­sion of care, es­pe­cially in on­col­ogy ser­vices, con­tin­ues to be an ev­i­dence-based best prac­tice to elim­i­nate bar­ri­ers to ac­cess­ing care and bridg­ing the gap be­tween med­i­cal providers and pa­tients,” ex­plained Theresa John­son, the foun­da­tion’s as­so­ciate vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and phi­lan­thropy.

John­son said that this was the foun­da­tion’s first grant ap­pli­ca­tion with RMC, though RMC has funded other CalvertHealth Med­i­cal Cen­ter projects.

Vice Pres­i­dent Ka­sia Sweeney, the cen­ter’s on­col­ogy ser­vices ad­min­is­tra­tor, ex­pressed the hospi­tal’s grat­i­tude to RMC for the grant.

“We are thrilled to be work­ing with them to con­tinue to ex­pand the care and ser­vices avail­able in Calvert she said.

RMC also awarded MAERDAF grants to The Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion of South­ern Mary­land, based in Char­lotte Hall, and Health Part­ners Inc., of Wal­dorf.

CF­SOMD will be us­ing its $19,000 grant will be used to boost the foun­da­tion’s out­reach ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing the pro­duc­tion of an ed­u­ca­tional video about the ben­e­fits of estab­lish­ing a char­i­ta­ble com­mu­nity as­sis­tance fund with the foun­da­tion.

Health Part­ners plans to use its $40,000 grant to fund a full-time staff den­tal co­or­di­na­tor po­si­tion to over­see ap­point­ment sched­ul­ing and billing at the health cen­ter’s pop­u­lar den­tal clinic.

Ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Chris­tine Mulc­a­hey said that the den­tal co­or­di­na­tor will also iden­tify ad­di­tional sources of rev­enue, in­clud­ing com­mer­cial in­sur­ance, to help off­set costs for peo­ple who can­not af­ford to pay for den­tal care.

“This po­si­tion is vi­tal to the sus­tain­abil­ity of our den­tal pro­gram,” Mulc­a­hey said. County,”

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