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2024 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants Total $236,276

Grants Supports Communities, Land Trusts, and Nonprofits

Photo of children working in an urban garden

Living Classrooms at Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center in Baltimore received a Keep Maryland Beautiful Grant in 2023. Photo Courtesy of Living Classrooms Foundation.

Maryland Environmental Trust has approved 18 grants totaling $236,276 to be awarded for environmental education, community cleanup, and beautification projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program.

Grants through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program are awarded to volunteer-based and nonprofit groups, communities, schools, and land trusts in Maryland. The grants are designed to support environmental education projects, litter removal, community stewardship, and to help protect natural resources in urban and rural areas. 

Presented annually since 1986, the grant program is managed by the Maryland Environmental Trust – a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources – and administered on the department’s behalf by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Maryland Environmental Trust’s Board of Trustees voted to approve the grants after staff completed the application and review process.

The grants are funded by the Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Department of Transportation, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture

“The Keep Maryland Beautiful Program continues to be a strong partnership between our communities and state, and on behalf of the Trust and the department I thank everyone who contributes to its success,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “This program fosters stewardship in every corner of Maryland and underscores that no effort is too small to support the larger goals of cleaner water and access to green space for all Marylanders.”

“It takes all Marylanders working together to improve the health of our communities,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld. “The Keep Maryland Beautiful grants bring together an important coalition of state agencies, schools, nonprofits, and Maryland residents to increase awareness for the importance of environmental stewardship. The Maryland Department of Transportation is proud to help fund these important grants to improve environmental education in our state and work to build greener, healthier communities.” 

“The Maryland Department of Agriculture is excited to partner with the Maryland Environmental Trust to support the Keep Maryland Beautiful grant program,” said Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “These grants have a meaningful impact on communities and non profits organizations that promote education and awareness of environmental impact throughout Maryland. Further, MDA’s support demonstrates the ag community’s pledge to continue to be good stewards of the land.”

“The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a proud facilitator of the Keep Maryland Beautiful program,” said Jana Davis, president of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.  “The program’s history of community stewardship, land trust capacity building, and focus on diversity aligns with our core mission and beliefs. Partnership programs such as this help us all work to engage and empower our local communities and ensure the health of the Bay watersheds. This way, everyone can enjoy the benefits of our treasured natural resources.”

Keep Maryland Beautiful recipients included schools, nonprofit groups, municipalities, and land trusts in 10 counties. Many of these grants focus on developing and supporting communities, families, youth and students who take personal responsibility for the health of their communities, protecting nature in their backyards and seeking ways to help reduce or resolve environmental challenges. 

Awards given this year were:

  • One Aileen Hughes Grant award totaling $5,000, awarded to an individual representing a Maryland land trust for outstanding leadership, partnership and innovation in a conservation project. The grant is awarded to the Maryland land trust in recognition of the individual’s efforts and good work. The grant is given annually to honor the late Aileen Hughes, a true leader in the conservation movement.
  • 8 ​​Community Stewardship awards totaling $34,439, given in honor of State Senator Bill James, who drafted the legislation that founded Maryland Environmental Trust in 1967, and Margaret Rosch Jones, former executive director of the Keep Maryland Beautiful program before it became part of MET. These grants are awarded to schools, nonprofits and other community organizations whose missions are centered upon directly engaging community members in environmental education and stewardship. These grants also support organizations that demonstrate active engagement as defenders of the environment by developing innovative solutions to local environmental problems. 
  • Capacity Building for Land Trusts awards totaling $46,869, given to Maryland land trusts to increase capacity, support community programing and innovation and foster stronger, better connected land trusts. The grant is given in memory of Janice Hollmann, who exemplified citizen leadership of local land trusts in Maryland.
  • 2 Tree Planting on Agricultural Lands awards totaling $149,968, given to organizations that will implement cost-effective reforestation or afforestation projects on qualifying agricultural land. These projects will increase tree canopy, create forest habitat, provide livestock shade, improve water quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By increasing tree cover and expanding green areas, erosion can be reduced, water and soil quality can be improved, airborne pollutants such as particulates, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide can be filtered, and summer temperatures and resulting ozone pollution and energy use can be decreased.

2024 recipients of Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants include:

Anne Arundel County

Charting Careers Inc. – Community Stewardship Grant

Scenic Rivers Land Trust Inc. – Capacity Building for Land Trusts Grant

Chesapeake Rivers Association – Tree Planting on Agricultural Land Grant

Baltimore County

NeighborSpace of Baltimore County Inc. – Community Stewardship Grant

Gunpowder Valley Conservancy – Tree Planting on Agricultural Land and Hollmann grants

Calvert County

American Chestnut Land Trust Inc. – Capacity Building for Land Trusts Grant

Charles County

Conservancy for Charles County Inc.– Capacity Building for Land Trusts Grant

Imaginate – Community Stewardship Grant

Frederick County
Catoctin Land Trust – Capacity Building for Land Trusts Grant

Harford County

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway – Community Stewardship Grant

Howard County

GreenTrust Alliance Inc. – Capacity Building for Land Trusts Grant

Patapsco Heritage Greenway Inc. – Community Stewardship Grant

The Howard County Conservancy – Community Stewardship Grant

Prince George’s County

Alice Ferguson Foundation – Community Stewardship Grant

Choose Health. Be Happy Inc.– Community Stewardship Grant

St. Mary’s County
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust – Hughes Grant

Worcester County

Lower Shore Land Trust – Capacity Building for Land Trusts Grant

Details about the individual grants and their recipients can be found on the Maryland Environmental Trust – Keep Maryland Beautiful website