State awards nearly $2 million to support community clean-up and beautification
First Lady Yumi Hogan highlighted first-year accomplishments and launched a new transit advertising campaign for the Keep Maryland Beautiful program in a ceremony held at the Annapolis Maritime Museum’s Back Creek Nature Park Campus. Officials also announced awards of nearly $2 million to support community clean-up initiatives and workforce development.
“Keep Maryland Beautiful encourages local activism and volunteerism for a cleaner and more beautiful community,” said First Lady Yumi Hogan. “With this new advertising campaign, we want to promote pride in our state and remind our citizens that by working together, they can make a difference in their neighborhoods and change Maryland for the better.”
A cooperative multi-agency partnership led by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Keep Maryland Beautiful program focuses on neighborhood beautification through increasing greening, citizen stewardship, community education, and litter removal. Keep Maryland Beautiful is the officially designated state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to volunteer-based community improvement.
Joined by Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman, and other state officials, the First Lady unveiled a sneak preview of new Keep Maryland Beautiful advertising to be featured on the interior and exterior of Maryland Transit Administration buses, as well as bus station platforms. Secretary Holt announced a number of Keep Maryland Beautiful program awards and initiatives, including:
- Over $300,000 in Keep Maryland Beautiful grants to approximately 70 local governments, nonprofits, community organizations, schools, and land trusts to support cleaning and greening activities, environmental education and stewardship practices. The grants are administered by the Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and funded by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Department of Transportation.
- Awards of up to $350,000 each to Living Classrooms Foundation, Inc. and CivicWorks Inc. to support their workforce development training programs to provide commercial façade and cleaning and greening improvements.
- A Community Legacy program award of $500,000 to purchase 15 new all-terrain litter vehicles to pick up trash in Baltimore City.
- Funding in the amount of $380,000 from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Center for Restoration Finance to support park improvements and development in the Darley Park and Druid Heights neighborhoods.
- More than $100,000 combined from the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to fund clean-up crews for Baltimore City trash hotspots and gateways into and out of the city.
“Keep Maryland Beautiful has had an extremely successful first year thanks in large part to facilitating partnerships,” said Secretary Holt. “Its foundation is the great relationship between the state and Keep America Beautiful and the cooperative efforts of multiple state agencies and organizations.”
“Our department is proud to be a partner in this outstanding way for communities to engage in environmental education, neighborhood beautification, and stewardship of natural resources,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “I’m encouraged by the success and continued growth of Keep Maryland Beautiful.”
In recognition of the Keep Maryland Beautiful program’s rapid implementation and success, Ms. Lowman announced that the 2019 Keep America Beautiful National Conference will be held in Baltimore City. The conference is the premier annual educational and networking forum presented by Keep America Beautiful for its affiliate network, partner organizations, and corporate sponsors. The conference attracts nearly 400 attendees and provides professional development and training in the best practices of litter prevention, recycling, and environmental stewardship.
For more information about Keep Maryland Beautiful, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/KeepMDBeautiful.