Financial and Technical Support for Working Waterfront Communities

​​A working waterfront intersects and complements a broad array of social and policy initiatives. These intersections represent one way of identifying potential sources of funding and assistance.

Some of the most likely intersections are:

  • Economic development: tourism, small business
  • Community development: jobs, housing, education, cultural heritage
  • Natural resources: resource-based industry development, rural industry initiatives, parks and reserves, open space, trails
  • Infrastructure: transport, maritime

The following provides a list of loans, grants, and subsidy programs that may support working waterfront preservation and enhancement.


Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF)

  • Objective: Provides flexible and broad-based grants, loans, and investments to support economic development initiatives. Uses include business attraction and retention, infrastructure support, brownfield redevelopment, arts and entertainment districts, and local strategic planning.
  • Benefits: Five financing capabilities are offered: strategic economic development, local economic development, direct assistance to local jurisdiction, regional or local revolving loan fund, and special purpose programs.
  • Eligibility: Projects within Priority Funding Areas and eligible industry sectors.


Economic Development Opportunities Fund (Sunny Day)

  • Objective: Supports extraordinary economic development opportunities that create and retain employment as well as create significant capital investment. Projects must generate significant jobs in areas of high unemployment; they are evaluated on a competitive basis.
  • Eligibility: Participants must provide a minimum capital investment of at least five times the amount of the Sunny Day assistance. Applicants must possess a strong balance sheet and be credit worthy.


State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

  • Objective: SSBCI is a component of the federal Small Business jobs Act of 2010 that created $1.5 billion in direct funding of state credit enhancement programs. Within the act, Maryland is allocated a total of $23 million available in three installments subject to performance
  • Eligibility: The funds must target an average borrower size of 500 employees or less, and loans averaging $5 million.

ADVANCE Maryland

  • Objective: In partnership with the National Center for Economic Gardening, ADVANCE Maryland is a program for second stage entrepreneurs and helps businesses address their unique challenges and identify new opportunities. The program provides a research team to support business opportunity analysis.
  • Eligibility: Be a for-profit, privately-held company headquartered in Maryland. Generate annual revenue or working capital of between $1million and $50 million. Employ 10 to 99 full time employees. Demonstrate growth or services beyond the local area to regional, national or global markets. Be referred by a participating economic development agency or Entrepreneur Support Organization.

Military Personnel and Veteran-owned Small Business Loan Program (MPVSBLP)

  • Objective: Provides no interest loans for businesses owned by military reservists, veterans, National Guard personnel and for small businesses that employ such persons.
  • Benefits: No interest loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. Loan maturity with be from one to eight years. The loan repayment period will not exceed the useful life expectancy of the equipment to be purchased.
  • Eligibility: Applicants include businesses owned by military reservists and National Guard members called to active duty, and small businesses with fewer that 50 employees.
  • For military personnel called to active duty, funds must be used for payment of identifiable costs of the business, including general business expenses, which result from the call to active duty. The loan may be made at anytime from the date of the call to duty through the period ending six months after the end of the individual’s active duty
  • For service-disabled veterans the purpose of the program is to assist with the cost of making the home, vehicle, or place of employment accessible and to defray other necessary expenses.


Maryland Resource-Based Industry Financing Fund Loan (MRBIFF)

  • Objective: The MRBIFF program makes available low-interest loans to qualified applicants for the purchase of land and capital equipment for business activities. Money may also be used to help finance environmental or water-quality enhancement projects.
  • Benefits: Can provide supplemental loan proceeds of up to 100% of amount of the commercial lender financing. The maximum loan amount is $200,00 for acquisition of equipment and fixed assets; $400,000 for real estate purchases and renewable energy projects; and $ 600,000 for large-scale food/fiber processing projects. Interests rates are 3.25% APR for the first 3 years, 4.5% for the next three years, and 5.75% for the remaining term of the loan.
  • Timeline: Loan applications are reviewed on an ongoing, funds-available basis. All applicants will receive a response within 30 days.


Maryland Shellfish Aquaculture Loan Fund

  • Objective: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has formed a partnership with the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) to provide affordable financing to watermen and other parties who want to start or expand commercial shellfish aquaculture operations in Maryland.
  • Benefits: Maryland’s aquaculture loan program is a subsidized program with all principal payments returning to a revolving fund to support future rounds of future funding.  The loan program also offers a partial loan forgiveness element for borrowers meeting certain performance conditions. MARBIDCO is pricing the loans at a fixed annual interest rate not to exceed 5%.
  • Eligibility: Persons holding State water column leases (or who have applied for water column leases) are eligible to apply, although some funding is limited to holders of a tidal fisheries license. In addition, all applicants must have production and business plans that demonstrate the financial feasibility of the planned aquaculture operation.
  • Organization: Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation.


Forestry Equipment and Working Capital Loan (FEWCL)

  • Objective: Offers low-interest loans to Maryland’s forest Products businesses with respect to working capital and equipment purchases.
  • Benefits: Loan interest does not exceed 10% ARP and the maximum loan amount is $150,000.
  • Eligibility: A letter of referral from a commercial leader is required.
  • Timeline: Loan applications are reviewed on an ongoing, funds-available basis. All applicants will receive a response within 30 days.

Maryland Value Added Producer Matching Grant Program (MVAPMG)

  • Objective: Established to make grants available to those pursuing financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value Added Producer Grants Program.
  • Benefits: Grant amount is set at up to 15% of the matching funds required under the USDA VAPG, with a maximum of $15,000 for planning grants and $30,000 for working capital grants.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be an independent producer, agricultural producer group, farmer or ranch cooperative, or majority-controlled producer-based business ventures that have applied for a USDA VAPG. In addition, applicants must be making a product that is “value added,” A value-added product has an incremental value realized by the producer as a result of: 1) change in physical state; 2) differentiated production or marketing; 3) product segregation; and 4) economic benefit realized from the production of farm-or ranch-based renewable energy. MARBICO MVAPMG monetary awards will only be provided to those applicants that are actually successful in obtaining a USDA VAPG.
  • Organization: Maryland Agricultural and Resource Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO)
  • Timeline: the MARBIDCO deadline is two weeks prior to the federal USDA VAPG deadline.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Intermediary Relending Program (IRP)

  • Objective: The purpose of the IRP program is to alleviate poverty and increase economic activity and employment in rural activities. Loans are provided to local organizations (Intermediaries) for the establishment of revolving loan funds.
  • Benefits: Provides 1% low interest loans to local intermediaries that re-lend to businesses and for community development projects in rural communities. Maximum term is 30 years and interest-only payments may be permitted for the first 3 years. Up to $2 million in funds for the first financing is available to intermediaries. Up to $1 million is available thereafter. The maximum loan amount available to ultimate recipients is $250,000, or 75% of the total cost of the project.
  • Eligibility: The following are eligible to be an intermediary lender: nonprofits and cooperatives, federally-recognized tribes, and public agencies. The following are eligible to apply for a loan from the intermediary lender as an ultimate recipient: public of private organizations, or other legal entities. These entities are only eligible given tat majority ownership is held by U.S. citizens or permanent residents; the applicant is unable to obtain affordable commercial financing for the project elsewhere; are located in an eligible rural area; the applicant has no legal or financial interest or influence over the intermediary.


Rural Business Energy Efficiency Program

  • Objective: Facilitates The purchase of equipment or technology related to lowering business-related energy consumption.
  • Benefits: Grants of up to 10% (not to exceed $1,000) of the cost of purchasing and installing equipment technology related to lowering business-related energy consumption are offered.
  • Eligibility: Must be a farm or rural business and provide a report by a qualified third party energy consultant.
  • Timeline: Loan applications are reviewed on an ongoing, funds-available basis. All applicants will receive a response within 30 days.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program Grants (REAP)

  • Objective: This program helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.
  • Benefits: Loan guarantees on loans up to 75% of eligible project costs, grants for up to 25% of total eligible project costs, and combined grant and loan guarantee funding up to 75% of total eligible project costs are available.
  • The loan guarantee terms require the loan to be valued at a minimum of $5,000 and maximum of $25 million.
  • The renewable energy system grants range from $2,500 to $500,000. The energy efficiency grants range from $1,500 to $250,000.
  • Eligibility: Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and small businesses in eligible rural areas may apply.


Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

  • Objective: provides funding to commercial and industrial economic development projects. Funds are dispersed to a local jurisdiction in the form of a conditional grant and then used for public improvements or loaned to a business.
  • Benefits: The use of funds is broad and includes the acquisition of fixed assets, infrastructure, and feasibility studies.
  • Eligibility: Projects must create jobs with the majority targeted to individuals of low to moderate income, or eliminate blight conditions that impede commercial and industrial development.
  • Organization: Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development

Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program

  • Objective: The purpose of state and federal preservation tax incentives is to encourage private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings and to promote investment in local economies.
  • Benefits: If you own a certified historic property in Maryland, you may have the opportunity to earn a state income tax credit on qualified rehabilitation expenditures. Whether you are planning to rehabilitate your primary or secondary residence or a commercial property, there are state incentives that may help.
  • Eligibility: Individuals and small businesses located in Sustainable Communities.

Base Realignment and Consolidation Revitalization and Incentive Zone (BRAC)

  • Objective: Focuses growth in areas that are already designated for growth; provide local governments with financial assistance for public infrastructure in these well-defined areas; and align other state resources and programs to local governments and businesses located in the BRAC zones.
  • Benefits: Local jurisdiction receives: payment of 100% of state real property tax increment on quality properties; payment of 50% of the local jurisdiction’s real property ta increment on qualified properties; and priority consideration for financing assistance for projects or operations from various state agencies. Funds can be used to pay back bonds, including tax Increment Financing bonds, issued for infrastructure improvements.
  • Eligibility: County Applicant- A county may apply for designation of a BRAC Zone, but if any portion of the area is within a municipal corporation, must obtain municipal consent.
  • Municipal Applicant- A municipality may apply for designation of a BRAC Zone but priority consideration will be given to municipal applicants that receive County support.
  • Two or more political subdivisions may jointly apply for designation of a BRAC Zone if portions of the proposed area are within each of their common boundaries
  • Organization: Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
  • Timeline: Deadlines are April 15th and October 15th each year.

Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority (MIDFA)

  • Objective: Encourages private sector financing in economic development projects located in Priority Funding Areas.
  • Benefits: Provides private activity revenue bonds and credit insurance. Bonds include taxable bonds and tax-exempt bonds. Credit insurance includes the conventional program, which insures up to 80%, not to exceed $2.5 million of transaction made by a financial institution. Export transactions may be insured up to 90%. Credit insurance also includes a bond program, which insures bonds up to 100%, not to exceed $7.5 million of taxable or tax exempt bonds.
  • Eligibility: MIDAF can be used for land acquisition, building acquisition, construction costs, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, leasehold improvements, certain eligible “soft costs,” energy related projects, and working capital.
  • Organizations must be commercial and industrial businesses in a Priority Funding Area, manufacturers, non-profit entities, and day care providers.
  • Organization: Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development

Maryland Capital Access Program

  • Objective: Provide revitalization resources to support the growth and success of small businesses in Priority Funding Areas throughout the State of Maryland.
  • Benefits: This is a credit enhancement program that enables private lenders to establish a loan loss reserve fund from fees paid by lenders, borrowers, and the State of Maryland. Communities that have small businesses receiving financing through loans enrolled will benefit from new or expanded services provided by the small businesses. The lender underwrites and enrolls an appropriate loan (or portion of a loan). Enrolled amounts may range from $10,000 to $1,000,000.
  • Eligibility: Borrowers must be located in a Maryland Priority Funding Area.
  • Organization: Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development


National Park Service Maritime Heritage Grants

  • Objective:  Funding available for education or preservation projects
  • Benefits: The Grants Program is designed to support maritime heritage education projects and preservation projects which address different types of education or preservation activities focusing on various historic maritime resources There are seven basic categories of Education Project activities and four basic categories of Preservation Project activities. Education and Preservation project categories serve as the basic guideline for identifying the types of projects and maritime resources which are eligible for funding considerations and for which proposals may be submitted.
  • Eligibility: Any State, Federally-recognized Tribal, or local government, or private nonprofit organization may apply for grants to support their maritime heritage education or preservation activities.
  • Organization:  National Park Service

Recreational Trails Program Grants

  • Objective: Funding available for community-based, motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects.
  • Benefits:  Activities eligible for funding within this program include; maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trail development and rehabilitation of trailside facilities and trail linkages; purchase and lease of trail construction equipment; construction of new trails; acquisition of easements or property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors; implementation of interpretive/educational programs to promote intrinsic qualities, safety, and environmental protection, as those objectives relate to the use of recreational trails.
  • Eligibility: Projects can be sponsored by a county or municipal government, a private non-profit agency, a community group or an individual (non-governmental agencies must secure an appropriate government agency as a co-sponsor).
  • Organization: Maryland State Highway Administration


Cultural Resource Hazard Mitigation Grants

  • Objective: The Cultural Resources Hazard Mitigation Program is aimed at protecting historic places, archeological sites, and cultural landscapes from the effects of natural hazards, such as flooding, wind and coastal erosion.
  • Benefits: Theprogram provides funding in support of non-capital activities that will assist eligible applicants in preparing for and reducing impacts from natural hazards (e.g. flood, wind, earthquake, coastal erosion) to historical or cultural resources. Such resources include, but are not limited to: historic buildings, structures (e.g., lighthouses, roads, canals), objects (e.g., memorials, statues), or sites; museums, archives and other repositories of artifacts or historic records; archeological sites; traditional cultural properties, and cultural landscapes.
  • Eligibility: Local governments and non-profit organizations
  • Organization: Maryland Historical Trust


Maryland Heritage Areas Program Grants

  • Objective:  Grants designed to support economic development through the promotion, creation and support of heritage tourism products.
  • Benefits: Grants can support projects involving historical, cultural or natural resources, sites, events or facilities.
  • Eligibility: Government entities and non-profit organizations, projects must be located in a Heritage Area.


Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund (MEAF)

  • Objective: Assists business entities in the state with modernization of manufacturing operations, development of commercial applications for technology, and exploring and entering new markets.
  • Benefits: Funds can be used for working capital machinery and equipment, building renovations, real estate acquisitions, and site improvements.
  • Eligibility: Eligible businesses include manufacturers, wholesalers, service companies, and skilled trades. Applicants must demonstrate credit worthiness, ability to repay the obligation, and an inability to obtain financing on affordable terms through normal lending channels.
  • Organization: Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development

Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA)

  • Objective: Provides financing for small businesses that are not able to qualify for financing from private lending institutions or owned by socially and economically disadvantaged persons.
  • Benefits: A private contractor manages the four MSBDFA components and DBED provides financing for the approved small business: contracting financing program, equity participation program, long term guaranty program, surety bonding program.
  • MSBDFA uses include working capital, supplies and materials, machinery and equipment acquisition, land acquisition or real estate improvements. Other uses include the purchase of an existing franchise, construction or renovation and franchise fees or obtaining bid, performance and payment bonds for contracts, which receive the majority of their funding from federal, state or local government.
  • Eligibility: Clients include all small businesses unable to obtain adequate financing on reasonable terms through normal channels.
  • Organization: Meridian Management Group, Inc.

USFWS Boating Infrastructure Grant Program

  • Objective:  The Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) provides grant funds to the states, the District of Columbia and insular areas to construct, renovate, and maintain tie-up facilities with features for transient boaters in vessels 26 feet or more in length, and to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program.
  • Benefits:  The BIG Program includes two funding tiers, Tier One (non-competitive) and Tier Two (nationally competitive). Under Tier One each state, the D.C. and insular area may receive funding for eligible projects up to $200,000 annually. Tier Two funds are made available through a nationally competitive process. Tier Two proposals received are reviewed, evaluated and ranked by a national panel with the final decision for funding made by the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Eligibility: The governmental agency designated by each respective governor is eligible to participate in the BIG Program. The governmental agency may partner with local governments, private marinas and others to fund eligible projects.
  • Organization:  US Fish and Wildlife Service

Waterway Improvement Fund

  • Objective:  The Waterway Improvement Fund was established in 1966 (Annotated Code of Maryland Sec. 8-707 of the State Boat Act) for the purpose of funding projects which improve and promote the recreational and commercial capabilities, conditions and safety of Maryland's waterways for the benefit of the general boating public.
  • Eligibility:  Local Governments
  • Organization:  Maryland Department of Natural Resources



[Taken from “Appendix 1: Resource Guide” in the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center Report, “Building a Framework for Sustainable Working Waterfronts: Cambridge, Maryland”]​​