MD-SERI: Main Street


The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is administering funding for the Governor’s Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative (MD-SERI).

DHCD’s MD-SERI MAIN STREET will be a grant program for the state’s 33 designated Main Street Maryland communities and Baltimore City’s 8 designated Main Street neighborhoods to support the economic recovery of local Main Street businesses and the economic development of Maryland communities. This NOFA pertains only to the funding allocation for MD-SERI Main Street and provides a preview of the application which is projected to be available online. TBD – MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON 

Separate NOFAs for Tourism Nonprofits and Entertainment Venues are also available from DHCD:

Applicant Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to apply, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must be an IRS determined nonprofit organization or the local government sponsor of one the state’s 33 designated Main Street Maryland programs
  • Must be an IRS determined nonprofit organization of one of Baltimore City’s 8 designated Main Street neighborhoods
  • Organizations that are in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT)
  • Financially viable nonprofits whose operations will continue forward

Eligible Uses of Funds:

  • Existing and/or planned small business relief grant programs, administered by the applicant, that provide/will provide Main Street businesses assistance with costs related to capital improvements and/or operating in order for the business to continue to safely operate, expand operations and/or adapt their business model to respond to changes due to COVID19 restrictions and prevention. 
  • No more than 15% of the requested funds may be used for operating support that will specifically benefit Main Street businesses such as training, technical assistance and/or marketing efforts such as, but not limited to: assisting Main Street businesses establish online sales, design and merchandise training to adapt retail space to accommodate COVID requirements, providing small business counseling or offering a buy local/gift card program to support Main Street businesses

Any awarded funds for relief grants to businesses should be awarded and deployed as soon as possible and any funds utilized for Main Street operating support to benefit businesses should also be deployed as soon as possible, but no later than April 30, 2021.

Funding Criteria:

The maximum grant request amount is $500,000 and the minimum amount is $75,000.

Requested funding amounts should be based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate the impact and leverage of their existing or planned COVID relief fund for businesses, the demand for additional operating resources (training, technical assistance and/or marketing) to support Main Street businesses and the applicant’s ability to award funds and/or resources to businesses immediately.

  • Only applications that are fully complete at submission will be considered for funding. 
  • Requests to fund small business relief grant programs must specifically provide the following information about their COVID relief program for Main Street businesses (a) program criteria, including eligible applicants and eligible projects/activities, (b) amount of current funding available via the program if applicable and how awards are determined, (c) summary of awards to date and (d) details on the need for additional funds and how those funds would be distributed. Awards must be made to businesses as soon as possible. 
  • DHCD’s MD-SERI Main Street is a competitive funding opportunity and individual grant amounts may be reduced relative to requests and also based on the impact of the applicant’s current business relief programs if applicable and ability to deploy funds responsibly and as soon as possible.

Application Process:

  • NOFA release: Wednesday, October 28 
  • Projected on-line NORI application portal opens: TBD – MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON
  • Application portal closes: TBD at the latest; the portal may close if or when grant requests exceed available funding
  • Funding announcements on a rolling basis beginning no later than November 30, 2020.

Applicants will be required to register with the Maryland OneStop Portal. OneStop is the central hub for Maryland State licenses, forms, certificates, permits, applications, and registrations​.

It is recommended that applicants register in advance of the application round opening.

Application Requirements:

In addition to basic organizational information, such as the organization’s official mission statement, the following information and attachments will be required in the on-line application in order for an application to be considered complete. Space to answer will be very limited; it is recommended that applicants prepare answers and gather required attachments in advance of the November 2 opening of the on-line application.

  1. Organizational Summary: A brief description of the organization’s (a) recent accomplishments in the past year, (b) information about the organization’s efforts to provide support to Main Street businesses since the COVID19 pandemic began (c) current financial condition and ability to continue operations. 
  2. COVID Impact and Business Relief: A brief summary of (a) the overall impact to Main Street businesses and the Main Street district, using specific dollar amounts as much as possible, due to COVID19 for the period March 1 through December 30, 2020 (b) how the organization would utilize any MD-SERI awarded funds to provide resources and/or grants to Main Street businesses to sustain operations and/or adjust operations to be able to address COVID restrictions and prevention moving forward and (c) any COVID19 relief funding, including name of program and amount of the award, that the applicant has received to date 
  3. Budget/Use of Funds: A simple budget form will be provided in the on-line application in which the applicant will individually list each proposed use(s) of requested funds.

Application Attachments:

All of the following attachments will be required in the on-line application in order for the application to be considered complete:

  • Application, guidelines, award criteria and summary of process for determining awards for the existing or planned grant program for Main Street businesses. 
  • Timeline and strategy for implementing requested operating funds to provide resources (training, technical assistance and/or marketing) to Main Street businesses 
  •  IRS Determination Letter of nonprofit status, if applicable 
  • Online verification of Certificate of Good Standing from the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation. 
  • IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification