The Maryland Public Interest Research Group Foundation, also known as MaryPIRG Foundation, is a left of center advocacy organization that was founded in 1975, is the “charitable” research and policy arm of its sister lobbying organization, the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG).
The foundation does research and collects data for MaryPIRG to use for its lobbying and advocacy. The foundation researches and reports on a variety of different issues, including campaign finance, environmentalism, public health, transportation, and consumer protection.
MaryPIRG Foundation released a report of statistics to advocate restrictions on election-related speech. This report showed that over the last three election cycles governor candidates raised $70.1 million and that the majority share of that money came from donations commonly from businesses, individuals, and other factions not qualified to vote in Maryland. 1 It also showed that most Marylanders do not contribute financially in elections. 2
In 2005, the MaryPIRG Foundation was involved in a joint call on then-Governor Robert Ehrlich (R) to fund programs to help farmers implement conversation practices. One of its advocates at the time, Jennifer Dangel, participated and the argument of the participants was based on a report released by the MaryPIRG Foundation called “Healthy Farms for a Healthy Bay: The Benefits of Agricultural Conservation Programs.” In this report the MaryPIRG Foundation demanded the state of Maryland to do two things: “Fund the Tributary Strategy recommendations for agriculture by providing funding for state cost-share programs for agricultural conservation. Require the poultry producers to provide more financial assistance to growers in managing their manure.” 3iv
On June 22, 2018, the MaryPIRG Foundation was one of ten different groups that filed an amicus curiae brief in support of a Montgomery Country, Maryland ordinance from 2015 that banned the use of certain pesticides on public and private land within the jurisdiction of the county. The law was on appeal from a ruling in August 2017 from the Circuit Court that rejected certain features of the ordinance that related to private property. 4
The MaryPIRG Foundation released a report in 2003, in which it details its argument for why Maryland should construct an integrated rail system in the city of Baltimore. It claims that increasing access to the downtown areas the rail system could encourage the development of underused or underdeveloped sections of the city and make them more desirable. 5
In April 2020, the MaryPIRG Foundation released a report in which it discusses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB system grants consumers the ability to report issues related to their financial service providers. This report argues that CFPB system needs to be upgraded and expanded upon due to the economic distress that consumers are facing because of the coronavirus pandemic. 6vii
Matt Curtis is the vice president, senior communications manager, and creative director. He directs the Public Interest Network’s in-house creative team, where he focuses on content strategy, concept development, web design, graphic design, and data visualization. 11
- Kurtz, Josh. “Study Outlines Influence of Big Money in Md. Elections – Maryland Matters.” Maryland Matters. Last modified February 19, 2020. https://www.marylandmatters.org/blog/study-outlines-influence-of-big-money-in-md-elections/.
- “Big Money in Maryland Elections.” Maryland PIRG | Standing Up to Powerful Interests. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://marylandpirg.org/reports/mdp/big-money-maryland-elections.
- “Environmental Groups and Farmers Join Together To Call for Chesapeake Bay Funding.” The Baltimore Chronicle. Last modified November 29, 2005. https://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2005/112905MaryPIRG.html.
- “Groups File Amicus in Support of Montgomery County, MD Pesticide Restrictions.” Center for Food Safety. Last modified June 22, 2018. https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/1044/rbgh/press-releases/5363/groups-file-amicus-in-support-of-montgomery-county-md-pesticide-restrictions.
- Ridlington, Elizabeth. “Rail Transit Works.” Maryland PIRG Foundation | Foundation. Last modified Spring 2003. https://marylandpirgfoundation.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/MD-Rail-Transit-Works-text.pdf.
- “Putting Consumers First.” Maryland PIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests. Last modified April 2020. https://marylandpirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/Issue-Brief_CFPB-Complaints_April-2020.pdf.
- “Emily Scarr.” Maryland PIRG Foundation | Foundation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://marylandpirgfoundation.org/staff/mdp/emily-scarr.
- “Ed Mierzwinski.” Maryland PIRG Foundation | Foundation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://marylandpirgfoundation.org/staff/xxp/ed-mierzwinski.[/note]
Susan Rakov is the senior vice president of the Public Interest Network and is the managing director of the Frontier Group. the Frontier Group is the policy and research development arm of the Public Interest Network. 8“Susan Rakov.” Maryland PIRG Foundation | Foundation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://marylandpirgfoundation.org/staff/usp/susan-rakov.
- “Wendy Wendlandt.” Maryland PIRG Foundation | Foundation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://marylandpirgfoundation.org/staff/usp/wendy-wendlandt.
- “Matt Curtis.” Maryland PIRG Foundation | Foundation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://marylandpirgfoundation.org/staff/usp/matt-curtis-0.