Gender Rights Maryland

An Update from the Board of Directors

With the passing of the Labor Day weekend and the steady cooling of the weather, it starts to feel like summer is coming to a close. As we head into a busy fall season preparing the 2012 legislative session, the Board of Equality Maryland would like to update you on where the organization stands and what your support has allowed us to accomplish in the past three months.

After announcing in late May that the organization was in a serious financial crisis, the five remaining board members put a laser-focus on rebuilding an Equality Maryland into an organization everyone in Maryland can be proud of. We began by creating a short-term strategic plan to guide us through the work that needed to be completed. While we're not done yet, it has brought us to a place of stability and confidence in our future.

FINANCES.  We are pleased to report that we will end August debt-free and with enough resources in the bank to meet our operating expenses for the next two months.  We also have a new budget for the remainder of the year and a plan in place to continue that trend.  We simply couldn’t have done this without the generous support of many individual donors, and specifically the Gill Foundation and Proteus Fund. And keep your eyes open for a very exciting announcement soon about our ongoing fundraising efforts.

On Wednesday this week, we are honored to host a reception recognizing Gov. O’Malley and all of Maryland’s statewide elected officials for their support of marriage and full legal equality for all LGBT people.  It’s not too late to late to purchase tickets to attend this one-of-a-kind event.

GOVERNANCE.  Based on responses from nearly 2,000 people through our Listening Tours and Community Survey, it was clear that a change in the governance of Equality Maryland had to be a priority. In addition to revising our bylaws and other internal policies, reconstituting the board was on the top of the list. To ensure community input in the process, we convened a Nominations Committee made up entirely of non-board members.  Senator Rich Madaleno and Erin Leveton led a public call for Board applications and vetted over 30 submissions.  By the end of September we expect to seat nearly a dozen new board members to guide the organization into the future.  We look forward to announcing the new board as soon as they are seated.

STAFFING.  In addition to growing the board, a Search Committee was formed to identify the next Executive Director of Equality Maryland.  Comprised of board members, a corporate HR professional, non-profit executives, and a Maryland community activist, this committee has gone through an exhaustive process to recruit the organization’s next leader.  Interviews are just beginning and the new board will select the final candidate in early October.  We look forward to announcing this individual as soon as the selection is complete.

MISSION.  With all of the internal organizational focus this summer, we want you to know that the important advocacy and programmatic work was not unattended.  Thanks to the organizing work of Owen Smith and the Transgender Working Group, Equality Maryland will host a Transgender Advocacy and Empowerment workshop in Baltimore on September 10-11, 2011.  Check out the registration page if you’re interested in attending. We are also working with Gender Rights Maryland and the Marylanders for Marriage campaign to be ready for the legislative session.  And finally, we continue to partner with national organizations – most recently to call on Senator Mikulski to co-sponsor the federal Respect for Marriage Act.  We’ve been told to stay-tuned for an announcement from Senator Mikulski after the Senate reconvenes in September.

It has been a demanding and vital summer for Equality Maryland. We are confident that the efforts exerted in the last three months, and the work the organization will do through the end of the year, will position us for the advocacy and education work that lies ahead. We'll continue to update you on our progress and hope that you will continue to support the work of Equality Maryland, now and into the future.

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