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Equality Maryland announced on Thursday, June 23, that the organization will not be renewing contracts with the organization’s field director Damon Hainline, field organizer Karess Taylor-Hughes and the communications manager Linsey Pecikonis, beyond June 30. Remaining on staff through July, a month in which the organization will focus on fundraising, will be one field organizer Owen Smith, office manager Kim Miller, and interim executive director Lynne Bowman.
“Since May, the board, staff, and contractors with Equality Maryland have worked diligently to reduce expenses and increase revenue,” said Lisa Polyak, Acting Chair of Equality Maryland, Inc. “As a result of this work and the financial support of both previous and new donors, we are pleased to be ending June in a better position than we previously expected. However, the board must continue to take the necessary and difficult steps that align with our new strategic plan in order to move the organization forward. Linsey, Damon, and Karess all did an excellent job during their time with Equality Maryland and we wish them the best.”
Equality Marland also announced that it will unveil a six-month strategic plan, designed to help the organization survive its current financial crisis, on its official website on June 27:
“Over the past two months, the remaining members of the board have undertaken a thorough process of self-evaluation,” said Patrick Wojahn, Chair of Equality Maryland Foundation, which leads the organization’s education efforts. “Through individual conversations, over a dozen Listening Tour stops and more than 1,200 responses to our online survey, we have actively gathered input about what people want to see from their statewide equality organization. We have coupled that input with the results of a comprehensive internal review and developed a strong six-month plan that will allow Equality Maryland to become the organization it must be in order to achieve legislative and cultural equality in our state.”
Highlights of the plan include the creation of an external nominations committee to manage the growth of the boards of directors; a shift in funding away from gifts from large national donors and toward more support from individual donors across the state; action around member participation in decision-making; and a renewed commitment to work in coalition to see both marriage and fully inclusive gender identity nondiscrimination legislation passed in Maryland.