Equality Maryland Board President Resigns, as Interim ED's Focus Shifts

Posted by Yusef Najafi
May 31, 2011 8:01 PM |

2011-05-24_news_6264_6229.jpgLast week Equality Maryland announced that it is currently in the midst of a financial crisis, and that it needs about $25,000 a month to maintain its staff and pay for rent of its Baltimore headquarters.

Today, Monday, May 31, in an e-mail message, Equality Maryland announced the resignation of its board president Charles Butler, board president of Equality Maryland Inc., the lobbying arm of Equality Maryland, while a "new chair person has yet to be named."

"Chuck led Equality Maryland through a very difficult five month period," Patrick Wojahn, board chair of Equality Maryland Foundation, the organization's educational arm, says in the release.  "He gave more hours to this organization than anyone will ever know and we will always be grateful for both his recent leadership and his long-term service to Equality Maryland."

According to Equality Maryland's web site, the remaining board consists of At Large members Darrell Carrington, David Lublin, and Mark Yost, Jr.; treasurer Rosemary Nicolosi; and secretary and vice chair Lisa Polyak. 

Wojahn confirms that those board members remain active. He adds that Polyak will serve as temporary chair and spokesperson of that board until a new chair is brought in.

Regarding the status of interim executive director Lynne Bowman, who came in to the organization in April to help stabilize it, earning about $7,000 per month for her work, the release states that her duties have changed: 

Part of the immediate change includes the development of a new contract with interim executive director, Lynne Bowman.  Effective June 1, Bowman's focus will shift from external outreach and programmatic involvement, to management of internal operations and an increased role directly supporting the board's efforts to revamp the organization.  As part of the new contract, Bowman will work at a reduced fee and spend half of the month in Baltimore and the other half working virtually from Ohio.  She will be contracted on a month-to-month basis.

[UPDATE 8:53 PM: Despite the shift in Bowman's duties, Wojahn tells Metro Weekly Equality Maryland will not be seeking help from an external fundraising expert. Instead the organization will be looking to its board, members and staff for help.]

Equality Maryland's board is slated to meet to develop a short-term strategic plan, according to the release, to help the organization function through the end of the year. The board will publicize that plan when it is ready, according to Wojahn. 

In addition to a renewed focus on fundraising with individual donors, it is expected that the plan will also address ways to increase and diversify the membership of the board of Equality Maryland, enhance community involvement in the direction-setting and decision-making of the organization, and identify ways to tighten internal operations and governance. 

[Photo: Wojahn (Photo by Yusef Najafi.)]

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