Dos And Don’ts

This is how to wrap up your organization’s mission with dignity and class.

How ecstatic is Evan Wolfson, given that he is soon to be unemployed and that the organization he founded, nurtured and helmed is shuttering for good?

“I feel exuberant and happy and proud and lucky and gratified,” he says, sitting in Freedom to Marry’s sunny Chelsea office.
More? “I just feel this wave upon wave upon wave of love. I’m inundated with love, and it hasn’t stopped.”
Although the path to legal same-sex marriage appeared swift, it took more than three decades for the self-described “Mr. Marriage” to get to this moment of unrestrained bliss. He now oversees the rare nonprofit organization that will go out of business because of resounding success.

Here’s how not to do it.

Equality Maryland in a statement said the board elected a transitional board that Larry Jacobs will chair. Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein will chair the Equality Maryland Foundation’s board of directors, while Keith Thirion will remain the organization’s acting director and only full-time staff member. A board member donated office space after Equality Maryland closed its Baltimore location on July 31.

“Yesterday the directors of Equality Maryland voted to continue the organization’s work to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Marylanders,” said Equality Maryland in a statement it released on Monday. “This move comes after Equality Maryland admitted its financial difficulties, and heard a strong response identifying many needs left to be addressed in achieving legal equality and reducing anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination.”

New interim board chair Larry Jacobs asks rhetorically:

“I didn’t believe that we could just rest on our laurels and say, well Equality Maryland was great in its day and it got us marriage,” Jacobs told the Blade. “It was extremely important to keep the organization alive.”

Why? And to do what? Clearly the donor base doesn’t agree - the EM fiscal crisis has been going on for almost five years. And if Evan Wolfson and Freedom to Marry can bring the curtain down with such class, surely Equality Maryland should be following suit.

The End of Equality MD?

This has been rumored for months, but today comes an email that acknowledges the impending demise of once-great LGBT organization Equality Maryland.

The Board of Directors of Equality Maryland and its Foundation reluctantly announced today that, as a result of declining revenues, it is taking action to either reduce operations next month, or cease operations. Despite continued policy advocacy and educational programming, funding sources for the organization have dwindled in recent years following victories on such major issues as marriage equality and a transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination law.

The email also reveals a fact that was undisclosed until today. Executive Director Carrie Evans was supposedly laid off on June 5, although no statement to this effect was ever made at the time and the organization has continued to raise money from donors unaware of Equality Maryland’s dire financial circumstances - until today.

The entire Equality Maryland email is below. It appears that very soon we’ll be saying RIP to Equality Maryland. I’ll choose to celebrate the former leadership of the group by Dan Furmansky and later Morgan Meneses-Sheets.