France-Merrick Foundation appoints new executive director

Amy Michelle Gross has been appointed to replace Robert W. Schaefer as executive director of the France-Merrick Foundation, the Baltimore-based charity announced Tuesday.

Schaefer is retiring after 17 years leading the area's fourth largest charitable organization with more than $200 million in assets. Established in 1959, the foundation is charged with improving Baltimore's quality of life.

"It is a bittersweet time for our foundation," said Wally Pinkard, president of the France-Merrick Foundation, in a statement. "We are losing a leader who has been rock solid for each of the past 17 years. At the same time we are gaining, in Amy Gross, a seasoned professional, with keen insights on many of our foundation's areas of focus."

Gross will join France-Merrick on June 10, coming from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation where she has been program director since 2006. At that foundation, Gross focused on education, children, youth and families, playing a key role in the creation of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project, a collaboration involving 12 Baltimore City Public School libraries, with over 30 partners and leveraging $17 million in public and private funds.

"I am honored to have been selected by the France-Merrick Foundation to serve as their Executive Director," Gross said in a statement. "I am excited to be part of, and help build upon, the Foundation's legacy in the community."

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