Free State Legal, which provides legal services to low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in the Baltimore area, is seeking a "passionate and visionary" new leader following the announced departure of its executive director.
Aaron Merki, who helped co-found the nonprofit organization in 2007, has been in the role for the last two years, overseeing several victories. Last month, the group announced it had helped win coverage of transition-related care for transgender state employees under their state health plans.
Merki will continue in his role as executive director until October while the organization searches for his replacement.
The 31-year-old attorney said he left the firm Venable two years ago to help get Free State "off the ground," and has accomplished that goal.
"It's in fantastic shape, and I'm super excited about the work it's doing and will continue to do," he said.
He is leaving for a position with the philanthropic Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, he said, where he will be working on "a mixture of stuff" -- including improving living conditions for the city's aging population.
He'll remain based in Baltimore, but will also be doing work in Hawaii and Israel, where the foundation -- which is based in Owings Mills -- also works, he said.
In a statement on Merki's tenure at Free State, Shannon Avery, the group's chair and a judge in Baltimore, praised him for his leadership.
Merki said a search committee to find his replacement has attracted "fantastic candidates" from across the country already, and he will be "intimately involved in the transition process."
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