Equality Maryland reorganized its leadership and launched a new fundraising campaign this weekend amid financial difficulties that forced the state's advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to consider shuttering, officials said.
The directors of the 27-year-old group voted to continue operations, and elected transitional leadership including Keith Thirion as acting director. Lawrence S. Jacobs will serve as chairman of the Equality Maryland board of directors and Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein was named board chairwoman for the group's foundation.
"Now is not the time to stop our work, it's the time to build on our successes," the organization said in a statement Monday. "We must ensure that Equality Maryland remains the advocacy voice for Maryland's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Annapolis, local governments, and agencies across the state.
"From strengthening protections for LGBT youth and parental rights to being the watchdog holding Governor Hogan and General Assembly members accountable to our community, there is a clear need for the political power Equality Maryland has built."
The group hopes to raise $25,000 as soon as possible, and aims to net $50,000 in donations by the end of the year, in the "Save Equality Maryland" campaign. It also is seeking members for a fundraising and events committee and a community advisory committee. Anyone interested may email email@example.com.