The Moving Maryland Forward Network is made up of Leaders, collaboratively working on Campaigns to ensure fairness, equality and justice for all Marylanders. Our Network is growing, and we are always looking for new Leaders to join us. If you are interested in applying for leadership in MMFN, or would like to suggest a candidate for leadership, please let us know via the online application.
Neil Bergsman is director of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute. From 2004 until 2007, he was the chief financial officer of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Neil served in the Maryland Department of Budget and Management from 1988 to 2004 – as state budget director for six of those years. From 1985 to 1988, he was an analyst for the Maryland legislature.
Neil was the president of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) for 2002-2003. He has conducted trainings and made presentations for organizations, including Maryland Nonprofits, the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices, and many other groups. Neil holds a master’s degree in public management from the University of Maryland. He is currently a Public Policy doctoral student at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Senior Policy Advocate, Job Opportunities Task Force
Melissa is the Senior Policy Advocate for the Job Opportunities Task Force, a nonprofit workforce intermediary that develops and advocates policies and programs to increase the skills, job opportunities, and incomes of low-skill, low-income workers and job seekers. Melissa has significant knowledge and experience in government relations, legislative strategy, and coalition building, and is directly responsible for advancing JOTF's public policy agenda. Her duties include prompting public debate, testifying before the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, meeting regularly with legislators and administration officials, and representing JOTF in the media and through her involvement in various statewide coalitions. She has been instrumental in successfully championing legislation related to workplace flexible leave benefits, the reentry of people with criminal records, unemployment insurance modernization, child support reform, adult education, and limiting the use of credit checks by employers. Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree and MBA from Loyola University Maryland.
Rev. Brumfield is the Chair of Equality Maryland's Pride in Faith, an alliance of religious and faith leaders committed to LGBT equality and justice, and a Founding Member of the Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA). Larry is also a Licensed Minister in The Mid Atlantic District, where he has served in various interim positions including Interim Pastor of the Washington City Church of the Brethren in the District of Columbia, serves as Chair of the District Disaster Support Team, Westminster Church of Brethren is his home church where he is involved in several music ministries and enrolled in the TRIM program for ministerial training at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, IN.
Larry has enjoyed a distinguished business career. Serving in sales and management capacities with Corning Glass Corp. and Bausch& Lomb Optical. His past thirty years of corporate service was with PRAXAIR, INC. a large Industrial Gas & Chemical Concern as an engineer. He retired September 30, 2003.
Meredith Curtis is the Communications Director at the ACLU of Maryland, where she has promoted the rights of all Marylanders since 2001. She coordinates their public outreach events and initiatives, as well as handling publications, media relations, social media, and strategic communications. Meredith previously was assistant editor at CongressDaily and has engaged in a wide range of progressive activism from a young age.
Vincent (Vinny) DeMarco is the President of the Maryland Citizen’s Health Initiative, a coalition of over 1000 organizations seeking to insure quality, affordable health care for all Marylanders. The Initiative was the lead organization working for the Governor’s Working Families and Small Business Health Care Coverage Act of 2007 which expanded health care to over 100,000 uninsured Marylanders.
Mr. DeMarco’s efforts to reduce gun violence and teen smoking and expand health care coverage have been widely recognized. For example: the Baltimore Sun named him 1988 Marylander of the Year; the Washington Post described his advocacy work in a feature article in March of 1994; in August of 2000, the Baltimore Magazine named him Baltimore’s “Best Advocate” for his work on reducing gun violence and teen smoking; on May 6, 2001, the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council awarded him its Reverend Bryce Shoemaker “Ecumenical Leadership Award” for his work with the faith community on important issues; in January of 2007, he received Families USA’s Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award; on January 14, 2010, he received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keepers’ Award; and on March 26, 2010 he was named Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers – Maryland Chapter. He was also named one of Maryland’s “60 Most Influential” leaders for 2010 by the Daily Record.
He is the President of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, which was the lead organization advocating for Maryland’s landmark gun violence prevention law enacted in 2013.
Since July 2005, Kristine Dunkerton has been the Executive Director of Community Law Center, a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services for community associations and nonprofit organizations throughout Maryland. She has been a staff attorney at Community Law Center since 1998. Kristine has been involved with nonprofits since high school when she co-founded a chapter of Amnesty International. Kristine has since worked or interned for many nonprofits including The National Organization for Women, Greenpeace, The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, The Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Metropolitan Baltimore, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Legal Aid. Kristine graduated from The American University with a B.A. in International Studies and Environmental Science and earned her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also took a sabbatical to be the Acting Director of the Community Development Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law for the Spring 2011 semester. Kristine has also taught individual courses at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the Baltimore City Community College. Kristine is currently a Board member of Civil Justice, Inc. She is also a registered beekeeper in Maryland and is active with the Baltimore Backyard Beekeepers Network. Kristine lives in Dickeyville with her wife, Elsa, and two cats, Gwynn and Parker.
Lea is the program director for the Moving Maryland Forward Network. A former deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and program director for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, in addition Gilmore has testified before local, state and federal commissions on issues ranging from immigration laws to the civil rights and liberties of women of color. Appointed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, she served for several years as a member of the Maryland Advisory Board to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Since December 2005, Virginia Knowlton Marcus has been the Executive Director of Maryland Disability Law Center, a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services for people with all types of disabilities, of all ages, throughout Maryland. She has been advocating for people with disabilities on an array of significant issues for nearly 20 years. Before coming to Baltimore, Virginia was the Executive Director of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation in Washington, DC, where she interacted with national public policy makers and managed international development projects in Africa and Central America. Before relocating to the East Coast, Virginia worked for a decade at Disability Rights California in capacities that include Director of Public Policy. Other previous experience includes a California Assembly Legislative Fellowship, staffing the Ways & Means Committee. Virginia earned her J.D. and B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis. She has lived and studied German and Spanish abroad. Her current board service includes the National Disability Rights Network, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council and the Citizens Planning and Housing Association. Other activities and honors have included Governor O’Malley’s Disability Transition Team (Olmstead/Institutions Subcommittee Co-chair), the GBC Leadership Program, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Fellows Program, Leadership Maryland, and Maryland Daily Record’s Top 100 Women. In addition, she volunteers at Everyman Theatre and Moveable Feast. Virginia lives in Bolton Hill with her husband, Michael and dog, Jackson.
Ingrid Lofgren is an attorney at the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc. in Baltimore. Ingrid joined HPRP as a Skadden Fellow to launch the Homeless Youth Law Project, which serves youth and young adults aged 13 to 25 who are homeless or at-risk, with a particular emphasis on youth who are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. She conducts outreach and facilitates educational workshops; represents youth in housing, public benefits, and expungement matters; and leads HPRP’s systemic advocacy efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness. Ingrid is a graduate of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she was Editor in Chief of the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class. Following law school, Ingrid served as a law clerk to Judge Andre Davis on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Susan Gauvey on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. She also holds a Masters of Social Work and a B.S. in Family Science from the University of Maryland.
Mark Patro is a Baltimore native and has lived most of his life between Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Mark is a long-time advocate for LGBT issues.
With connections to the early years of the Gay Community Center of Baltimore (now known as GLCCB) Mark worked as a volunteer from 1980 to 1984 on the Gay Paper (now Gay Life) which acts as the voice for the GLCCB.As of 2012 he is again involved with GLCCB as a member of the Advisory Council.
Since 2005 Mark has worked as an independent individual and as a PFLAG leader to build a conversational bridge between Faith (Christian, Unitarian-Universalist & Jewish) Communities and the LGBT community.
Mark is a founding member, and has been President of the PFLAG Baltimore County since January 2009. During that time he worked with:
-Equality Maryland and Senator Richard Madelano in 2009 to pass an inheritance rights bill for lesbian and gay couples in Maryland.
-PFLAG also worked with Equality Maryland, Gender Rights Maryland, Esimorp Coalition of Baltimore, TransMaryland and Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk to pass “An Act concerning Human Relations” (aka Bill 3-12) to add “sexual orientation" and "gender identity/expression” to the Baltimore County Code.
-Equality Maryland since Feb 2008 as District 8 legislative team leader.
-Founder of Light Brigade Maryland, which gathers groups of citizen advocates to hold lighted panels bearing a message to keep Maryland’s Civil marriage Protection Act from being over turned by the Question 6 referendum.
Since 2011 Mark has written an intermittent blog for Perry Hall Patch covering topics about marriage equality, bullying and gun violence in our community.
Since June 2012, Mark is also the lead organizer for the Perry Hall Community Garden which is still in its development stages.
Camilla Roberson is a staff attorney at the Public Justice Center, concentrating on juvenile justice and health rights. As part of the Just Kids Partnership, she is part of a campaign to end the automatic prosecution of youth as adults in Maryland. Roberson has represented children with the Legal Aid Society-Juvenile Rights Division in New York as part of the Safe Families Domestic Violence Project, interned at the National Center for Youth Law, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, and Human Rights Watch-Children’s Rights Project, and volunteered as a CASA. She spent 3 years at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Honduras. She is a former Skadden Fellow and graduate of Columbia Law School, the University of Virginia, and the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.
Sharon Rubinstein is a lawyer and former journalist with extensive communications and advocacy experience in the non-profit world. For nearly a decade, she was Communications Director at Advocates for Children and Youth in Baltimore, where she was also a lobbyist. She has been a communications consultant for numerous clients, including Medicaid Matters Maryland, Health Care for All, the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, and New York's Teaching Matters, Inc. In 2012, she was certified as a Licensed Consultant by the Standards for Excellence Institute, and she was named one of ten "leaders" by the Moving Maryland Forward Network.
Some of Ms. Rubinstein's writing credits include BusinessWeek Magazine; Newsweek International; CNN; CBS News, and the Baltimore Sun. Much of her writing has concerned social issues. She has been active in academia as well, and was a Senior Fellow at the University of Baltimore School of Law's Center for Families, Children and the Courts, which operates a Truancy Court Program that addresses student attendance problems. Ms. Rubinstein taught child advocacy courses at the University of Maryland's College Park Scholars program, and taught law and education policy for the George Washington University Graduate School of Education. Much earlier in her career, she was a federal law clerk. Ms. Rubinstein has a J.D. from the University of Michigan's School of Law, and a B.A. from Cornell University.
Since joining MCHI in 2006, Ms. Schlattman has raised over $2.5 million for the organization, and led successful public education campaigns targeting various Maryland audiences, including small businesses, young adults and low-income working families. These efforts have resulted in over 20,000 Marylanders gaining health care coverage.
She has led a distinguished academic career. A 2006 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of McDaniel College, she was awarded the college’s Mary Ward Lewis Prize for “top college woman.” In 2009, Suzanne received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland and Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, following a research fellowship at the Innovations Institute at University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Ms. Schlattman currently serves on the board of directors for the Baltimore Intersection, a new nonprofit for equipping at-risk youth with advocacy skills and leadership development. Youth are mentored to channel their energy and frustrations to have a profound impact on their communities. The students’ most recent victory was their campaign to build support for the Maryland DREAM Act in Baltimore City. She also serves on the Health Ministry of Christ Lutheran Church and Membership Committee of her neighborhood association, the Greater Remington Improvement Association.
Marceline brings more than 20 years of management, fundraising, advocacy, research, and organizing experience to her position as executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC). In addition to consumer issues, Marceline has written and advocated on international trade, gender and development, labor rights, environmental justice, and reproductive rights. She is a contributing author to Trading Women’s Health and Rights? Trade Liberalization and Reproductive Health in Developing Economies (2006) and Women and Justice (2004) and has authored numerous policy reports, journal and media articles. She has presented her work before Members of Congress, U.S.Trade Representative (USTR) staff, and US Agency for International Development (USAID) officials. Marceline's research and advocacy on fair trade has been presented to government officials in Bangladesh, Kenya, Peru, and Jamaica. Marceline developed research and led trainings for USAID Missions in Bangladesh and Peru on gender and trade issues that led to changes in the Mission's programming. Marceline has been interviewed on national radio programs and interviewed by local, national, and international media including The Washington Post, Foreign Policy in Focus, and The Utne Reader. She holds a Masters of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.