Maryland NOW


Maryland NOW

Maryland NOW coordinates the work of the member chapters to accomplish the goals and directives of our members and our member chapters. The state meets in conference each year to elect officers, review the work of the year, and establish program priorities.

Maryland NOW’s bylaws outline the work of the state’s council — made up of each of the member chapters – and gives the council the responsibility of managing the affairs and controlling Maryland NOW’s funds and property. The work of the council is conducted either as a committee-of-the-whole, or through task forces or committees. A budget is developed through in committee work and presented to the council for passage.

Maryland NOW also supports the work of any and all member chapters in our state, and also works to retain our contributing members through organized outreach to them.

Please do not hesitate to contact the state if you have questions or would like to be involved in our work.

Maryland NOW’s Bylaws outline our structure. Keep reading here.

Would you like to join us in a leadership role or on a committee? Here are the Job Descriptions of Maryland NOW Officers. 


Maryland NOW State Conferences

These folders of materials for Maryland NOW State Conferences are distributed to attendees and guests. They contain materials for Maryland NOW business conducted at the conference, officer, task force, and committee chair reports, information about our speakers and minutes of the state’s previous conference.

2020 Maryland NOW Annual State Conference – May 16, 2020

2021 Maryland NOW Annual State Conference – May 15, 2021

2022 Maryland NOW Annual State Conference – May 21, 2022

2023 Maryland NOW Annual State Conference – May 20, 2023



Maryland NOW’s 2022 Annual Report

Maryland NOW
P.O. Box 7716
Silver Spring, MD 20907-7716

Phone: 410-347-1455

Maryland NOW Communication Work

website:   www.marylandnow.org 

As part of Maryland NOW’s State Communications Plan we continue to use our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages – linking all three – to draw younger women to Maryland NOW. We use the MailChimp program to send action and legislative alerts and to send general information in a newsletter format to publicize events and issue information to our members. Our open rate, previously around 16%, continues to register at over 25% – often into the 30-35% range, with a solid rate of around 5% on click-throughs. Goals include increasing the number of email addresses we have for members which is low organization-wide which would facilitate communication. Due to what we know to be the overall average age of our members, we consider USPS communication vital to maintain memberships.

State Officers

Barbara Hays, President
Sandy Bell, Executive Vice President
Crystal Peters, Action Vice President
Jerry Blum, Treasurer

Two of our Task Force Chairs, Mary Ann Gorman (ERA) and Jakeya Johnson (Legislative Action) also participate in Executive Committee meetings and contribute valuable insight to our discussions.

Maryland NOW Finances

Funds from the Nita Farrell Bequest to Maryland NOW in 2018 are invested in an interest savings account and managed by our treasurer. We have been able to continue to use portions of these funds to improve our communications outreach through our website, and to enable us to use USPS mail to communicate with our members, which has turned out to be significantly important. We were able to make a contribution to our MDNOWPac this past year, bringing the total funding from MD NOW to $6,000 which is the legal limit per Gubernatorial Election Cycle and to make significant contributions to campaigns around the state. (A report from our PAC can be found on the PAC page of the MD NOW website.

Our budget is developed each year according to our state bylaws with inmput from state council members and approval to comply with our fiscal year of Jan 1-Dec 31. Every year we also have (again required by our bylaws) a Financial Review allowing council members to receive reports of all financial records of the organization, and enabling them to receive an in-depth picture of our spending along with a complete review of checks written and all income.

Our state maintains a complete listing, available to all Executive Committee members, of all user names, passwords and access information for all Maryland NOW accounts and programs which we use in our administrative managment of MD NOW. This record supports a very thorough and balanced accountability among all Executive Committee members.

Maryland NOW Bylaws

Our bylaws were updated in 2022 to rewrite the officer responsibilities for the state’s “secretary” position to include membership and electronic communication functions. We are committed to a complete bylaws rewite, which hasn’t really ever been done in our 50 year history, and have worked on parts of that process during the past year. In particular, changes and attempted clarification of responsiblities for our state treasurer have been passed as bylaws amendments on several occasions throughout the past years, but need to be consolidated from various sections of the bylaws where they have been put. Our most current set of bylaws are avaiable here.

Maryland NOW State Council Meetings and Conferences

Our bylaws require our state council to meet six times a year, and with few exceptions, we do meet that often. Since the COVID pandemic, we have been mostly meeting virtually via Zoom, including holding our state conferences virtually  We hope to plan at least one in-person event for 2023, probably during the summer months.Our state conferences are usually held in May and elections are conducted at that time. State council meetings are recorded, and officers present reports, which become part of our state records.

Our state conferences typically feature speakers and panels on political topics and offer our members the opportunity to set goals for the coming year.

During 2022






Maryland NOW’s 2021 Annual Report

Maryland NOW
P.O. Box 7716
Silver Spring, Maryland 20907-7716

Phone:  410-347-1455

Maryland NOW’s Website:  www.marylandnow.org  We also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. We currently use Mailchimp to send action and legislative alerts, as well as newsletters about events and activities to our members. For state council votes and information to our council members, we use Slack and SurveyMonkey.

State Officers:

Sandy Bell, President
Barbara Hays, Executive Vice President
Crystal Peters, Action Vice President
Kate Schumacher, Executive Assistant/Acting Secretary
Jerry Blum, Treasurer

Maryland NOW Finances:

The bequest we received in 2018 from the estate of a member who was active in the early days of Maryland NOW is invested in an interest savings account managed by our treasurer. We are grateful that we have these funds as we have been able to continue funding our state organization in light of difficult financial times and to help fund our MD NOW PAC in preparation for the 2022 Gubernatorial Election Cycle in our state.

Our state budget is developed by our executive committee and/or a Budget Committee, and our state council – after also having input – votes on final approval. This inclusive process is written into our bylaws, and the budget itself is approved prior to December 31st. (Our fiscal year is Jan 1 to Dec 31.) Our bylaws provide for an annual financial review, with our treasurer providing to council members access to all financial records, and providing receipts for checks that have been written upon the request of a council member. Our treasurer keeps a dual system of recordkeeping with accounting software (Quicken) and financial spreadsheets produced using Excel.

Our state has a very thorough and balanced system of accountability, sharing access among members of the Executive Committee with records of usernames, passwords, and other information about all accounts and vendors. Our state council has fiduciary management responsibilities for Maryland NOW, meets at least six times a year, and communicates regarding official business via Slack.

Maryland NOW Bylaws:

Our bylaws were updated in 2021 to include official recognition of our council and conference meetings that are held virtually as having decision-making capability, an amendment that was deemed necessary by parliamentary groups. We plan an update in 2022 to rewrite the Executive Committee position for our state secretary. The most current set of our bylaws can be found here.

We are planning more extensive work on our bylaws over the next several years.

Maryland NOW State Council and Conferences:

The Maryland NOW State Council has full responsibility for the management of our finances and for oversight of Maryland NOW’s projects, programs, and structure. The Executive Committee meets as often as needed between council meetings, and minutes are kept of these meetings.

Our state conferences are held in in the spring, usually in May, and elections must be conducted at that time. The conferences feature speakers on political topics, and also plan discussions to set goals for the coming program year.

During 2021:

  • Our president, executive vice president, and action vice president actively represented Maryland NOW both in district and national NOW meetings and in groups with whom we share legislative and issue goals. An annual report of the Maryland General Assembly session is posted each year on our website.
  • We continue to maintain and continually upgrade our website with member and purchased licensed photos and articles. The website has brought in new joins, internship inquiries, and contributions, and worked to link the site to our social media postings as much as possible. Our Google Analytics Data for 2021 remained strong, comparing favorably with 2020 data.
  • Our 2021 conference – The Intersectionality of Reproductive Rights – was planned and produced by our Young Feminist Task Force. It was a substantial undertaking and was presented virtually. We had NOW leaders from around the country both participating and as attendees. Our keynote speaker was Kolieka Seigel, president of California NOW, who spoke about outreach to and inclusion of communities of youth and of people of color. We had two sets of workshops with topics tied to our theme “The Intersectionality of Reproductive Rights”.  Our conference packet was also widely circulated within NOW and to coalition partners.
  • We produced a webinar in February put on primarily by leaders of Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice Maryland covering the topic of talking with family members who might not be pro-choice about the issue and covering various approaches that counselors use that are helpful.
  • Our Young Feminist Task Force, as noted above, did a phenomenal job of presenting our state conference which got very high marks for the inclusion of younger voices in lead roles. Unfortunately, the second half of our program year found several of the YFTF leaders involved in their senior year(s) in college and high school with not as much time to devote to MD NOW. We planned an outreach campaign to repopulate the task force for 2022, Other task forces also struggled to function at their capacity because of the pandemic. We will consider some of what we learned in planning for 2022.
  • We completed our Financial Program Year in full compliance with our bylaws, with the filing of our IRS 990EZ tax return, a full financial review with the state council, and again using a fully functional budget drafting, presentation, and adoption process for our 2022 annual budget.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continued to cause us to cut back our emphasis on program work. We looked ahead to the 2022 Election Cycle (both in Maryland and nationwide) to understand how things were shaping up legislatively and with cases before the Supreme Court and to use that information in our planning. (Note: The looming loss of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022 has been a cause of great concern, even though Maryland codified Roe v. Wade in our state law in the early 1990s, and we remain one of the few states that where a third-trimester abortion is legal.)
  • During 2022, we received a great deal of archival material – very disorganized – that had belonged to Dolly Packard, a member of Maryland NOW and with the Southern Prince George’s County NOW Chapter, going back to the very early 1970s. She was very active on a number of feminist issues including the ERA, she attended many state functions, and national conferences (including the Houston Conference in 1977) and had files and papers that we were thrilled to get. In the process of advertising this acquisition to our membership, several other members with archival files and records contacted us and we have spent a great deal of time organizing these papers so they too can be donated to our Maryland NOW Archives at the University of Maryland-College Park. We found our state recently listed as one of the few in NOW that have established and worked to support a growing archival collection of our history.
  • The 2022 Maryland Gubernatorial Election Cycle will be the first in which our PAC has been able to be truly active on a continuous basis for all four years of the electoral cycle in planning our involvement in electoral work. During 2021 we have gotten several significant donations and plan to fundraise in early-mid 2022 so that for the first time in many years we would be able to actually donate to feminist campaigns in our state rather than just give candidates our organizational endorsement.


Maryland NOW’s 2020 Annual Report

Maryland NOW
P.O. Box 7716
Silver Spring, MD 20907-7716

Phone:  410-347-1455

Maryland NOW’s website: www.marylandnow.org  We also have a Facebook page and a Twitter Account and currently use MailChimp to send regular updates and news to our members.

State Officers:

Sandy Bell, President
Barbara Hays, Executive Vice-President
Margie Kotzalas, Action Vice-President
Jerry Blum, Treasurer

Maryland NOW Finances:

In 2018 Maryland NOW received a bequest from a member’s estate. This person was a founding member of one of our Maryland chapters in the 1970s. These funds have enabled us to work to update our structure (including our website), better organize our finances, and embark on a state-wide chapter and membership rebuilding plan. We have also been able to give seed money to the Maryland NOW PAC.

Our budget is drawn up by a Budget Committee, with the assistance of the treasurer, and must be approved by the council before December 31. Our fiscal year is Jan 1 through Dec 31.

Maryland NOW Bylaws:

Our bylaws were last updated in 2009. In the coming year we plan to begin to update our bylaws, including some changes to the duties of our officers.

Maryland NOW State Council:

The Maryland NOW State Council meets, on average six times per year. The Council has full responsibility for the management of our finances and oversees Maryland NOW’s projects, programs, and structure.

Our state conferences are held in May and elections are held at that time. The conferences also discuss and set goals, and resolutions pertaining to our structure, issue work, and projects are proposed and passed by the body. The State Conference is the supreme governing body of Maryland NOW.

During 2020:

  • Our President and Executive Vice President have been active with the NOW State President’s Caucus, making connections vital to our state and contributing to NOW work around the country.
  • We redesigned our website, which had not been updated since 2014. All of the content was very dated, as were the photos. We have now been getting members, internship inquiries, and contributions through the site. As of January, 2021, Google Analytics reported 300 visitors with 368 visits.
  • We held one of the first virtual conferences in the organization which was necessitated by the COVID pandemic. We put together a conference packet, which was used by the state president’s caucus to demonstrate how such conferences could be held given pandemic limitations on meetings using a Zoom meeting platform. We conducted a postal ballot, meeting all organizational requirements for voting via USPS with no problems.
  • Using several different projects, we have attracted enough young women who have not only started a Young Feminist Task Force but have taken on specific responsibilities in the issue and administrative functions of the state organization. We have also built interest to start an LGBT+ Task Force which will launch a project to address awareness and support for transgender issues through a Gender Identity Project. Two other task forces have been formed to work on domestic violence and the ERA.
  • We completed an in-house review of our financial records and revised our budget format to function in conjunction with our IRS 990 tax reporting requirements. Our treasurer has entered all data from 2020 and going forward into Quicken software so that our council can more easily fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to Maryland NOW.
  • We held two virtual programs on racism to begin a process of heightening awareness in Maryland NOW on the subjects of systemic racism and white privilege. One was held through the State President’s Caucus with a program called, “White Women: Can We Talk?” which was presented in conjunction with Rhode Island NOW and their members and led by women of color from the State President’s Caucus. We also supported financially and co-hosted with Indiana NOW the keynote speaker for their state conference, Mikki Kendall, author of “Hood Feminism.” We view this as only a start in working on the issue of racism and have asked our Young Feminist Task Force to suggest ways to go forward bringing in younger women who want to make a commitment to this issue.
  • We did an organization-wide mailing in late October 2020 reminding members that a Biden win was only the beginning of work we would need to do to repair damage done by the former administration. We included a reply card and envelope asking members to let us know issues of most concern to them and about interest they might have in becoming more involved in chapter and state work. We got back an impressive response from some of the areas outside the major metropolitical areas in our state and are working with members from areas where we have inactive chapters or in areas where we would like to organize new chapters.
  • Maryland NOW worked to support various legislative initiatives, and our coalition partners who are also committed to issues they share with NOW. We were represented at legislative briefings and rallies, supporting the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW), Progressive Maryland, and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland. Maryland NOW members wrote testimony for three bills – providing menstrual hygiene products in the schools, classifying diapers as a medical necessity, and reinstating a pre-release unit for women through the Department of Corrections.