“Moving Maryland Forward Network is a vehicle for promoting dialogue and debate, for communicating important information and ideas, for advocating for better public policies.”
The Moving Maryland Forward Network, which is just two years old, is an innovative effort striving to “harness the power of online organizing tools [and] to build a unique network that’s working to ensure fairness, equality and justice for all Marylanders.” Developed and designed by the DC based non-profit, Netcentric Campaigns, MMFN promotes and powers social change, specifically on progressive issues that affect residents on a day-to-day basis – bringing advocacy into “Web 2.0,” working within the bold web concept known as “Advocacy 2.0“. The internet is now not only a source for news and information, but also a valuable platform for advocates – and a place for advocacy organizations to use lists, blogs, websites and social media to reach political leaders and local residents alike.
Netcentric Campaigns use their tech prowess to help build email lists while the MMFN leaders serve as the advocates for their respective causes – helping to reach out to the Maryland residents desirous of change. For example, The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland grew their email list from 500 names to over 11,000 via the MMFN.
MMFN, which receives funding from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, is made up of a group of “MMFN Leaders,” entirely rooted in the Maryland community, and dedicated to improving the lives and situations for Maryland residents specifically on issues like marriage equality, paid sick leave, ending gun violence, homelessness among youth and more.
A few of MMFN’s dedicated leaders are Melissa Broome of the Job Opportunities Tax Force, Meredith Curtis of the ACLU Maryland, Adar Ayira from Associated Black Charities and more. The list of leaders has grown quite a bit over the past year and will continue to do so – there are currently 50 leaders in the network.
MMFN’s Director of Network Coordination, Lea Gilmore, stresses the importance of remaining bipartisan but striving to be progressive, which is at the foundation of any advocacy group. It’s refreshing to see an organization that is transforming the lives of Marylanders purely by using the power of the internet to connect people with the issues they care about. Gilmore and the rest of the Moving Maryland Forward Network certainly are Big Thinkers, advocating for a better Maryland.