Longtime head of 1000 Friends of Maryland to step down; Dru Schmidt-Perkins to leave post in November
Baltimore, May 4, 2017 – Nearly two decades ago, Dru Schmidt-Perkins became the first staff person and Executive Director for 1000 Friends of Maryland after serving on the original all-volunteer coalition for a number of years. Today she announced she is stepping down.
Over her tenure, the organization has had a number of accomplishments, including building strong coalitions at county level to impact future development patterns, creating new programs like the historic tax credit and Rural Legacy, improving programs to clean up toxic brownfields, reducing number of major new subdivisions in rural areas, and ensuring that dedicated funds are actually spent on Program Open Space.
“I made a commitment to stay for two years and now -- 19 incredible years later -- I have decided it’s time to try something new,” said Dru Schmidt-Perkins, 1000 Friends President and CEO.
1000 Friends of Maryland was formed in 1994 to bring together business, developers, environmentalists, transportation advocates, community leaders, architects, and planners to work toward development patterns in Maryland that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. In 1998 the organization hired its first staff and ever since has been a strong voice for smarter growth in Maryland, advocating at the state and local levels. During this time, Schmidt-Perkins became a well-known and respected presence in Annapolis during the Maryland legislative session.
“It has been an honor to be part of the creation of a new organization and movement,” continued Schmidt-Perkins. “Our work to improve land use and development policy has been challenging and exciting, and it has been rewarded with victories large and small. I think back to our start in a single room rented from AIA Baltimore, and now we have a statewide effort operating out of our beautiful brownstone building in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.”
“People are often surprised at how small the organization actually is,” said Dale Sams, Chairman of the board. “But when you have a strong team, smart strategy, and create effective coalitions you can have a powerful impact. The staff at 1000 Friends are truly remarkable. They are tenacious and nimble in each campaign.”
Sams continued: “Today we see the impact everywhere, including new state laws, stronger regulations and programs that support smart development, and transformational land use plans at the local level that protect waterways, strengthen neighborhoods, and protect rural areas from sprawling development.”
“We thank Dru for her many successful years at the helm of this organization,” said Sams. “Dru’s vision, leadership, commitment, dry sense of humor, and boundless energy will be sorely missed at 1000 Friends.”
Schmidt-Perkins says she looks forward to watching the organization continue to have many wins. “The staff are the finest anywhere and I have been lucky to work with such smart and fun women.”
The Board of Directors will begin a search process late spring.
1000 Friends of Maryland advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns.