OSI-Baltimore announces first round of Baltimore Justice Fund grants

Posted on September 17th, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Uprising

Media Advisory
Contact: Evan Serpick
410.234.1091

Thirteen grants, totaling $337,500, aim to improve police accountability and increase racial justice and opportunity for Baltimore residents in the wake of the Baltimore Uprising.

Open Society Institute-Baltimore is proud to announce 13 grants, totaling $337,500, from its Baltimore Justice Fund, intended to build on the momentum of the Baltimore Uprising and address some of the most enduring, entrenched issues affecting our city.

The fund, launched in May in response to the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent uprising, supports focused interventions to improve police accountability and police-community relationships, to reduce the number of Baltimoreans caught up in the criminal justice system, and to engage Marylanders, especially young people, in advocacy for programs and policies to increase opportunity and racial justice.

Eleven grants of $25,000 each went to organizations founded by alumni of the OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowships program that are working on issues the fund was created to address. They provide a means to place funds immediately in the communities where they are most needed. The organizations were chosen because they have a track record of success and the capacity to expand their work but also because, over the years, they have earned respect and legitimacy in the communities in which they work.

One additional grant, made earlier this year, went to help Baltimore NPR affiliate WYPR create “On the Watch,” a year-long series on police accountability and community police relations. A 13th grant is pending and will be announced soon.

“What we’ve found is that our grantees and staff were already highlighting the systemic and structural racism and inequities that conspired to create the uprising,” said OSI-Baltimore Program Director of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Tara Huffman. “What we needed to do was amplify and expand our grantmaking to support those doing the most effective work. And that’s what we’re doing.”

The announced grantees:

  1. $25,000: Baltimore United Viewfinders is using art as a channel for youth and community voices and activism as well as job creation. (Anne Kotleba, Community Fellowship class of 2012)
  2. $25,000: Right to Housing Alliance is organizing around two systemic issues: police violence and economic disinvestment. (Jessica Lewis, Community Fellowship class of 2013)
  3. $25,000: Youth Empowered Society (YES) Drop-In Center is providing trauma-informed services, peer support and advocacy training to homeless youth. (Lara Law, Community Fellowship class of 2011)
  4. $25,000: You’re the Quarterback is helping men navigate legal and employment barriers in order to decrease involvement in the criminal justice system. (Lawrence Brown, Community Fellowship class of 2012)
  5. $25,000: New Lens is using media as an advocacy tool to engage youth in addressing the issue of improving police and community relations. (Rebecca Yenawine, Community Fellowship class of 1999)
  6. $25,000: 901 Arts is using art as an advocacy tool to engage vulnerable youth in constructive activities during after-school hours. (Sarah Tooley, Community Fellowship class of 2010)
  7. $25,000: Power Inside is organizing around improving police accountability, reducing the number of citizens caught up in the criminal justice system and increasing trauma support and training to residents.  (Jacqueline Robarge, Community Fellowship class of 2002)
  8. $25,000: Upton Planning Committee is engaging youth in the Upton community to address food security and community health issues. (Wanda Best, Community Fellowship class of 2001)
  9. $25,000: Men of Valuable Action is working with previously incarcerated men in the Sandtown-Winchester community to reduce recidivism, encourage educational and career goals, promote family stability, and support civic and community engagement. (Antoine Bennett, Community Fellowship class of 2012)
  10. $25,000: Young Life GEMS is fostering nurturing mentor relationships that encourage emotional well-being and community engagement for girls ages 12-18 in the Sandtown-Winchester community. (Paige Fitz, Community Fellowship class of 2007)
  11. $25,000: Afrikan Youth Alchemy, Inc. is empowering youth through media advocacy, cultural exploration, and entrepreneurship following the Baltimore Uprising. (Emery “Tre Subira” Whitlow, Community Fellowship class of 2009)
  12. $12,500: Baltimore NPR affiliate WYPR is producing “On the Watch,” a year-long series on police accountability and community police relations.
  13. TBA

Open Society Institute-Baltimore is a public charity and the sole field office of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs. We focus on the root causes of three intertwined problems in our city and state: drug addiction, an over-reliance on incarceration, and obstacles that impede youth in succeeding inside and out of the classroom.

OSI-Baltimore’s Baltimore Justice Fund supports focused interventions to improve police accountability and police-community relationships, reduce the number of Baltimoreans caught up in the criminal justice system, and engage Marylanders, especially young people, in advocacy for programs and policies to increase opportunity and racial justice. To give to the Baltimore Justice Fund, visit our donate page.