OSI-Baltimore was proud to be connected to several of the people that made the urban extravaganza of Light City, which attracted about 400,000 people last week, possible, especially OSI-Baltimore advisory board member Jamie McDonald (pictured), Light City’s volunteer chair. McDonald, who was recently named as one of Baltimore magazine’s “activists to watch,” sees the festival as an opportunity to change the narrative about Baltimore.
“We want to put Baltimore on the map as a place that people think of in a completely different way,” McDonald, the founder of Generosity Consulting, told the Sun. “We’re literally not shining a light on all the good that’s happening, all the transformation that’s happened in Baltimore already.”
Vice-chair of OSI-Baltimore’s board and CEO of the Center for Urban Families Joe Jones, led a discussion of police reform called “Balancing the Scales: Safety and Civility” with Baltimore police chief Kevin Davis as part of Light City’s Social Innovation Conference. Another board member, Chesapeake Bay Foundation president Will Baker, gave a presentation during the festival’s Sustainability Innovation Conference.
Among the many OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows involved were 2009 Fellow and 2012 alumni grant recipient Sarah Hemminger, CEO and Founder of Thread (recently featured in the New York Times), who spoke about “The New Social Fabric” at the Social Innovation Conference. OSI grantee Baltimore Urban Debate League, New Lens (founded by 1999 Fellow and 2012 alumni grant recipient Rebecca Yenawine), and Baltimore Dance Crews Project (founded by 2015 Fellow Brian Gerardo) were among the groups featured in Light City’s Bright Lights Youth Festival.
In the Sun’s wrap-up story about Light City, McDonald says the results of an economic impact report being completed by a private firm would be available in 4 to 6 weeks, but anecdotally, it seemed like the event was a big boon for local businesses. “You could just tell by looking through the windows that they were just mobbed,” McDonald said.