This morning, OSI-Baltimore announced its 19th cohort of Community Fellows. The new Fellows will each receive $60,000 over 18 months to support local projects they designed to address problems in Baltimore’s underserved communities.

The 10 new Fellows include established activists, educators, and artists, and the proposed projects focus on a wide range of issues, including food security, violence prevention, and employment for ex-offenders. (A full list of the new class, with links to profiles and photos, is below.)

OSI’s Community Fellowships Network, launched in 1997, now includes 180 active and alumni Fellows, including the founders of some of Baltimore’s more impactful organizations, including Wide Angle Youth Media, Community Law in Action, Thread, Gather, Bikemore, the Right to Housing Alliance, Community Conferencing, and many others.

This year’s Fellows were chosen from among more than 200 applicants after a rigorous selection process that included detailed project proposals and budgets, identification of collaborators, a site visit, and multiple interviews, including an in-depth conversation with the Selection Committee. The committee included OSI Advisory Board members Veronica Cool, Judge Andre Davis, and James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr., along with Carol Dunston Reckling, Margaret Footner, and 2009 Community Fellow Dwayne Hess. Hess and Jacqueline Robarge, a 2002 Alumni Fellow and founder of Power Inside, introduced the new Fellows at a press conference at the Oak Hill Center for Education and Culture, managed by 2007 Fellow Nick Petr.

At the press conference, Pamela King, director of OSI’s Community Fellowships Network, and consultant Didi Goldenhar released a new report, “Strength in Numbers: OSI-Baltimore’s Community Fellowships Network.” The report analyzes data from interviews with 84 of the 180 current and alumni Fellows, as well as with OSI staff and board members, and public officials about the impact that the network has had on Baltimore.

2016 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows
(click on a name to see the full profile and photo and click here to see Fellows from previous cohorts)

Melissa Badeker will expand the efforts of the Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap to equip and assist teachers and families with repurposed supplies essential to student learning. Badeker will also work with schools to get the unused stockpiles of supplies they discard at the end of each school year into the hands of families who need them.

Jermaine Bell will work in partnership with Exit the Apple, an artist-run, multipurpose creative production space, to create and establish programming for the unsupported—primarily African- American—artist community. Bell will partner with some of Baltimore City’s lesser known cultural institutions to support his efforts.

In partnership with Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Isa Olufemi will establish the Poets Pride Run Club as a vehicle to unify students through collective physical activity, engage them in service learning opportunities, and help to develop academic skills to ensure college access for all participants.

J.C. Faulk will expand on his work with An End to Ignorance/Circles of Voices conversation series to engage Baltimore city residents in consciousness raising discussions around racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and other challenging issues.

Katie Miller will work in partnership with We are CASA to establish the Latino Food Alliance, an effort to increase engagement and participation in initiatives related to food access and food justice among Baltimore’s Latino immigrant community.

Eliseba Osore will establish Baltimore City’s first baby pantry—ShareBaby Baby Pantry—to collect diapers and other essential baby items for distribution to underserved families.

Deborah Ramsey, a former police officer, will establish the Penn North Violence Prevention Youth Center to provide west Baltimore youth in grades K-12 with free structured programming during out-of-school time. Through this program, youth will have access to academic and leadership development as well as civic engagement opportunities.

Gianna Rodriguez will expand on her work with Baltimore Youth Arts to establish an arts and employment program for youth ages 16-21, with a focus on youth transitioning out of the juvenile and adult detention centers.

LaMarr D. Shields will work in partnership with Connexions Community Based Arts School to establish the Teacher Exchange, a student-to-teacher coaching program designed to address teacher retention, effectiveness, and efficacy while developing student leadership skills.

Jennifer Will-Thapa will partner with the Community Conferencing Center to establish The Common Ground Farm Project, targeted to youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The program will connect the youth to job opportunities on urban farms.


Posted in Baltimore Justice Report