Open Society Institute-Baltimore is proud to announce its 20th cohort of Community Fellows. These 10 remarkable Baltimore residents work in neighborhoods throughout the city on a wide range of issues, including food equity, disability rights, and affordable housing. The Fellows and descriptions of their projects are below.
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.
In addition, as the Community Fellowships program reaches its 20th year, with 190 Fellows, OSI will look to encourage collaboration among members of the Community Fellows Network with “Alumni Action Grants”– funds reserved for groups of Fellows who propose meaningful collaborations.
Individually, OSI’s Fellows have had a remarkable impact, creating transformative change throughout Baltimore and founding local institutions like Community Conferencing, Wide Angle Youth Media, and the Book Thing of Baltimore. Fellows have often collaborated to great effect, but in recent years OSI has realized that by recognizing and supporting the Community Fellows Network we could magnify the Fellows’ efforts to improve social and economic conditions and deepen their understanding – as well as OSI’s – of how to achieve sustainable change.
2017 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows
Jackie Bello (educator, South Baltimore) will expand Dent Education by working in partnership with several schools (Green Street Academy, Maree G. Farring Elementary School, and Benjamin Franklin High School). The organization will teach design thinking, community engagement and entrepreneurship to instill students with the skills and mindset essential to becoming innovators of change.
In partnership with Growing Soul, Inc., Matthew Burke (food rescue advocate, citywide) will establish a network of food give-away sites at local businesses, churches and community centers for the purpose of providing nutritious food, reducing waste and educating the public on issues related to food justice.
Ausar Daniels (farmer, Sandtown-Winchester) will work in partnership with Tubman House to provide education and vocational training for the Sandtown-Winchester community in agriculture, culinary arts, and wellness.
Ryan Flanigan (upholsterer, Remington) will work in collaboration with the Baltimore Housing Roundtable and the Central Baltimore Partnership to establish the Remington Community Land Trust to preserve and expand affordable housing options as a means to maintain Remington as a multi-class community.
Eric Jackson (organizer, South/Southwest Baltimore) will build Black Land and Food Sovereignty Practice, as a part of Black Yield Institute. His project will organize residents to create community oriented solutions to the food equity issue in the Cherry Hill and Poppleton communities.
Munib Lohrasbi (disability rights advocate, statewide) will work in partnership with Disability Rights Maryland to establish the Prisoner Protection and Advocacy Committee. The Committee will work to increase transparency and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the state’s correctional facilities.
Alex Long (violence interrupter, East Baltimore) will establish the McElderry Youth Redemption Boxing Program as a vehicle to use physical rigor and a disciplined structure to engage vulnerable youth, ages 10 to 14, in alternatives to negative activities.
In partnership with Jubilee Arts, Kim Loper (artist, Sandtown-Winchester) will build Youth in Business (YiB), an initiative that cultivates the entrepreneurial leadership skills of high school aged youth by providing hands-on experience operating an art and design-based business.
Shantell Roberts (child health advocate, citywide) will expand Touching Young Lives, Inc. to focus on the health and well- being of infants and children by using the “Portable Alternative Crib” as a new and innovative safe sleep alternative for infants.
Amy Tenney (music therapist, East Baltimore) will work in collaboration with the Goodnow Community Center and other organizations to establish the Healing and Community Integration through Music: Refugees and Other Vulnerable Immigrants Program. The program will provide music therapy services and teach methods for healing and self-care to participants.