CONTACT: Evan Serpick, Open Society Institute-Baltimore
BALTIMORE—Today, Open Society Institute-Baltimore releases a new report, “Young, Gifted, and Underfunded: Strengthening the Relationship Between Philanthropy and Youth-Led Movements,” as part of a multi-step effort to build and strengthen connections between local funders and youth-led organizations that drive essential change in our region.
Based on focus groups, the report takes stock of current attitudes among a limited number of local youth leaders (30 years old and younger) and foundation program officers in an effort to start the conversation about changes that could result in increased funding to youth-led groups undertaking crucial work to build a better Baltimore.
As the report notes, less than one percent of grants awarded to Baltimore-area organizations between 2012 and 2016 went to youth-led organizations. While that percentage increased slightly after the Uprising, we know that the funding community can do more to embrace and promote the work of young and emerging activists in Baltimore.
As part of the campaign, OSI-Baltimore will convene a series of events to discuss the report, gather broader perspectives and feedback, and devise practical strategies to increase funding for youth-led movements:
- The first event, on March 15th with the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, will provide an opportunity for local funders to consider the report’s findings and recommendations and give feedback.
- A second event, comprising one or more meetings, will bring together local funders and youth leaders to discuss the report, share their views and ideas, and design collective steps to move forward.
- A third event, to be scheduled, will share the recommendations from the report and subsequent conversations with the public and provide a forum for a facilitated discussion of next steps.
“This report is a call to all of us at local foundations to understand the new structures that emerging activists are employing to carry out their work, the desire of youth leaders to build their capacity, and the ways in which youth leaders believe we can be helpful,” says OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris. “Collectively, we must create more opportunity and space for Baltimore’s young people to act on their own behalf and move our city forward.”
“This report provides actionable information for funders and youth leaders,” says Glenn Love, who oversaw the writing of the report. “I hope that funders will use the report to adjust their grant making practices so that they can partner with more youth-led organizations, and that youth leaders will use it to engage local and national funders in the important work that they do.”