BALTIMORE—Open Society Institute-Baltimore is proud to announce the 2019 cohort of OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows. The new Fellows will each receive $60,000 over 18 months to support local projects designed to address problems in Baltimore’s underserved communities.
The new Fellows, listed below, come from a wide range of backgrounds and serve a wide range of communities, including immigrant families, incarcerated people, Baltimore City public school students, and low-income black women navigating high-risk pregnancies.
OSI’s Community Fellowships Network, launched in 1997, now includes 210 Fellows, including the founders of some of Baltimore’s more impactful organizations, including Wide Angle Youth Media, B-360, Community Law in Action, Thread, Gather, Bikemore, Youth Empowered Society (YES), and many others.
This year’s Fellows were chosen from among more than 150 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 Jamar Brown, Andre Davis, and Nupur Parekh Flynn, along with Carol Dunston Reckling, Margaret Footner, and Kevin Lindamood.
2019 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows (click on names to see full profiles and photos)
Elyshia Aseltine – Based at Towson University, Elyshia Aseltine will establish Fair Chance Higher Education as a Center that supports criminal justice system-impacted people in their pursuit of higher education.
Janet Glover-Kerkvliet – Janet Glover-Kerkvliet will establish the Baltimore Job Hunters Support Group (BJHSG) to support the long-term unemployed and under-employed. The initiative will assist job seekers with the social, emotional, and psychological pain associated with mid-career job loss through counseling, coaching, information/referral, networking and outreach.
Damien A. Haussling – Damien Haussling will develop the Baltimore Furniture Bank to connect low-income individuals and families to much needed gently used furniture and other household items by working with case managers, social workers, and similar professionals.
Marvin L. Hayes – In partnership with the Baltimore Compost Collective, Marvin Hayes will grow the number of youth in the Brooklyn/Curtis Bay neighborhood trained in the science and art of community composting as a non-burn waste diversion strategy –“learn so we don’t have to burn.” The initiative will evolve to include other neighborhoods throughout the city.
Kanav Kathuria – Kanav Kathuria will establish the Farm to Prison Project as a means to address the public health crisis regarding food conditions in prisons. The initiative seeks to improve all aspects of food served in correctional facilities and build alternatives to exploitive practices by food service companies.
Alphonso Mayo – Using the intergenerational mentoring near-to-peer model, Alphonso Mayo will establish Mentoring Mentors as a vehicle to establish long-term mentoring relationships with African-American youth ages 12-18. The initiative will help youth with social and emotional development, physical wellness, as well as improve literacy and life skills.
Dinorah Olmos – Through a series of educational workshops and parent engagement, Dinorah Olmos will establish La Escuela, sus Hijos y Usted: Empowering Latino Parents to Support Student Success as an initiative designed to educate, empower, and inspire Spanish speaking Latino parents to effectively engage in the parent-school community.
Mariah S. Pratt Bonkowski – Mariah Pratt Bonkowski will establish PoP Pantries (micro pantries) to combat food instability and hygiene poverty by increasing access to emergency food and hygiene items for families in need.
Ana Rodney – Ana Rodney will establish MOMCares as an initiative to provide prenatal and postpartum Doula services to low-income African-American women navigating high-risk pregnancy or with a child involved in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Kendra Summers – To address the need of housing instability for Spanish speaking residents in the Brooklyn/Curtis Bay community, Kendra Summers will establish Casa Amable (kind home) as an initiative to support emergency housing services, promote long-term stable housing, and help Latinx residents learn tenants’ rights through a housing-based ESOL curriculum.