BALTIMORE—Community and philanthropic leaders have come together to launch B’More Invested, an exciting new strategy for community-centered grantmaking led by a partnership of Open Society Institute – Baltimore and Baltimore’s Promise. The B’More Invested Grant Advisory Committee, consisting of 24 Community Stakeholders and 10 Funders, will distribute $2.3 million in pooled, private capital to local leaders of color who are working at the grassroots level to reimagine community-serving systems and advance community-based alternative approaches that promote healthy, safe, and thriving neighborhoods.
In March 2021, the Grant Advisory Committee will announce grants in the pilot grant cycle, identifying and funding efforts to support community safety-related alternative models and systems in three areas:
- Shifting Crisis Response: Community-based alternative systems and interventions that respond to personal, group, or community crisis in an equitable and restorative manner. Examples include Black food sovereignty to address food access and community mediation to address interpersonal conflicts.
- Stabilization: Community-based alternative systems and interventions that facilitate the stabilization and holistic growth and development of people. Examples include workforce development, housing and educational support, coaching and mentorship, and addiction treatment.
- Healing and Restoration: Community-based alternative systems and interventions that ameliorate the intergenerational trauma and harm experienced by communities at the hands of unjust and inequitable systems. Examples include therapy and mental health support, holistic mind-body healing, trauma-informed care, truth and reconciliation work, and restorative practice.
“Too often, community-based organizations pursue strategies because they are aligned with the philanthropic community, not because they are necessarily in the best interests of the communities they serve,” says Julia Baez, Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise, which has committed $350,000 to the pooled fund. “B’More Invested flips that dynamic on its head, allowing advocates to lead the decision-making process around funding as part of deliberative process that promotes respect and deeper understanding among all involved.”
For OSI, B’more Invested is part of a broader strategy to divest resources from elements of the criminal justice system that have proven to be both ineffective at keeping communities safe and harmful to people of color and to invest in alternative models that ensure safety and promote self-reliance and economic growth. Other elements of that strategy include convening community-based advocates to reduce the Baltimore Police Department budget by $100 million (20%) over two years and supporting Healing City Baltimore, which aims to unearth and reverse the causes of trauma in our city by helping government proactively support the health of children and families, confront injustice, and prevent violence.
“This is a potentially transformative model of grantmaking for Baltimore,” says Danielle Torain, Director of OSI-Baltimore, which has committed $1 million to the pooled fund. “By putting representatives of impacted communities at the center of the decision-making process, B’More Invested aligns with the principles of racial justice funding and builds a foundation for long-term, system-changing approaches and consideration of community-based solutions, alternate funding mechanisms, and cultivating and supporting local leadership.”
B’More Invested Grant Advisory Committee:
Full list of Funding Partners:
Annie E. Casey Foundation Baltimore Civic Site
Baltimore Community Foundation
Blaustein Philanthropic Group
Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Lerner Family Foundation
Open Society Institute-Baltimore
T. Rowe Price Foundation
Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund