OSI-Baltimore mourns the loss of Lois Feinblatt, a lifelong advocate for Baltimore and a dear friend of OSI, its staff, and Advisory Board.
Born into the philanthropic Hoffberger family, Lois was generous but not content providing only financial support. After graduating from Goucher College and starting a family, she became directly involved in changing conditions to help Baltimoreans thrive. For nine years, she worked for the Baltimore City Department of Welfare, screening prospective adoptive parents.
In the 1960s, Lois was selected to participate in a unique Johns Hopkins University program that trained housewives to become mental health counselors. As a therapist with a specialty in human sexuality, she joined the newly formed staff of the Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit, where she worked for more than 30 years.
Along the way, Lois played a key role in establishing a series of organizations focused on improving the lives of Baltimoreans, particularly those who are most vulnerable. She co-founded Adoption Connection Exchange, which was devoted to supporting adoptive families. She helped launch Court Appointed Special Advocates of Baltimore, which seeks to protect youth in the foster care system. She served on the board of Free State Legal Services, which offers free and reduced legal services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and was a vocal supporter. She launched a teacher-mentoring project in Baltimore City Public Schools, and personally mentored and supported many young people in Baltimore, including Alicia Wilson, who is now Johns Hopkins University’s Vice President for Economic Development and a member of OSI-Baltimore’s Advisory Board.
In 2018, as part of OSI-Baltimore’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, Alicia presented Lois with OSI’s “Justice For All” award, in recognition of her lifelong dedication to supporting young people, marginalized communities, and advocates who share her passion for change. Watch the full event here – Alicia’s presentation to Lois begins at the 57:15 mark.
“She taught me that being authentically me is the best gift that I could give to this world,” Alicia said as part of the presentation. In a heartfelt Facebook post about Lois this week, she wrote, “Lois didn’t make friends, she made family. From the moment we met, she always showed up for me and I tried to always show up for her.”
For decades, Lois was a steadfast supporter of OSI-Baltimore, providing encouragement, making introductions to her numerous friends, and supporting the Community Fellowships program. In 2021, to mark Lois’s 100th birthday and honor her 60+ year career as a social worker and mental health counselor, OSI and the Lois and Irving Blum Foundation created the Lois Blum Feinblatt Community Mental Health Fellowship as part of the Community Fellowships Program.