OSI-Baltimore continues to work towards a responsible wind down. Below are key updates and a overview of what to expect in the months ahead.
Our work to date has included the following:
- Leveraged funds: We identified significant funds to support a responsible wind down of OSI – namely, tie-off commitments to grantees, technical assistance, and seed funds for other emerging initiatives. Sources included financial resources from OSF’s national and global offices as well as funds raised over the years from our generous and loyal private donors, including foundations and individuals.
- Tie off grants to current grantees: We are issuing final grants to all current grantees. The grants are equivalent to at least one to two years of funding. The grants offer funding that is as flexible as possible. Decisions regarding tie-off grant recipients and amounts were based on careful consideration of many factors, including: length of funding relationship, role in the community, financial dependency, access to other resources, and likelihood of continued impact. The goal is to support near-term financial stability, allowing organizations to plan for longer-term sustainability without continuing support from OSI-Baltimore. It is anticipated that grant making will be completed by early summer.
- Sustainability-focused technical assistance for grantees: We’ve launched a partnership with Progressive Multiplier, a national funding intermediary and best practice resource center that specializes in aiding progressive and grassroots movement groups with revenue generation. In the upcoming months, Progressive Multiplier will deliver a range of customized technical assistance offerings to grantees interested in receiving aid as they work to forge new funder relationships and develop alternative revenue streams. Services provided by Progressive Multiplier will be complimented by individual consultations with Kera Ritter and Jonalyn Delinger, two consultants with deep ties to Baltimore’s philanthropic and nonprofit landscape and extensive experience in change management and revenue generation. In May and June, Jonalyn and Kera will deliver 1-1 assistance to grantees and host open office hours to provide other as needed support.
- Informational briefings: In February and April, we hosted informational briefings for members of our grantee community. The first set of briefings walked grantees through OSI’s wind-down plan and anticipated implications for supported leaders and organizations. The second set of briefings focused on connecting grantees with available technical assistance, support and resources.
- Local funder engagement: We partnered with the Maryland Philanthropy Network, our regional grantmaking association, to host a briefing of local Foundation leaders. The purpose of this briefing was to share an overview of OSI’s strategy, work plan and timeline for wind-down and begin to explore implications for other area Foundations. As a point of follow-up, OSI shared a list of our grantees, organized by portfolio, with contacts potentially interested in “picking up” new grantee relationships. We are also fielding Foundation requests and as possible matching Foundation contacts with viable grantee prospects.
- Honoring the legacy of the Baltimore Community Fellowship Program: The vibrant network of alumni Baltimore Community Fellows is an integral component of OSI’s legacy and community. With tie off grant funding, a group of Fellows have formed a collective to facilitate ongoing communications among network members. In addition, Business Volunteers Maryland will continue to provide technical assistance to strengthen organizations founded by OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows. Lastly, a grant to the Baltimore Entrepreneurship and Leadership Network will continue to support its efforts to strengthen the network of leadership, entrepreneurship and social change programs in order to bolster collaboration and grow collective impact.
- Media Outreach: Working in partnership with Jennifer Farmer of Spotlight PR, the team of the Hatcher Group, and OSF Communications we facilitated a mix of proactive and responsive engagements with local and national media to raise positive awareness of the OSI responsible wind-down effort. Notable coverage included the following, with 1-2 possible op-eds to be published within the upcoming month:
- Seeding the next generation of this work: Through a generous grant from OSF’s Global Executive Office, we are able to make a $6M contribution to join a set of anchor investors in supporting the launch of the Maryland Black Futures Fund. Anchored by social justice intermediary CLLCTIVLY and modeled after the California Black Freedom Fund, the Futures Fund is a five-year, $100 million dollar campaign to support Black power-building and movement-based organizations across the state of Maryland. The fund will help to ensure these groups have the sustained investments and resources necessary to eradicate systemic and institutionalized racism. CLLCTIVLY will also anchor a community participatory design effort which will reimagine the future of fellowship opportunities and supports for grassroots leaders in Baltimore.
Here’s what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months:
- Executive Transition: At the end of this month, Danielle Torain will transition from her role as Director of OSI-Baltimore. Effective May 1st, our Deputy Director Tracy Brown will assume lead of OSI’s day-to-day management, focusing through October 2023 on the remaining shutdown of OSI’s administrative and operational systems, and closure of our Baltimore office. This transition is being facilitated as a part of OSI’s move from “Phase I” of the wind-down, which focused on laying its strategic groundwork, raising and allocating resources, forming partnerships, conducting public outreach, and engaging in Human Resource planning, to “Phase II”, which will focus more narrowly on admin and operations.
- Final Celebratory Event: A final celebratory event will be hosted for OSI grantees, stakeholders and community partners in the Fall. The event will tentatively be held in September, 2023. More information will be released in the months ahead.
- Reflections on 25 Years of Place-Based Philanthropy: OSI is in the process of onboarding a partner to assist the team in compiling lessons learned from OSI’s 25-year history of community-centered, social justice philanthropy in Baltimore. Lessons and insights will be shared via a report which will be distributed publicly later this year.
- Closure of OSI’s Facility & Administrative Systems: OSI’s office in Baltimore, and our operational and administrative systems will be shut-down in October 2023.
We will continue to keep the community up-to-date as the closure progresses.