October 24, 2019

Community groups launch Blueprint for Baltimore survey, looking to reach thousands of Baltimore residents ahead of 2020 election

BALTIMORE—This week, Community Data Fellows from Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, Baltimore Votes, and the No Boundaries Coalition began a city-wide effort to survey 10,000 to 12,000 Baltimore City residents as part of a collaborative project spearheaded by Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI) called Blueprint for Baltimore:2020 and Beyond.

The survey, available online at osibaltimore.org/blueprint, asks Baltimore residents to identify their priorities on a wide range of public policy issues, including education, public safety, and housing. The data collected will be community-owned and used to create a public report that will be the basis for a series of mayoral and City Council candidate forums in the spring.

On Saturday, the Data Fellows attended a four-hour training facilitated by HR&A Associates, a national organization that provides technical support for city surveys used to leverage municipal change. They have supported similar efforts in Portland, Oregon, and Houston.

HR&A and the Data Fellows went over the content of the survey, identified questions that are likely to come up as it is administered, and compiled an FAQ of answers. The training also included a panel discussion on Data Equity, with Tre Murphy of Black Leaders Organizing for Change and the Black Census Project, Morgan State University Professor and 2012 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow Dr. Lawrence Brown, Julius Maina of the U.S. Census Bureau, Miriam McKinney of GovEx, and Kenneth Morales of Problem Forward.

The Data Fellows will spread out across the city and conduct the survey by doing house-to-house canvassing, attending community meetings, and conducting online outreach in coordination with OSI, which has enlisted a network of about 30 grassroots and neighborhood groups, listed below, that have signed on as Community Partners for the Blueprint project, agreeing to distribute the online survey to their constituents and encourage them to participate so their voices will be heard.

Community partners include Strong City Baltimore, Baltimore City Community College, Pleasant Hope Community Development Corporation, Free State Justice, Central Baltimore Partnership, Progressive Maryland, Youth Empowerment Society, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, Baltimore Algebra Project, United Workers, Center for Urban Families, Highlandtown Community Association, Hamilton Hills Neighborhood Association, Moravia Walther Improvement Association, Glen Neighborhood Improvement Association, Inc, Cuthbert, Hayward, Cordelia Community Association, Matthew Henson Community Development Corporation, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Inc., Village of Violetville, Inc., Key Highway Community Association, CityLab Baltimore, AIA Baltimore-American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter, Gwynnbrook-Garriwood Neighborhood Association, Reclaiming Our Community, Evergreen Community Association, Inc., Jonestown Planning Council, Inc., and Charles Village Community Benefits District.

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.


October 20, 2019

Blueprint for Baltimore Data Fellows Prepare to Launch Canvass

On Saturday, about 40 community members from CASA, Black Leaders Organizing for Change, the No Boundaries Coalition, and Baltimore Votes came together at the University of Maryland-Baltimore campus for training to become Data Fellows who will administer the Blueprint for Baltimore survey.

This week, these Data Fellows will begin administering the survey by canvassing door-to-door, attending community meetings, and doing digital outreach. OSI-Baltimore has also connected with about 30 grassroots and community-based Community Partners who have agreed to distribute to their membership.

The training also included a panel discussion on Data Equity, with Tre Murphy of Black Leaders Organizing for Change and the Black Census Project, Morgan State University Professor and 2012 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow Dr. Lawrence Brown, Julius Maina of the U.S. Census Bureau, Miriam McKinney of GovEx, and Kenneth Morales of Problem Forward.

See a full gallery of photos from the training below.

 

 


September 17, 2019

Blueprint for Baltimore: 2020 and Beyond Announcement

Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI) is thrilled to announce the launch of Blueprint for Baltimore: 2020 and Beyond, a collaborative effort to create a community-driven agenda for Baltimore and hold the city’s leaders accountable to it.

The constant turnover in Baltimore City leadership in recent years had underlined the need for good governance as the cornerstone of any sustained effort to address the city’s many challenges. OSI, in coordination with community leaders, conceived of the Blueprint for Baltimore project as the best way to collect reliable, community-owned data on city residents’ top priorities, ensure that those priorities remain at the center of discussions through the 2020 election season, and demand accountability to those priorities beyond 2020.

Phase 1

During Phase One of the Blueprint process, OSI will partner with community organizations, including Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, Baltimore Votes, Black Girls Vote, and the No Boundaries Coalition, to conduct a citywide survey of 10,000 to 12,000 Baltimore City residents – the largest issue-oriented survey in city history – to identify Baltimore residents’ top priorities for the city’s next mayor and City Council.

Phase 2

During Phase Two, OSI and community partners will host a series of Mayoral and City Council forums, where candidates will be asked to commit to addressing Baltimore residents’ priorities and to offer responsive policy agendas.

Phase 3

During Phase Three, OSI and community partners will monitor city leaders’ adherence to their promises and convene business and philanthropic leaders to explore ways to address community priorities.

Phase One launches this week with a series of Survey Design Workshops (see schedule below), conducted and led by community partners in consultation with HR&A Advisors, an employee-owned firm that has conducted similar citywide surveys designed to inform municipal policy in New York City and Washington, D.C., in collaboration with Open Society Foundations, and more recently in Portland, Oregon, and Houston.

Blueprint for Baltimore Survey Design Workshops

Host: Black Leaders Organizing for Change
Date: Tuesday, September 17
Time: 6 to 8pm
Location: Oak Hill Community Center, 2239 Kirk Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21218

Host: No Boundaries Coalition
Date: Saturday, September 21
Time: 2 to 3:30pm
Location: No Boundaries Coalition, 1808 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217

Host: Baltimore Votes and Black Girls Vote
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 5 to 6:30pm
Location: Morgan State University Student Center, Room 212; 1700 E. Cold Spring Ln, Baltimore, MD 21251

Host: CASA (bilingual)
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 6:30 to 8pm
Location: CASA, 2224 E Fayette St., Baltimore MD 21231

Additional Information

OSI, HR&A, and community partners will use the input from the workshops to create the survey by mid-October. Each community group will recruit ten local residents to be Data Fellows, who HR&A will train in principles of data equity and ways to leverage data to shape public policy. The Data Fellows will conduct the survey between mid-October and late November through house-to-house canvassing, community meetings and other gatherings, and online outreach. The results will be reportedly publicly by early January, 2020. Importantly, this data will be community-owned and available for the public to use as a resource.

“Baltimore’s talented, passionate people are its greatest asset,” says Tracy Brown, acting director of OSI-Baltimore. “As we tried to imagine a process that would lay the groundwork for accountable, responsive city governance, we knew we needed to start with the people and the trusted, on-the-ground organizations that can tap into their collective insight.”

Details about Phase Two, including the dates and locations of the Mayoral and City Council forums – to take place between January and April and include all declared primary candidates, and Phase Three will be determined in collaboration with community partners and announced in the coming months.

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.