What is an “open society”? 

Popularized by philosopher Karl Popper, the term “open society” refers to a society based on the recognition that nobody has a monopoly on the truth, that different people have different views and interests, and that there is a need for institutions to protect the rights of all people to allow them to live together in peace.

What are Open Society Foundations and Open Society Institute-Baltimore?

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) are the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. OSF provides thousands of grants every year through a network of national and regional foundations and offices, funding a vast array of projects. OSF has offices in New York and Washington D.C., but Open Society Institute-Baltimore is OSF’s only U.S. field office, focused exclusively on local work. OSI-Baltimore’s mission is to disrupt the long-standing legacy of structural racism in Baltimore by supporting powerful social change movements led by, and centering the needs, interests, and voices of historically marginalized communities and communities of color.

Does the Baltimore Community Fellowships Program have a specific area of focus?

We support individuals who will create innovative projects that address various social needs in Baltimore City. Areas of focus may include, but are not limited to, the arts, economic development, education, media, the environment, legal services, and health services.

How many Fellows in total will be selected?

Up to ten individuals will receive an OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowship

Can Fellows seek project funding outside of the Baltimore Community Fellowships Program during the fellowship period or approach other Open Society Foundations programs for funding?

Yes. We encourage Fellows to explore other funding avenues that may support their work. The Open Society Foundations has various funding opportunities that one may wish to pursue. Applicants are responsible for meeting the eligibility criteria of each prospective program for funding consideration.

Is the applicant required to have an advanced degree or high media profile to receive a fellowship?

No. We encourage all individuals regardless of their educational or professional background to apply for our fellowships program.  Individuals should have experience in the community that they wish to serve. The experience may be rooted in volunteer work, professional experience, or other community engagement.

Is the fellowship only open to young people or individuals new to public interest work?

The Baltimore Community Fellowships Program is open to all individuals who wish to serve the Baltimore City community.  Past Fellows have come from diverse age groups, educational backgrounds, and professional experiences.

Can the fellowship stipend be used to replace the funding for activities or projects currently being implemented by an organization?

No. The fellowship is an investment in an individual who has an innovative project that will positively affect a marginalized or underserved group in Baltimore City. Individuals currently receiving wages or a salary to undertake the proposed project are not eligible to apply.

Are the fellows expected to work full-time on their projects?

The Baltimore Community Fellowship is a full-time obligation. Other full-time study or employment must cease upon the start of the fellowship period.

 Can I get a fellowship to support my dissertation research?

A dissertation is not an acceptable fellowship project.  For scholarships and funding for degree programs, please visit http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants

Can two or more people jointly apply for a fellowship?

No, the fellowship program only accepts individual applications.

What kinds of support exist for fellows outside of funding?

The 2022 OSI-Baltimore Baltimore Community Fellows will receive a stipend of $65,000 for 18 months. Other sources may augment the stipend.  OSI may provide limited relief for graduate school debt payments on a case-by-case basis. OSI will reimburse the individual for the cost of medical insurance.

The program also provides other kinds of support to the Fellows. Fellows are required to take part in our annual convening that provides technical training and support, and introduces new Fellows to the Fellowships network. As part of the convening, we host a luncheon with Fellows and OSI staff to offer insights and potential for collaboration. We also offer monthly gatherings, which create a safe space for current and alumni Fellows to share experiences, problem solve, and network. An occasional newsletter is distributed with grant and workshop opportunities. We also offer other kinds of support to our Fellows, including access to occasional forums held by recognized leaders in our focus areas of addiction and health equity, criminal justice, and education.

How do I learn more about how to grow and sustain my initiative?

Local resources to contact include the Grants Collection at the Enoch Pratt Library (http://www.prattlibrary.org/locations/grants), the Community Law Center (www.communitylaw.org), and Maryland Nonprofits (www.marylandnonprofits.org).



Click the button below to access the application on the Open Society Foundations Grant Portal. If you have not used the portal before, you will need to create an account first. View the full application announcement here. If you have any questions, please email baltimorefellowship@opensocietyfoundations.org.

The deadline to apply is Monday, October 18, 2021 at 5pm.

OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowships Application

The OSI-Baltimore’s Community Fellowships Program was established in 1998 to assist individuals wishing to apply their education, life experiences, and professional experiences to serve marginalized communities. Now a corps of more than 200 individuals, Baltimore Community Fellows have established some of the most respected and successful initiatives in Baltimore, including B-360, Bikemore, Black Women Build, Black Yield Institute, the Book Thing of Baltimore, Community Conferencing, Community Law in Action, Thread, and Wide Angle Youth Media. Read about our Community Fellows Network here.

Program Staff

Pamela King

Pamela King Director, Community Fellowships Program

Priscilla Newton

Priscilla Newton Senior Program Administrative Officer

Recent Grants

Deborah B. Ramsey
Baltimore Community Fellow

Eliseba K. Osore
Baltimore Community Fellow