Our Grantmaking

The program staff of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI) work closely with a broad range of actors at the city and state level—community and civic leaders, policymakers, advocates, academicians and practitioners, among others—and monitor shifting landscapes to develop strategies to achieve lasting change. This deep engagement in the field, coupled with OSI’s Advisory Board, positions the program staff to establish specific goals and identify a set of complementary strategies. As program staff are responsible for becoming familiar with the most relevant and engaged individuals and organizations in their respective fields, they generally are able to identify potential partners to achieve OSI’s programmatic goals. As a result, the majority of the grants awarded by OSI are the result of outreach, rather than external inquiries.

Program staff, however, may be unfamiliar with emerging groups. Further, OSI recognizes the importance of remaining open to new ideas and strategies. For those reasons, groups that are aligned with Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s programmatic goals are invited to submit a short Letter of Inquiry (LOI) for consideration.

Before submitting an LOI, groups are encouraged to review the program pages for our Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Education and Youth Development, and Addiction and Health Equity programs to learn more about their goals and campaigns and to see if there is a good fit. Individuals interested in the Community Fellowships program should submit an application by the due date, which is generally in the spring.

There are a few parameters:

  • Open Society Institute-Baltimore generally works at the policy level, looking to change policies, practices, and beliefs that hold people in concentrated poverty. We do not support direct service programs except in rare instances when they are used to demonstrate that such programs, if applied systemically, would have a broad impact.
  • The proposed work must support one of Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s three program areas: Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Education and Youth Development, and Addiction and Health Equity programs. (The Fellowships Program is an exception. Guidelines here.)
  • The proposed work must focus on Baltimore or, if state-based, must significantly benefit Baltimore.
  • Open Society Institute-Baltimore does not support capital campaigns, events, endowments, scholarship, travel, and grants to individuals other than Community Fellowships.

LETTER OF INQUIRY FORM (2-3 page limit)

  1. Briefly describe the organization, its mission and its history.
  2. Briefly describe the proposed program and how it addresses OSI-Baltimore’s programmatic goals.
  3. Briefly describe how the organization, including in conjunction with the proposed program, coordinates or collaborates with other relevant organizations, community groups, community and civic leaders.
  4. Confirm that the project will focus on Baltimore or, if state-wide, will significantly benefit Baltimore City residents.
  5. Indicate the approximate cost of the carrying out the initiative and the amount requested.
  6. Attach a copy of the organization’s tax exempt status letter.
  7. Provide a contact person’s name, address, phone number and email address.

Please submit your letter of inquiry to osi.baltimore@opensocietyfoundations.org.