Our Grantmaking
Process

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 guidance from OSI’s Advisory Board, positions program staff to establish specific goals and identify complementary strategies to reach those goals. As program staff are responsible for becoming familiar with the most strategic and effective individuals and organizations in their respective fields, they generally are able to identify potential partners to achieve OSI’s programmatic goals. As a result, OSI solicits the majority of the proposals that it ultimately supports.

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, OSI accepts and reviews short Letters of Inquiry from groups that are aligned with its goals.

Before submitting a Letter of Inquiry, groups are encouraged to review the program pages for the 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 early in the year.

There are a few parameters:

  • Open Society Institute-Baltimore generally works to improve or restructure systems, 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 are 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, and 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 carrying out the initiative and the amount requested.
  6. Attach a copy of the organization’s tax exempt status letter from the IRS.
  7. Provide a contact person’s name, address, phone number and email address.

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