The Open Society Institute–Baltimore, established in 1998, is the only field office for the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, focusing on a single city and testing the effectiveness of place-based philanthropy strategy on some of the biggest challenges facing Baltimore and other urban centers in the United States.
Our three intertwined programs aim to keep children connected to and engaged in school by making city-wide reforms that lower suspension rates and increase attendance and enhancing after-school and learning initiatives; make drug addiction treatment accessible to all who need it through well-implemented health care reforms and support for a diverse coalition to advocate for treatment expansion; and reduce the number of Marylanders caught up in the criminal/juvenile justice systems through diversion and re-entry programs and the systemic reform of ineffective and discriminatory sentencing, parole, and probation policies.
We also support the Baltimore Community Fellows, a corps of social innovators—now over 120 strong—who work directly to revitalize underserved communities, demonstrating the potential of talented individuals to catalyze social change.
The Baltimore office has become one of the city’s most visible and effective civil society groups, spending over $90 million in 14 years to support its comprehensive approach to the root causes of poverty and injustice.
Challenges Ahead of Us
Until 2005, we were funded solely by George Soros, whose contribution of more than $60 million to the city is the single largest outside philanthropic investment in Baltimore's history for work to help its most vulnerable citizens. Because of this investment, the Open Society Institute–Baltimore has been a significant contributor to many efforts to support lasting change in this city.
We now actively seek other investors to support our future work. George Soros will match all gifts 1:1. All funds raised from our investors go directly into four key initiatives while support from Soros covers our administrative costs and overhead.