Frequently asked questions

What is B’more Invested?   

B’more Invested is a new, piloted strategy for community-centered grantmaking anchored by OSI-Baltimore and Baltimore’s Promise. Through the initiative’s first grantmaking cycle, the initiative will administer $2.3 million in pooled, private capital to invest in grassroots approaches led by leaders of color promoting healthy, safe, and thriving neighborhoods. Members of the B’more Invested Grant Advisory Team (GAT), which consists of 23 community stakeholders and 11 funders, have distributed over $1.5 million to support community-based alternative solutions aligned with B’more Invested’s focus areas. Nearly $500,000 has been allocated to support community participation in the decision-making process and grantee capacity building. The remaining funding supports facilitated learning opportunities for the GAT and grantee cohort and the cost to administer the initiative’s funds. 

B’more Invested centers the core values of racial equity, justice, community transformation and collaboration. The first round of funding is a demonstration effort designed to identify and uplift promising local models.

Who started B’more Invested?

Baltimore’s Promise and OSI-Baltimore partnered on a co-investment that launched the B’more Invested pooled capital fund and now provide the staffing to anchor day-to-day management of the initiative.

Eleven funders are now part of the effort, along with two dozen community members who are members of the Grant Advisory Team. The first phases of the initiative were additionally supported by partner facilitators, the W. Haywood Burns Institute and Art in Praxis. 

What does “community-centered capital” mean?

B’more Invested is committed to sharing power with community residents in our grantmaking decisions so that our investments align with community needs and opportunities. We additionally strive to make sure that community and grantee input and involvement drive every aspect of the initiative’s design, implementation, learning agenda and approach to evaluation. Last, we seek to build a sense of community and lasting, transformational relationships between all of those involved — grantees, staff, partner facilitators, funder representatives and community advisors.  

How is this kind of grantmaking different than that of traditional philanthropies? 

B’more Invested was forged to address disparities in how philanthropy has traditionally operated. Nationally, 8 percent of philanthropic investment goes to people of color, with less than 2 percent of grant dollars from large foundations going to Black-led organizations. 

In Baltimore, communities of color have also experienced systemic disinvestment from both public and private sources for centuries. An Urban Institute analysis shows that Baltimore City neighborhoods that are less than 50 percent African American receive nearly four times the investment of neighborhoods that are over 85 percent African American, and low-poverty neighborhoods are receiving one and a half times the investment of high-poverty neighborhoods.

Through sessions facilitated in partnership with  the W. Haywood Burns Institute and Art in Praxis, B’more Invested created a diverse group of decision makers, bringing together both community leaders and funders with a focus on building strong relationships among the groups. This effort also seeks to reimagine systems of community support and to explore strategies for promoting the longer-term sustainability, expansion and replication of funded initiatives. B’more Invested has also explored less burdensome operational and administrative approaches, such as the decision not to use a traditional Request for Proposal process.

Who makes decisions about B’more Invested grants?

Our grant decisions are made by a panel made up of trusted leaders from the Baltimore community along with representatives of our funding partners. Learn more about our Grant Advisory Team.

What are the sizes of B’more Invested grants? 

In its first round, B’more Invested has made general operating grants awards of up to $150,000 to 10 local organizations. Grants will be disbursed over an 18-month performance period. Grantees will also be afforded access to capacity-building support focused on project sustainability, evaluation and other topics identified and prioritized by grantees in partnership with OSI and Baltimore’s Promise staff.

What are the priorities for B’more Invested’s first round of grantmaking?

The Grant Advisory Team identified and funded efforts to support community-based alternative solutions working to address issues of community safety through these three approaches:

  •  Shifting Crisis Response:  Community-based alternative systems and interventions that respond to personal, group or community crisis in an equitable and restorative manner. 
  • Stabilization:  Community-based alternative systems and interventions that facilitate the stabilization and holistic growth and development of people. 
  • Healing and Restoration:  Community-based alternative systems and interventions that ameliorate the intergenerational trauma and harm experienced by communities at the hands of unjust and inequitable systems. 

Who is eligible for consideration for B’more Invested grants?

The Grant Advisory Team considered individuals and entities that: 

  1. Are Black leaders, leaders of color, or collective or partnership led by and prominently representing black people and/or people of color.
  2. Lead a grassroots program, campaign, or initiative that serves high-opportunity, yet historically marginalized and disinvested  communities in Baltimore City.
  3. Possess a proven track record and active community reputation of serving high-opportunity/historically marginalized communities in Baltimore City.
  4. Demonstrate a purpose and philosophy that aligns with the B’more Invested mission of supporting  community-led efforts working to deconstruct, reimagine, and rebuild community-serving systems and institutions, and that aligns with one or more of B’more Invested’s grant priorities.
  5. Preferably, be resilient, persistent groups that are working successfully despite being left out of adequate support from traditional funders. 
  6. Be deeply respected by local communities and open to using the initiative to explore potential strategies  for growth and sustainability.

How do I apply for a grant?

At this time, B’more Invested is not accepting applications for grants. Please contact us using this form to receive updates from us about future grant opportunities.

How can funders and other potential partners get involved?

B’more Invested welcomes inquiries from philanthropic organizations and other entities that share our vision for community-centered grantmaking. Please use this form to contact us.