Sep. 17, 2019


News   |     
OSI and partners launch survey and forums to promote accountable leadership for Baltimore

BALTIMORE—Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI) is thrilled to announce the launch of Blueprint for Baltimore: 2020 and Beyond, a collaborative effort to create a community-driven agenda for Baltimore and hold the city’s leaders accountable to it.

The constant turnover in Baltimore City leadership in recent years has underlined the need for good governance as the cornerstone of any sustained effort to address the city’s many challenges. OSI, in coordination with community leaders, conceived of the Blueprint for Baltimore as the best way to collect reliable, community-owned data on city residents’ top priorities, ensure that those priorities remain at the center of discussions through the 2020 election season, and demand accountability to those priorities beyond 2020. 

During Phase One of the Blueprint process, OSI is partnering with community groups, including Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, Baltimore Votes, Black Girls Vote, and the No Boundaries Coalition, to conduct a citywide survey of 10,000 to 12,000 Baltimore City residents – the largest issue-oriented survey in city history – to identify Baltimore residents’ top priorities for the city’s next mayor and City Council.

During Phase Two, OSI and community partners will host a series of Mayoral and City Council forums, where candidates will be asked to commit to addressing Baltimore residents’ priorities and to offer responsive policy agendas. During Phase Three, OSI and community partners will monitor city leaders’ adherence to their promises and convene business and philanthropic leaders to explore ways to address community priorities.

Phase One launches this week with a series of Survey Design Workshops (see schedule below), conducted and led by community partners in consultation with HR&A Advisors, an employee-owned firm that has conducted similar citywide surveys designed to inform municipal policy in New York City and Washington, D.C., in collaboration with Open Society Foundations, and more recently in Portland, Oregon, and Houston.
Blueprint for Baltimore Survey Design Workshops
Host Date Time Location
Black Leaders Organizing for Change Tuesday, September 17 6 to 8pm (Facebook event page) Oak Hill Community Center
2239 Kirk Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21218
CASA (bilingual) Thursday, September 19 6:30 to 8pm CASA
2224 E Fayette St., Baltimore MD 21231
Baltimore Votes and Black Girls Vote Thursday, September 19 5 to 6:30pm (Facebook event page) Morgan State University Student Center, Room 212;
1700 E. Cold Spring Ln, Baltimore, MD 21251
No Boundaries Coalition Saturday, September 21 2 to 3:30pm (Facebook event page) No Boundaries Coalition
1808 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217
OSI, HR&A, and community partners will use the input from the workshops to create the survey by mid-October. Each community group will recruit ten local residents to be Data Fellows, who HR&A will train in principles of data equity and ways to leverage data to shape public policy. The Data Fellows will conduct the survey between mid-October and late November through house-to-house canvassing, community meetings and other gatherings, and online outreach. The results will be reportedly publicly by early January, 2020. Importantly, this data will be community-owned and available for the public to use as a resource.

“Baltimore’s talented, passionate people are its greatest asset,” says Tracy Brown, acting director of OSI-Baltimore. “As we tried to imagine a process that would lay the groundwork for accountable, responsive city governance, we knew we needed to start with the people and the trusted, on-the-ground organizations that can tap into their collective insight.”

Details about Phase Two, including the dates and locations of the Mayoral and City Council forums – to take place between January and April and include all declared primary candidates, and Phase Three will be determined in collaboration with community partners and announced in the coming months. Information about Blueprint for Baltimore will be available online at []

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.