10 Baltimoreans win community fellowship awards of $48,750 each; Open Society Institute provided grants to be used in neighborhood projects


David Miller plans to address the high rate of violence among youths in the Edmondson Avenue corridor of West Baltimore.

LaTanya Bailey Jones is teaching children to be critical consumers of the electronic media and how to produce media messages.


Miller, Bailey and eight other Baltimoreans were recognized last night at the Tremont Plaza Hotel for winning 18-month community fellowship grants worth $48,750 each. The awards will enable them to help make a difference in their neighborhoods.

The grants are provided by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, a branch of the Open Society Institute, a private foundation founded by billionaire George Soros in New York City. This is the second year the institute has given grants to Baltimore and New York residents.

This year, New York had seven winners. Last year, each city had 10.

The selection process

Nearly 200 people filed applications for grants in Baltimore, said Pamela King, program officer with the Community Fellowship Program. After review, the list was pared to 50, who were asked to submit full proposals.

Twenty people advanced to interviews by a six-member selection committee that chose the winners, who began working on their projects Oct. 1, King said.

"It's incumbent upon them to do what's necessary to make their projects happen," she said. "But we treat it like a leadership workshop and assist them with different things like media training, resource development, fund raising, proposal writing and things like that."

One winner's plan

Daniel Sekowski said he's excited about getting a chance to work with high school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods, giving them an opportunity to learn about the design field.

"Basically, I want to make them hungry," said Sekowski, 27, a 1998 graduate of Eastern College in St. David's, Pa. "I want them to develop a passion to learn more about life."

With his grant, Sekowski, who has a bachelor's degree in organization management with a minor in the arts, hopes to pair the students with architects, landscape architects and graphic artists.

"These students are going to be working on real projects in their own communities," Sekowski said. "It's going to be amazing. They'll even have an opportunity to shadow a professional in a local firm during the summer."

Other winners are the Rev. Karen Brown, Alison Burke, Diane Kuthy, Corrine E. Meijer, John Millen, Vernell Murray and Rebecca Yenawine.

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