Non-profit

Alliance for Open Society International (Open Society Institute Baltimore)

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

81-0623035

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $8,290,000
Expenses: $9,895,409
Assets: $31,049,710

Type:

Open Society Foundations Branch

Formal Name:

Alliance for Open Society International

Doing Business As:

Open Society Institute – Baltimore

President:

Patrick Gaspard

Filings:

2018 Form 990

For more information, see Open Society Foundations (Nonprofit)

Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI) is the legal operating name for Open Society Institute Baltimore, the only U.S. field office for the Open Society Foundations, one of the primary foundations of liberal billionaire George Soros.

Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI) is the legal operating name for the Open Society Institute Baltimore, a field office of the Open Society Network. Founded in 1998, it is the only U.S. field office for the Open Society Foundations, one of the world’s largest philanthropic groups and a primary foundation founded by liberal billionaire George Soros. [1]

AOSI was created in 1998 as an experiment – “a social justice laboratory” – to apply left-progressive approaches to drug addiction, criminal justice, and education. [2] In 2013, George Soros said, “Baltimore is our poster child, the city that has done the most.” Soros said, “we now consider the Baltimore experiment so successful that we wanted to replicate it nationwide.” [3] However, Baltimore’s incarceration rate is three times the U.S. national average, and Baltimore continues to have “one of the highest per capita heroin addiction rates in the nation.” [4] [5] OSF has opened no additional U.S. field offices as of mid-2020.

Parent Organization

Hedge fund investor George Soros created the Alliance for Open Society International’s parent organization, the Open Society Foundations, in 1979 to pay for scholarships for Black South African students suffering under the racist apartheid policies of the country’s then-white-dominated government. Soros also funded students from the Soviet bloc to study in the West. He opened his first foundation in then-Communist-ruled Hungary in 1984 to expand access to information, and expanded Eastern Europe and Russian-focused operations throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He also operated a foundation in China and engaged in post-apartheid work in South Africa. [6]

The Foundation began significant operations in the U.S. in the 1990s, focusing on stopping the War on Drugs, relaxing limits on immigration, abolishing the death penalty, and reducing incarceration. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Foundation focused on opposing alleged discrimination against Muslims, and it backed opening up legal marriages to same-sex couples. Approximately 20 percent of the Foundation’s money is spent on U.S. operations. [7]

Internationally, the Foundation’s work is often used to oppose dictatorships and to support human rights, though much of its work in Europe is focused on left-leaning political objectives. In the U.S., the Foundation normally promotes left-leaning policy and cultural positions about sexuality, abortion, immigration, climate change, and gun control. Fellowships are a significant part of the Foundation’s support work. [8]

The Foundation also focuses on broad social change concepts from a left-of-center point of view. For example, its U.S. prostitution promotion funding prioritizes “groups and coalitions which also demonstrate meaningful inclusion of trans people and people of color.” Its racial justice fellowships description claims that “toxic narratives […] economic insecurity, and an outright assault on civil rights protections” are “threats.” The page also claims “structural racism and xenophobia” are “seemingly intractable problems.” [9] 

Baltimore Programs

History

George Soros and the Open Society Foundations launched Alliance for Open Society International in 1998 as an experiment – “a social justice laboratory” – to focus on addressing three problems in the Baltimore area from a left-progressive perspective: “drug addiction, an over-reliance on incarceration, and obstacles that impede youth in succeeding inside and out of the classroom.” [10]

AOSI provides support for “social entrepreneurs” in Baltimore through its “Community Fellowships” program, which gives each Fellow “$60,000 over 18 months,” as well as covering health insurance, travel, and relieving education debt. [11] Fellowships are focused on “implementing projects that address problems in underserved communities in Baltimore City.” [12]

In 2013, George Soros said, “Baltimore is our poster child, the city that has done the most.” Soros said, “we now consider the Baltimore experiment so successful that we wanted to replicate it nationwide.” [13] However, Baltimore’s incarceration rate is three times the U.S. national average, and Baltimore continues to have “one of the highest per capita heroin addiction rates in the nation.” [14] [15] OSF has opened no additional U.S. field offices.

AOSI celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. [16] The group’s 20th anniversary speaker series in 2018 included then-Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh (D) and former mayor Kurt Schmoke (D). [17] In February 2020, Pugh was sentenced to three years in jail for fraud and other charges related to using public money to increase purchases of her book. [18]

Education and Youth Development

AOSI’s Education and Youth Development program seeks to keep children in school and implement schooling policies that the Open Society Institute-Baltimore believes will improve student outcomes. AOSI’s “High Value High Schools” program is intended to increase “graduation rates and post-secondary success, particularly for Baltimore’s African-American male students.” [19]

In 2016-2017, AOSI made grants totaling $1.855 million towards its Education and Youth Development program. [20]

Criminal and Juvenile Justice

The Criminal and Juvenile Justice program seeks to reduce incarceration by making it a “last resort” option. This includes reducing bail and increasing the number of people released on parole. [21]

In 2016-2017, AOSI made grants totaling $1.97 million towards its Criminal and Juvenile Justice program. [22]

Addiction and Health Equity

This program seeks to expand public access to behavioral health services, particularly drug addiction services. AOSI seeks to “divert individuals struggling with addiction from the criminal justice system into the public health and social services systems.” [23]

In 2016-2017, AOSI made grants totaling $1.2 million towards its Addiction and Health Equity program. [24]

Community Fellowships

This program identifies community “activists and social entrepreneurs” and provides then with a grant of $60,000 for a term of 18 months in order to implement programs that “address problems in underserved communities in Baltimore City.” [25]

In 2016-2017, AOSI made grants totaling $715,000 towards its Baltimore Community Fellows program. [26]

AOSI’s impact goes beyond its direct funding. The group regularly partners with other left-of-center groups for events to assess race-related social change, provides public testimony to lawmakers, and publishes reports on its endeavors. [27]

International Programs

While OSI Baltimore’s grant standards include a requirement that “the proposed work must focus on Baltimore or, if state-based, must significantly benefit Baltimore,”[28] it made grants for work in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 totaling $427,644. [29] This goes to the “Constitutionalism Fund,” which is a collaboration between the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, and Open Society Foundations to promote the Constitution of South Africa. [30] .

AOSI likewise provided over $431,000 to a “Middle East Rule of Law” program dedicated to building government, institutional, and democratic foundations “in Palestine” in 2018. [31]

Government Funding

USAID

In 2005, the Alliance for Open Society International, together with Pathfinder International, filed a lawsuit against the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) over a Congressionally-mandated provision that required recipients of foreign aid to have “a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.”  The “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003” included a limitation on the use of funds that said, “No funds made available to carry out this division, or any amendment made by this division, may be used to implement any program that targets victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons…through any organization that has not stated in either a grant application, a grant agreement, or both, that it does not promote, support, or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution.” [32]

This requirement was controversial. Some aid organizations prefer to remain neutral on the legality of prostitution, out of concern that taking a position “explicitly opposing prostitution may alienate certain host governments, and may diminish the effectiveness of some of their programs by making it more difficult to work with prostitutes in the fight against HIV/AIDS.” There was also concern that the requirement could limit speech in other forums about how to address the spread of AIDS. [33]

The Alliance for Open Society International argued that the 2003 law, as implemented by USAID, “imposes an unconstitutional condition” because it mandated “that recipients of government funds adopt and express the government’s viewpoint as their own and by prohibiting recipients from engaging in any speech—even if privately funded—that the government deems ‘inconsistent’ with its orthodoxy.” [34] The AOSI’s position is consistent with the overall Foundation’s support for legalized prostitution. [35]

In November 2012, the US Supreme Court held that “The Policy Requirement violates the First Amendment by compelling as a condition of federal funding the affirmation of a belief that by its nature cannot be confined within the scope of the Government program.” [36]

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the “First Amendment does not mandate a viewpoint-neutral government,” and that “a central part of the Government’s HIV/AIDS strategy is the suppression of prostitution, by which HIV is transmitted,” therefore it was “entirely reasonable to admit to participation in the program only those who believe in that goal.” [37]

The U.S. Supreme Court decision had other ramifications, in addition to allowing AOSI to receive taxpayer funding while supporting legalized prostitution. Since the Court’s decision only applied to the U.S.-based organization, the federal government continued to enforce the prostitution provision for foreign entities. AOSI argued that the government was violating foreign entities’ rights, an argument with which a federal circuit court agreed in 2018. The U.S. Department of Justice appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court after a rehearing was denied in May 2019. [38] The liberal-leaning American Bar Association supported AOSI’s position. [39] In June 2020, the Court ruled against AOSI, allowing the restriction as applied to foreign entities to stand. [40]

In 2017, Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote that “Soros, his Open Societies [sic] Foundations (OSF), and their many smaller affiliates have received U.S. taxpayer money through USAID and that USAID has made the OSF the main implementer of its aid.” Given this, Gonzalez urged the Trump administration to “investigate the extent of cooperation between the OSF and its affiliates, USAID, and U.S. embassies abroad.” [41] Another report indicated that AOSI received over seven million dollars from the George W. Bush administration for its involvement with a federal needle exchange program overseas. [42]

Leadership

Patrick Gaspard is president of AOSI and the larger Open Society Foundations. [43] Gaspard joined the Foundation in 2017 as vice president after serving as President Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to South Africa from 2013 to 2016 and as the Obama White House director of political affairs. Prior to that, Gaspard was the executive director of the Democratic National Committee and the national political director for the Obama 2008 presidential campaign. Gaspard’s career began as a New York City-based union organizer and then political director for the SEIU. [44]

Alexander Soros is George Soros’ son and a member of the Foundation’s Global Board. A left-leaning activist, he sits on a number of boards and is engaged on environmentalism, left-of-center domestic and Israel-focused politics, and other issues through both direct donations and his positions with various organizations. He is also a major Democratic donor. [45]

Christopher Stone was president of the Open Society Foundation from 2012 to 2017. Prior to and after his time with the Foundation, his career has focused on academic instruction about criminal justice reform as a professor at various elite colleges. [46]

Danielle Torian was named director of AOSI in January 2020. [47] She has worked in activist as well as official Baltimore circles, including organizing events for Baltimore residents to apply for city grants after Freddie Gray’s death led to protests, riots, and the unsuccessful prosecution of police who arrested Gray shortly before his death. [48] Torain organized the events as part of her work with the race-oriented, Black-run group Frontline Solutions. [49]

The highest-paid employees of Alliance for Open Society International in 2018 were:[50]

  • Diana Morris: Program Director (Total Compensation: $329,861)
  • Lorna (Tracy) Brown: Associate Program Director (Total Compensation: $203,246)
  • Karen Webber: Division Director (Total Compensation: $208,944)
  • Pamela King: Division Director (Total Compensation: $196,973)
  • Scott Nolen: Team Manager (Total Compensation: $183,018) 

Financials

In 2018, Alliance for Open Society International reported total revenues of $8.9 million, total expenditures of $7.5 million, and net assets of $24.5 million. It made grants to other organizations totaling $4.5 million. [51]

References

  1. Wenger, Yvonne, “Open Society Institute’s social justice laboratory in Baltimore turns 15,” October 30, 2013. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-open-society-institute-box-20131028-story.html ^
  2. Open Society Baltimore, Mission and Values. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.osibaltimore.org/about/mission-and-values/ ^
  3. Wenger, Yvonne, “Open Society Institute’s social justice laboratory in Baltimore turns 15,” October 30, 2013. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-open-society-institute-box-20131028-story.html ^
  4. Baltimore Sun staff, “Who is in Prison and What it Costs,” June 28, 2016. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/citypaper/bcpnews-who-is-in-prison-and-what-it-costs-20160628-htmlstory.html ^
  5. Sherman, Susan G, et al, “Efforts to Reduce Overdose Deaths,” August 2013. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007886/ ^
  6. [1] Open Society Foundations, Our History. Accessed February 24, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/our-history ^
  7. [1] Open Society Foundations, Our History. Accessed February 24, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/our-history ^
  8. [1] Open Society Foundations, Soros Justice Fellowships. Accessed February 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/soros-justice-fellowships ^
  9. [1] Open Society Foundations, Soros Equality Fellowship. Accessed February 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/soros-equality-fellowship ^
  10. Open Society Baltimore, Mission and Values. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/about/mission-and-values/ ^
  11. Wenger, Yvonne, “Open Society Institute’s social justice laboratory in Baltimore turns 15,” October 30, 2013. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-open-society-institute-box-20131028-story.html ^
  12. Open Society Baltimore, Community Fellowships. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/programs-and-impact/baltimore-community-fellows/ ^
  13. Wenger, Yvonne, “Open Society Institute’s social justice laboratory in Baltimore turns 15,” October 30, 2013. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-open-society-institute-box-20131028-story.html ^
  14. Baltimore Sun staff, “Who is in Prison and What it Costs,” June 28, 2016. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/citypaper/bcpnews-who-is-in-prison-and-what-it-costs-20160628-htmlstory.html ^
  15. Sherman, Susan G, et al, “Efforts to Reduce Overdose Deaths,” August 2013. Accessed April 25, 2020.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007886/ ^
  16. Open Society Baltimore, 2018 Letter from the Director. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/annual_report/2018-impact-report/letter-from-the-director-2018impact/ ^
  17. Open Society Institute Baltimore, “20th anniversary speaker series.” Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.osibaltimore.org/20th-anniversary-speaker-series/ ^
  18. Brakkton Booker, “Ex-Baltimore Mayor gets 3 years in prison for ‘Healthy Holly’ children’s book scheme,” February 27, 2020. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/02/27/809929622/ex-baltimore-mayor-to-be-sentenced-for-healthy-holly-children-s-book-scheme ^
  19. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Education and Youth Development. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/programs-and-impact/education-and-youth-development/ ^
  20. Open Society Institute, Baltimore, Grantee Database. Accessed April 27, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/grantees-and-fellows/grantee-database/ ^
  21. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Accessed April 27, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/programs-and-impact/criminal-and-juvenile-justice/ ^
  22. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Grantee Database. Accessed April 27, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/grantees-and-fellows/grantee-database/ ^
  23. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Addiction and Healthy Equity. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.osibaltimore.org/programs-and-impact/addiction-and-health-equity/ ^
  24. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Grantee Database. Accessed April 27, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/grantees-and-fellows/grantee-database/ ^
  25. Open Society Baltimore, Baltimore Community Fellows. Accessed April 27, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/programs-and-impact/baltimore-community-fellows/ ^
  26. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Grantee Database. Accessed April 27, 2020.
    https://www.osibaltimore.org/grantees-and-fellows/grantee-database/ ^
  27. Open Society Institute Baltimore, Baltimore Justice Report. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.osibaltimore.org/news-and-reports/baltimore-justice-report/ ^
  28. Open Society Institute Baltimore, “Our grantmaking process.” Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.osibaltimore.org/grantees-and-fellows/grantmaking-process/ ^
  29. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Alliance for Open Society International. 2018. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/03/Alliance-for-Open-Society-International-2018-Form-990.pdf  ^
  30. Constitutionalism Fund, Overview. Accessed April 26. 2020.
    http://www.constitutionalismfund.co.za/#overview ^
  31. Influence Watch, Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. 2018 990. Accessed April 27, 2020.https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/03/Alliance-for-Open-Society-International-2018-Form-990.pdf ^
  32. U.S. Department of State, Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://2001-2009.state.gov/g/tip/rls/61130.htm ^
  33. Supreme Court, AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ET AL. v. ALLIANCE FOR OPEN SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL, INC., ET AL., June 20, 2013. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-10_21p3.pdf ^
  34. American Bar Association, “Brief of respondents Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., et al. filed,” March 27. 2013. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/briefs-v2/12-10_respondent.pdf ^
  35. Open Society Foundations, “Understanding sex work in an open society.” Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/understanding-sex-work-open-society ^
  36. Supreme Court, AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ET AL. v. ALLIANCE FOR OPEN SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL, INC., ET AL., June 20, 2013. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-10_21p3.pdf ^
  37. Supreme Court, AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ET AL. v. ALLIANCE FOR OPEN SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL, INC., ET AL., June 20, 2013. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-10_21p3.pdf ^
  38. Supreme Court, United States Agency for International Development, et al., v. Alliance for Open Society International Inc., et al. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.justice.gov/brief/file/1193856/download ^
  39. Natalie Dickes, “What is the new year beginning with? January Cases,” January 14, 2020. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/news_announcements/scotus-review-jan-2020/ ^
  40. Howe, Amy. “Opinion Analysis: Justices Uphold Condition for HIV/AIDS Funding.” SCOTUSblog, June 29, 2020. https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/06/opinion-analysis-justices-uphold-condition-for-hiv-aids-funding/. ^
  41. Gonzalez, Mike, “State Department and Congress Should Probe USAID, Soros Promotion of Radical Agenda Overseas,” March 27, 2017. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.heritage.org/gender/report/state-department-and-congress-should-probe-usaid-soros-promotion-radical-agenda ^
  42. John K. Carlisle, “Soros groups receive taxpayer funds.” Accessed April 27, 2020. https://nlpc.org/wp-content/uploads/files/Soros_SR_1.pdf ^
  43. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Alliance for Open Society International. 2018. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/03/Alliance-for-Open-Society-International-2018-Form-990.pdf  ^
  44. [1] Open Society Foundations, Patrick Gaspard. Accessed February 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/profiles/373 ^
  45. [1] Open Society Foundations, Alexander Soros. Accessed February 25, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/profiles/397 ^
  46. [1] Blavatnik School of Government, “Blavatnik School appoints new professor of practice,” June 21, 2019. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/news/blavatnik-school-appoints-new-professor-practice ^
  47. [1] Open Society Institute Baltimore, Danielle Torain, Director. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.osibaltimore.org/staff/danielle-torain-director/ ^
  48. [1] Bakari Kitwana, “Baltimore funding model challenges ‘nonprofit industrial complex’ practices,” August 30, 2018. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.colorlines.com/articles/baltimore-funding-model-challenges-nonprofit-industrial-complex-practices ^
  49. [1] Frontline Solutions, Main Website Page. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.frontlinesol.com/ ^
  50. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Alliance for Open Society International. 2018. Accessed April 26, 2020.
    https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/03/Alliance-for-Open-Society-International-2018-Form-990.pdf ^
  51. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Alliance for Open Society International. 2018. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/03/Alliance-for-Open-Society-International-2018-Form-990.pdf  ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Alexander Soros
    Board Member
  2. Christopher Stone
    Former President
  3. Jonathan Soros
    Board Member
  4. George Soros
    Main Donor
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2004

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $8,290,000 $9,895,409 $31,049,710 $6,236,922 N $7,528,388 $0 $754,444 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $14,429,452 $9,994,056 $32,983,479 $8,654,112 N $14,090,353 $0 $342,561 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $26,666,727 $9,409,657 $25,121,111 $5,534,795 N $26,090,970 $0 $683,437 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $9,404,201 $8,409,756 $7,582,902 $4,075,854 N $9,390,704 $0 $82 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $6,946,712 $10,881,100 $5,573,027 $3,215,261 N $6,930,121 $0 $106 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $5,549,433 $6,704,410 $8,355,001 $2,047,646 N $5,551,252 $0 $939 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $7,514,211 $481,464 $7,668,941 $206,800 N $7,513,664 $0 $547 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Alliance for Open Society International (Open Society Institute Baltimore)

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