Olga Maltseva hopes the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal will be, as the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal is, the publication that highlights “new ways to deal with old problems,” as well as provide Baltimore’s social entrepreneurs a small amount of seed funding to try out those new ways.
While the particulars aren’t quite decided yet — when the first print journal will be published, how often the journal will come out in print and online and who will be responsible for writing for and editing the publication — the journal itself will primarily function as a print publication with a corresponding website, a means to profile those Maltseva calls “social innovations and innovators.” The recruiting tool is self-selecting: “social innovators” must apply for a chance to not only have their ideas published, but also for a chance at maybe as much as $2,500 to implement their submitted idea.
It’s a project of the nonprofit Warnock Foundation, the eponymous organization of David Warnock, managing partner at Inner Harbor-based Camden Partners, where Maltseva also works.
“The question for many of us is, ‘How do I translate my idea into an actionable approach to solving Baltimore’s greatest challenges?’ ” said Warnock via e-mail. “The Baltimore Social Innovation Journal is designed to provide that road map.”
Warnock’s foundation has already sketched some of that road map: applications from social entrepreneurs to the first run of the Baltimore journal are encouraged to focus on poverty, education and drug addiction, the three topics takers of a Warnock-sponsored survey identified as this city’s “obstacles” when the survey results were published in September.
But some of the other impetus for introducing the journal comes from a slowly growing network between existing nonprofit organizations and socially-minded entrepreneurs. Maltseva is a regular at the almost-monthly Social Enterprise Breakfast, where nonprofit founders and employees spend roughly an hour discussing the marriage of creating structural change in Baltimore with commercial activities to make nonprofit endeavors financially independent from big-money backers.
Of course, that might mean that applications to the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal, at the beginning, are sourced from the same crop of people who move within similar social circles.
Maltseva said she, as well as whomever is brought on to serve as editor, will be looking for a “diversity of background and opinion,” and “ambassadors for social good” who are unknown.
“We hope what’ll start happening is these people will start to be on the radar of foundations in town,” she said.
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