Boston Harbor Now

Barr Announces Request for Proposals as Part of Waterfront Initiative

Foundation issues RFP to support constituency-building for a great public realm along Boston’s waterfront.

In May 2016, the Barr Foundation publicly launched an initiative to support the realization of a great public realm throughout Boston’s waterfront. We did so out of a firm belief that today’s decisions about the best use for Boston’s waterfront will have lasting impact for future generations, and that a comprehensive vision with a long-term perspective is essential.

To support this priority, Barr has thus far committed $6 million to advance a vision for Boston’s waterfront that:

  • Provides exceptional parks and accessible open spaces;
  • Engages and reflects the full range of Boston neighborhoods and their residents;
  • Welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities;
  • Enables responsible development that is attentive to the public’s interest, design excellence, and mobility; and
  • Seamlessly addresses the critical need for resiliency and adaptation to climate change.

Grants awarded to date have principally supported Harbor-wide planning and capacity-building efforts.

As Barr looks to the next phase of its waterfront initiative, building upon the work of our current partners and the recently-released waterfront vision by the City of Boston, we seek to elevate community- and resident-level perspectives on waterfront issues and to build constituencies focused on realizing a great public realm throughout Boston’s waterfront. To that end, we are today issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to support community-based efforts that advance these goals and that embrace a long-term vision for the waterfront.

The RFP is available here and includes further details on the priorities and activities Barr aims to support. We welcome proposals from a range of organizations. Barr is particularly interested in organizations that reflect the diverse backgrounds of Boston residents and that have track records of success in engaging and mobilizing a broad and inclusive range of local constituencies.

We expect to announce a set of grants awarded via this RFP later in 2017, as well as to share additional updates on Barr’s waterfront initiative throughout the fall.

For Barr, the waterfront initiative requires the investment of patient capital oriented toward a long-term view. Success for this work will also require sustained engagement by the public, advocating for the waterfront they seek for themselves and for generations to come. The intent of this next phase of Barr’s work is to enable such engagement in an organized and coordinated manner, so that resident voices can be heard as we continue collectively to shape the waterfront that Boston deserves.

View the waterfront engagement RFP

Learn more about our waterfront initiative

Please note, the following types of activities are not eligible for funding via this RFP:

  • Recreational activities (unless there is a clear connection to long-term planning and constituency-building)
  • Neighborhood improvement and beautification capital projects
  • Research projects
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