A family bikes on open streets.

Barr Awards $12 Million in Second Quarter of 2020

New grants include support for reimagining public space post-pandemic; retrofitting Massachusetts’ triple-deckers for energy efficiency; and surveying K-12 parents on the educational challenges of COVID-19.

The Barr Foundation Board of Trustees met virtually this June and approved grants totaling $1.9 million. In addition, $10 million in new grants were approved since the March board meeting. We are pleased to highlight some of our partners and their work below.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded nine grants totaling over $2.5 million. A $900,000 grant to the New England Foundation for the Arts will continue support of its Creative City initiative, which strengthens networks of local artists and organizations engaged in community-based socially relevant work and supports a pilot initiative to re-imagine public space and community engagement in a post-pandemic world. A $1,000,000 grant to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. to support ArtPlace America's national and local efforts to convene and build a strong national field of creative placemaking practitioners, including its “Local Control, Local Fields” initiative, that leverages a wide network of stakeholders to engage in trust-based approaches to philanthropy.

In Climate, Barr awarded 17 grants totaling $1.6 million. In Clean Energy, a $100,000 grant to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will support a design competition to identify replicable triple-decker energy retrofit approaches. The triple-decker is one of the most common housing types in Massachusetts, and this program will reward innovative ideas for transitioning them into high-performing, low-carbon buildings. A $170,000 grant to New World Foundation will work with environmental justice and equity-focused organizations to assess needs, capacity, and financial health in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. In Mobility, a $470,000 grant to the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC) will support polling and focus groups to educate decisionmakers and stakeholders on transportation and climate issues.

In Education, Barr awarded nine grants totaling $1.7 million. A $200,000 grant to the Rhode Island Community Foundation will support the Rhode Island Department of Education and Providence Public School District to address recent findings on students’ experiences in school and implement interventions to design high schools that prepare all students for success. A $80,000 grant to MassINC will develop a survey of K-12 Massachusetts parents, in partnership with Education Trust MA, to understand the educational challenges facing families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Sector Effectiveness, Barr awarded ten grants totaling $1.5 million. Of these, four grants will support the nonprofit sector’s response to COVID-19. These grants, totaling $270,000, to Independent Sector, National Council of Nonprofits, Executive Service Corps of New England, and Project Evident will provide additional advocacy and technical assistance capacity for nonprofits in response to the pandemic.

To learn more about Barr’s Special Initiative grantmaking this quarter, see Jim Canales’ recent blog post on immigrant-serving organizations. Click here for more on Barr's grantmaking in response to COVID-19.

Second Quarter 2020


Click on the diagram sections for information specific to each of our program areas listed below.

View all grant data

Sector Effectiveness

In Sector Effectiveness, Barr awarded ten grants totaling $1,500,000.
View all Sector Effectiveness grants


In Education, Barr awarded nine grants totaling $1.7 million.
View all Education grants


In Climate, Barr awarded seventeen grants totaling $1.6 million.
View all Climate grants


This category includes organizational development grants, dues for Memberships & Sponsorships, and employee gift matching.

Arts & Creativity

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded nine grants totaling $2.5 million.
View all Arts & Creativity grants

Special Initiatives

Through its Special Initiatives program, Barr awarded thirty-six grants totaling $4.6 million.
View all Special Initiative grants
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