Young people pose and pump fists in the air at a Neighbor to Neighbor rally.

Barr Awards $14.2 Million in Second Quarter of 2017

Grants to advance new school models, leverage arts to activate a downtown, and deepen grassroots support for clean energy.

At its second board meeting of 2017, Barr Foundation’ Board of Trustees approved grants totaling $8.3 million, in addition to $5.9 million in grants approved earlier in the quarter. We invite you to explore all of these awards through our online grants database and we are pleased to highlight a few of our partners and their work below.

In Education, Barr awarded 28 grants totaling nearly $6.9 million, including several grants to school districts that are challenging the traditional school structure and embracing innovative approaches to teaching and learning. A $600,000 grant to Holyoke Public Schools will enable the district to complete its high school redesign planning process, centered on three objectives: developing theme-based academies; improving instruction; and building strategic leadership capacity. A $150,000 grant awarded to Newport Public Education Foundation, Inc. will support the high school redesign planning process at Rogers High School. Later this month, Barr will share the first grants awarded in its initiative to support students off track to graduate high school, which were also approved.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded seven grants totaling nearly $400,000. A $150,000 grant to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc. supports the North Adams Exchange, an initiative to activate downtown North Adams and to leverage the audiences and excitement generated by the recent opening of MASS MoCA’s Building 6. The Exchange will include a series of light and sound installations and pop-up retail and restaurants, aiming to extend museum visitors’ experiences through the North Adams shopping district.

In Climate, Barr awarded 11 grants totaling more than $3.5 million. A set of grants was awarded to support the Green Justice Coalition, a collaborative effort of community-based organizations to build support for a sustainable and equitable clean-energy economy in Massachusetts: to strengthen the Coalition’s organizing power, $200,000 was awarded to the Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Education Fund, Inc., $100,000 to Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), Inc., and $400,000 to Community Labor United, Inc. Among the Coalition’s priorities are increasing access to solar energy for low-income residents and communities of color, and expanding renewable energy procurement requirements in the state. In addition, a $150,000 grant to The American Prospect, Inc. will support a series of articles on transportation, focusing on infrastructure, access, and carbon-emissions reductions.

In Cross-Program Initiatives, Barr awarded four grants totaling $875,000. A $750,000 grant was awarded to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. to provide core support for Fund for Shared Insight, championing strong feedback loops and greater openness to increase effectiveness in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. With this grant, Barr joins a group of a dozen core funders for Shared Insight’s next three-year phase.

In addition, more than $2.5 million has been awarded to date as part the Foundation’s 2017 Special Initiative to respond to dramatic shifts in national context, increased polarization, and growing concerns about equity and opportunity. The 15 grants awarded support frontline organizations working with vulnerable communities in Massachusetts, as well as investigative journalism and protections for freedom of the press.

View our grants database

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