girl smiles at laptop in a high school cafeteria

Holyoke Public Schools

Barr Awards $20.7 Million in Second Quarter of 2021

Grants include support for a national investment fund for alternate economic systems in the arts, a convening series for affordable housing advocates, and sector-wide efforts to transform evaluation paradigms in philanthropy into tools for greater equity.

The Barr Foundation Board of Trustees met virtually this June and approved grants totaling $3.6 million, in addition to $17 million in new grants approved since the March 2020 board meeting. Learn more about some of our partners and their work below.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded six grants totaling $5.8 million. A $2.4 million grant will support the New England Foundation for the Arts to focus its Public Art program on spatial justice – funding and facilitating an artist-driven movement to elevate the artistic and cultural expression of Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists and communities in public spaces. The Center for Cultural Innovation was awarded $1 million to support the AmbitioUS initiative, a national pooled investment fund that supports alternate economic systems and models in the arts to empower artists and increase collective ownership of resources.

In Climate, Barr awarded 29 grants totaling $4.8 million. In Clean Energy, a $690,000 grant to Toxics Action Center d/b/a Community Action Works will continue its direct work with communities to build power of community groups and develop equitable clean energy policies in New England. A $150,000 grant to Local Initiatives Support Corporation will support a series of convenings for affordable housing advocates to accelerate the decarbonization of affordable housing by identifying key barriers and developing solutions. In Mobility, a $600,000 grant to Transit Matters (fiscal sponsor is Conservation Law Foundation) will unite transit advocates, inform the public, and offer new perspectives to improve transit in and around Boston. In Resilience, a $355,000 grant to Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Inc. will develop and expand strategies to protect workers and students from increased health and safety risks from climate change. A $300,000 grant to the Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development will build organizational capacity to engage in climate resiliency efforts and engage Fields Corner residents and neighbors to develop resilient strategies.

In Education, Barr awarded 21 grants totaling $6.3 million. As part of the Strengthening School Leadership cohort, Barr awarded three grants totaling $2.3 million to Massachusetts school districts for implementation plans to strengthen current school leadership and create a pipeline for future leaders. The school districts are Gardner Public Schools (with Fitchburg Public Schools, Leominster Public Schools, and Winchendon Public Schools as the North Central School Leadership Pipeline), Holyoke Public Schools (with Veritas Preparatory Charter School), and Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, Inc. Barr awarded three grants totaling $790,000 to Portrait of a Graduate cohort members that will advance their action plans and graduate portraits to create positive, student-centered change for all learners. The school districts are Springfield Public Schools, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, and Boston Preparatory Charter Public School.

In Sector Effectiveness, Barr awarded four grants totaling $600,000. Two grants support collaborations geared toward changing foundation learning practices to advance racial equity. A $150,000 grant to the Equitable Evaluation Initiative (fiscal sponsor is the Seattle Foundation) will provide core support for their five-year initiative to shift evaluation paradigms in philanthropy so they become a tool for equity, and a $50,000 grant to the Center for Evaluation Innovation’s Evaluation Roundtable (fiscal sponsor is the Innovation Network), a network of evaluation and learning leaders from over 130 foundations that seeks to influence the philosophy and norms in philanthropy so that evaluation and learning advance racial equity and justice.

In Special Initiatives, Barr awarded 14 grants totaling $3 million. Read about some of the grants in this recent blog post about Barr’s racial equity work.

Second Quarter 2021


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 five grants totaling $600,000.
View all Sector Effectiveness grants


In Education, Barr awarded 21 grants totaling $6.3 million.
View all Education grants


In Climate, Barr awarded 29 grants totaling $4.8 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 six grants totaling $5.8 million.
View all Arts & Creativity grants

Special Initiatives

Through its Special Initiatives program, Barr awarded 14 grants totaling $3 million.
View all Special Initiative grants
comments powered by Disqus