A group of young people dance together outside in front of a church.

Barr Awards $23.8 Million in New Grants

Including support for creative placemaking partnerships, student-centered high school models, clean energy technology projects, and the creation of a great public realm throughout Boston’s waterfront.

At its final meeting of 2017, the Barr Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved grants totaling $19.3 million. This adds to $4.5 million in grants approved since the Trustees’ September meeting. We are pleased to highlight some of our new and continuing partnerships.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded fifteen grants totaling over $12.2 million. A $2 million grant to the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. will enable ArtPlace America to build a strong national field of creative placemaking and to strengthen practice and strategic partnerships in Massachusetts. A $465,000 grant to PRX, Inc. will support the development of new technical training programs for podcasters. This professional development will target a diverse group of users online and in-person at its new Allston-based facility, the Podcast Garage.

In Education, Barr awarded eight grants totaling $2.9 million that embrace innovative approaches to teaching and learning, while deepening our commitment to longstanding partners. A $300,000 grant to Central Falls School District in Rhode Island will support the redesign of the Central Falls High School’s instructional program to improve student achievement and better meet the needs of all learners. A $300,000 grant to Waltham Public Schools will enable a high school redesign planning process to transform the student experience at Waltham High School. A $150,000 grant to The Boston Foundation will support the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a public/private partnership working to dramatically increase the pace and scale of change in education for all residents of Boston.

In Climate, Barr awarded ten grants totaling nearly $2.1 million. In Clean Energy, two grants support demonstration projects of clean energy and resiliency technology. A $100,000 grant to E4TheFuture will support the development of a clean energy microgrid in Worcester. A $30,000 grant to Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), supports the development of modular homes that achieve net zero carbon emissions. In Mobility, a $300,000 grant to The Marion Institute will support three Bus Rapid Transit pilots serving over 30,000 riders in Arlington, Everett, Cambridge, and Watertown.

In Cross-Program Initiatives, Barr awarded sixteen grants totaling $3.9 million, including up to $1.2 million to support professional and organizational development for the Class of 2017 Barr Fellows, as well as organizational costs associated with each Fellow’s sabbatical and exploratory projects. Barr has also made a $2 million grant to WBUR to support its CitySpace facility, slated to open in late 2018. This space will provide a new home for inquiry, conversation, and engagement about the issues facing Boston and the region. CitySpace represents the final piece in WBUR’s transformation to a multi-media, multi-platform organization that serves the public on air, online, and in person.

Through its Boston Waterfront Initiative, Barr has awarded six grants totaling $530,000 to support community engagement and constituency-building efforts to advance a long-term vision and great public realm throughout the waterfront. These grants are the result of a competitive Request for Proposals issued by the Foundation. Six new partners in this initiative include The American City Coalition, Artists for Humanity, Fort Point Neighborhood Association, The Friends of the East Boston Greenway, The Harborkeepers, and Mystic River Watershed Association. Barr also awarded a grant of $2 million to Trustees of Reservations to continue its efforts to develop signature open space on the Boston waterfront.

Explore a breakdown of Barr’s most recent grantmaking in the chart below, and link to our grants database for more details.

New Grants – December, 2017


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

View all 2017 grant data

Arts & Creativity

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded fifteen grants totaling over $12 million.
View all 2017 Arts & Creativity grants

Cross-Program Initiatives

In Cross-Program Initiatives, Barr awarded sixteen grants totaling $3.9 million.
View all 2017 Cross-Program Initiative grants


In Education, Barr awarded eight grants totaling $2.9 million.
View all 2017 Education grants

Special Initiatives

Through its Special Initiatives program, Barr has awarded six grants totaling $2,600,000.
View all 2017 Special Initiative grants


In Climate, Barr awarded ten grants totaling nearly $2.1 million.
View all 2017 Climate grants


This category includes employee gift matching and memberships & sponsorships.
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