A woman speaks on stage.

Barr Awards $24.6 Million in Fourth Quarter of 2020

Grants include support for zero-energy buildings in Massachusetts, a participatory grantmaking pilot to advance climate resilience, and continued support for nonprofits to recover from the effects of COVID-19.

The Barr Foundation Board of Trustees met virtually this December and approved grants totaling $16.2 million, in addition to $8.5 million in new grants approved since the September board meeting. Read more about some of our partners and their work below.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded 16 grants totaling $9.6 million. Fourteen grants were renewals to partner organizations in the six-year ArtsAmplified Initiative to continue strengthening their leadership capacity around artistic excellence, and reaffirming their ongoing commitment to risk-taking, relevance, and civic leadership through an equity lens. As they persevere through the pandemic's many challenges, these grants will support ArtsAmplified partners in creating and presenting vibrant and culturally expressive art for communities across Massachusetts.

In Climate, Barr awarded 22 grants totaling $6.9 million. In Clean Energy, a $450,000 grant to Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership will continue work to design and build zero-energy, resilient buildings, and advanced energy codes and building standards in Massachusetts. A $400,000 grant to the Initiative for Energy Justice (fiscal sponsor is Northeastern University) will support research and analysis to create a pipeline of future energy policy leaders who will support and serve frontline communities. This research will increase the capacity of these organizations to develop regionally specific tools and training for advocates and policymakers. In Mobility, a $2.5 million grant to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy will support its leadership on accelerating bus rapid transit in Greater Boston through the BostonBRT initiative. A $250,000 grant to Grist Magazine will support journalism on mobility and equity and the development of both its fellowship program for journalists of color and its Environmental Journalists of Color Network. In Resilience, a $600,000 grant to the City of Chelsea will support the partnership of Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop to create a North Suffolk Office of Resilience and Sustainability to advance climate resilience and sustainability across these communities. A $850,000 grant to the New England Grassroots Environment Fund will support the Fund to pilot Strengthening Community Climate Resilience, a participatory grantmaking initiative to advance community level climate resilience in Metro Boston.

In Education, Barr awarded 21 grants totaling $5.4 million. A $100,000 grant to Salem Public Schools will support the engagement of students, family, and educators in the next steps of the high school design journey for Salem High School. A $740,000 grant to the Center on Reinventing Public Education (fiscal sponsor is the University of Washington Foundation) will support yearlong systematic research to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on New England public high schools through an equity lens that focuses on the experiences and outcomes of marginalized students. A $150,000 grant to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Greater Boston will build The Community Learning Collaborative, a 12-week integrated, multi-pronged continuum of services for children from low-income families in Boston who seek safe, nurturing educational programs. This collaborative is led in partnership with the YMCA, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), The BASE, and Latinos for Education.

In Sector Effectiveness, Barr awarded four grants totaling $550,500. A $100,000 grant to Third Sector New England (TSNE) will support a pilot program of peer learning, coaching, and technical assistance for executive directors of grassroots and community-based organizations, prioritizing leaders of color. This program was developed by TSNE Mission Works and supported by a collaboration among Barr, the Boston Foundation, Hyams Foundation, and Klarman Family Foundation. A $450,000 grant to the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) will provide general operating support and capacity building funds to recover from the effects of COVID-19, advance equity, and expand CEP’s reach.

In Special Initiatives, Barr awarded three grants totaling $2.2 million. Read Jim’s announcement to learn more about our most recent set of Special Initiatives grants centered on racial equity in Greater Boston.

Fourth 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 four grants totaling $550,000.
View all Sector Effectiveness grants


In Education, Barr awarded twenty-one grants totaling $5.4 million.
View all Education grants


In Climate, Barr awarded twenty-two grants totaling $6.9 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 sixteen grants totaling $9.6 million.
View all Arts & Creativity grants

Special Initiatives

Through its Special Initiatives program, Barr awarded three grants totaling $2.2 million.
View all Special Initiative grants
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