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Barr Awards $36.7 Million in Fourth Quarter Grants

New grants will help develop a community gathering space in Dorchester; cultivate youth leadership in the climate movement; and support efforts to expand diversity of Massachusetts’ educator workforce.

On December 6th, the Barr Foundation Board of Trustees met in person and approved three grants totaling $9.9M. This adds to 90 grants and $26.8M approved earlier this quarter, for a total of $36.7M in the fourth quarter of 2023. The Trustees also approved the Foundation’s 2024 grantmaking budget of $130M.

Learn more about some of our partners and their work below.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded 34 grants totaling $8.6M. A $1,000,000 grant was awarded to United States Artists to underwrite fellowships for New England artists and to support the development of a program framework that enhances systems of support for artists’ needs across financial capital, artist services, and policy work. A $260,000 grant supports Words As Worlds to construct a new bookstore and café to serve as a community gathering space in the heart of the Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester. A grant of $250,000 was awarded to Essex County Community Foundation to implement their Place-Based Impact Investment pilot, a program-related investment approach that seeks to generate positive social and environmental impacts alongside financial returns.

In Climate, Barr awarded 24 grants totaling $7.5M. A $250,000 grant to Woodwell Climate Research Center will support the expansion of the Just Access program in Massachusetts. A $100,000 grant to Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Inc. will conduct independent, non-partisan transportation research and analysis in Greater Worcester to inform public debate and decision-making. A $120,000 grant to Our Climate Education Fund will support youth leadership development in the climate movement in Massachusetts.

In Education, Barr awarded $11.4M through 21 grants. A $400,000 grant to Immigrant Family Services Institute (Build Public Will portfolio) will support their Youth Leadership Program, efforts to help newcomer families navigate the school system, and efforts to advocate for systemic change to better serve newcomer students. A $285,000 grant to The Teacher Collaborative (Invest in Educators portfolio) will support the first-year implementation of Elevating Educators, a coalition focused on collaboration between Massachusetts educator-focused nonprofits working to help attract, develop, and retain a diverse teacher workforce in the Commonwealth. A $3.8M grant to SRI International (Catalyze New Models portfolio) will support the continuation of their developmental evaluation and their ability to conduct an efficacy study of the Beyond Engage New England Initiative, which is focused on engaging students who are off track for high school graduation.

Sector Effectiveness awarded seven grants totaling $1.6M. A $225,000 grant over three years will provide operating support for The Lenny Zakim Fund, which works side-by-side with small grassroots organizations across Eastern Massachusetts, while providing holistic support in the form of grantmaking, essential resources, networking, and other services. A $200,000 grant to United Way of Rhode Island will provide two years of programmatic support for the newly-launched Rhode Island Alliance for Nonprofit Impact's Equity Funding Accelerator program. The Accelerator will build the financial sustainability and fundraising capacity of a cohort of BIPOC-led nonprofits and other groups affected by systemic inequities and, in turn, catalyze their ability to better serve clients and communities.

Grants Awarded in Fourth Quarter of 2023


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

View all grants data


In Education, Barr awarded $11.4 million through 21 grants.
View all Education grants


The Climate Program awarded 24 grants totaling $7.5 million.
View all Climate grants

Arts & Creativity

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded 34 grants totaling nearly $8.6 million.
View all Arts & Creativity grants

Special Initiatives

Through its Special Initiatives, Barr awarded seven grants totaling approximately $7.5 million.

Sector Effectiveness

In Sector Effectiveness, Barr awarded seven grants totaling approximately $1.6 million.
View all Sector Effectiveness grants


This category includes dues for Memberships & Sponsorships, honorariums, and employee gift matching.
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