Barr Foundation Announces $28.5 Million in New Grants

Final grants of the year bring 2016 total to an all-time high of $73.5 million.

At its meeting on December 7, the Barr Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved a final set of grants for 2016, as the Foundation concluded its first year of implementing new strategic directions. In all, Barr awarded $73.5 million in grants during 2016, which represents the largest-ever annual authorization in the Foundation’s history. Jim Canales will share more in a blog post next week, including a preview of plans for 2017.

At this time, we invite you to explore all grants awarded this quarter through our online grants database and to learn more about our partners. Below we highlight several new and continuing efforts aligned with Barr’s strategic priorities announced earlier this year.

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded 14 grants totaling $7.6 million. Two new partnerships will help integrate the arts into community planning and development. A $1,525,000 grant to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) will support a comprehensive initiative to advance the arts as a core element of municipal planning through education and training, project funding, and other tools, as well as policy work. These resources will help meet demand from cities across the state for cultural planning and development strategies. A $1.1-million grant to the Worcester Cultural Coalition will help bring such strategies to fruition by supporting the fit-out and operations of the WOOteria, a new collaborative art space and 300-seat black box theater in the downtown district.

In Climate, Barr awarded 20 grants totaling $12 million. Grants of $1.2 million to both Acadia Center and the Conservation Law Foundation will support clean energy policy analysis and development in New England, and grants to the Better Future Project, Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Health Care Without Harm will help a variety of groups working to expand clean energy throughout the region to increase their leadership and grassroots organizing capacity. As Barr looks to support smart, walkable communities statewide, a $455,000 grant to The Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC) will assess transit-oriented development potential in Gateway Cities, providing insight into how different development and transit scenarios would affect these cities’ economies, services, and greenhouse gas emissions. Grants to the City of Boston and the UMass Boston Sustainable Solutions Lab will support neighborhood-level resilience projects, coastal protection analyses, and community engagement as part of Phase II of Climate Ready Boston.

In Education, Barr awarded 15 grants totaling nearly $3.6 million. Many of these support a growing spectrum of innovative school models and programs in the region designed to increase success in high school and beyond, especially for the most underserved students. A renewed grant of $300,000 to Roca will expand its intervention model for high-risk young men in Boston, as part of the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative. A $200,000 grant to College Bound Dorchester will support an external evaluation of its college access and success model for at-risk youth, which will inform the organization’s program improvement and related efforts in the field.

In Cross-Program Initiatives, Barr awarded four grants totaling $600,000. A $450,000 grant to the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) will provide core support to help MNN continue to serve as a key advocate and leadership voice for the state’s nonprofit sector. A $100,000 grant to the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) will help SIF strengthen its marketplace approach to social impact in Greater Boston, connecting social-purpose organizations with a community of supporters and skilled volunteers.

Barr also awarded more than $1.5 million to advance advocacy and open space as part of a special initiative to realize a great public realm throughout Boston’s waterfront, as well as one-time grants to support the design, construction, and maintenance of Martin’s Park on the Fort Point Channel, in memory of Martin Richard, who lost his life in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

As we conclude 2016 and look to the future, we keep in mind what a privilege it is to support and work with these and so many other outstanding partners throughout the region. We look forward to sharing more about, and from, them on this blog in the year ahead.

View our grants database

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Trevor Pollack

Guest Author Former Program Officer and Manager of Special Projects