How we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Approach

This page offers information about the Barr Foundation’s response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 has laid bare the inequities in our modern world. Everyone is being impacted by the virus and its implications. Yet, some communities are suffering far more than others and that reality has guided Barr’s response to the pandemic.

Our first grantmaking in response to COVID-19 focused on urgent needs in communities in Massachusetts - especially immigrant and Black communities that have been disproportionately impacted. In deciding where to grant funds, we have invested in organizations closest to those communities and most in touch with their needs. Since April 2020, our emergency-response grantmaking has included:

While undertaking new, emergency grantmaking in response to the pandemic, we have remained committed to our existing partners and our core programs of Arts & Creativity, Climate, and Education. The bulk of our resources continue to focus on the needs of those partners - extending the flexibility and supports we committed to provide, when the Foundation shifted to all-remote operations in March 2020.

All of Barr's COVID-19-related grantmaking can be found in our grants database.

Below we include links to relevant posts from our blog as well as links to joint statements where Barr has added its name in solidarity with others.

Recent Blog Posts About COVID-19

COVID-19 Grantmaking

Barr has awarded over $19.7 million in COVID-19 grants as of April 2021.

The total above includes emergency response grants and other pandemic-related grantmaking described below, and additional COVID-19 grantmaking through our programs.

Explore Barr's COVID-19 grantmaking

Following are some of the COVID-19 grantee cohorts and response funds we supported:

Boston Emergency Response Funds

We contributed to pooled funds created by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and The Boston Foundation that provide aid to Boston residents and organizations serving frontline communities in Boston.

Massachusetts Community Foundations

We also partnered with a set of community foundations in an effort to get resources to work as quickly as possible across the Commonwealth. We believe the leaders working in greatest proximity to communities deserve our trust, support, and investment.

Jim Canales described these emergency response grants in Boston and via our community foundation partners in this blog post.

Organizations Serving Immigrant Communities in Massachusetts

So many of those on the front lines of COVID-19 are immigrants. And they are bearing the risks of COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers. We awarded unrestricted resources to help these critical organizations remain stable at a time when they are needed most.

Organizations Serving Black Communities in Massachusetts

Our COVID-19 response grantmaking has focused on supporting populations in Massachusetts disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, including Black residents who have experienced more than three times the rate of positive cases compared to white residents. We awarded grants to 19 organizations playing a critical role helping Black communities grapple with the pandemic.

Vaccine Equity Efforts

We coordinated with multiple local funders to complement the public sector's work on an equitable vaccine rollout. This round of grantmaking included over $2 million to support a range of aligned activities and organizations working on vaccine equity.