As a complement to our core programs of Arts & Creativity, Climate, and Education, Barr supports a range of activities to reinforce the strategies guiding that work and to deepen our commitment to the region.
Cross-Program Initiatives focuses on three broad goals:
1. Invest in leaders.
Investing in leadership is a core value of the Foundation that permeates all of our activities. Through Cross-Program Initiatives we aim to:
- Advance extraordinary leadership through the Barr Fellowship: Since 2005, Barr has recognized and invested in close to 60 Boston leaders through the Barr Fellowship. We refined the program based on lessons from its first decade and selected a new cohort in 2017.
- Support Barr grantee leadership: With the engagement of our program team leads, we provide targeted and tailored support for individual leaders and leadership teams of select existing Barr grantees. We also support select grantees during times of leadership transition, which can be critical for organizations.
- Enhance nonprofit and public-sector leadership in the region: Given the ongoing shifts in demographics and emerging models of leadership, we aim to help cultivate a strong and diverse pipeline of nonprofit and public-sector leaders in New England. In 2017, we will explore and evaluate multiple approaches, existing and new, to strengthening and expanding development opportunities for next-generation and diverse leaders.
2. Inform sound decision-making.
Foundations can play an important role in supporting credible, objective research and analysis, as well as robust public engagement, that lead to informed decisions. We support such work within each of Barr’s core programs, and through Cross-Program Initiatives we aim to:
- Support research capacity in the region: We support organizations that provide research, polling, and/or data analysis on a range of issues critical to our region and the nonprofit sector. In identifying such organizations, we look for high degrees of credibility, objectivity, sophistication in approach, and reach.
- Stimulate informed public discourse: We support organizations that ensure credible, objective information reaches the public in timely ways and that facilitate thoughtful, productive engagement on the key challenges and opportunities facing the region.
3. Support infrastructure for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
Barr embraces a responsibility to support our field’s infrastructure. We provide targeted support to exceptional organizations and promising efforts that contribute to better knowledge and practice in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. We also welcome collaboration and learning with other funders engaged in these areas. We aim to:
- Improve the practice of philanthropy: We aim to enhance the way foundations operate and engage with others. Some of this work will be national in scope, often with direct benefits for the region Barr serves.
- Enhance the effectiveness of regional infrastructure organizations: We make targeted investments that support a strong, cohesive community of nonprofits and foundations in Massachusetts and the surrounding region. For the nonprofit sector, we focus on building advocacy capacity for the field. For the philanthropic sector, we focus on learning and resources for donors and staff.
Cross-Program Initiatives Grantmaking Process and Inquiries
Grants awarded by the Barr Foundation originate in different ways. The majority are initiated by our staff. Additionally, given the value we place on long-term partnerships, many grants are renewals for current grantees.
However, we welcome inquiries from those who feel their work may align with Barr’s priorities and who wish to introduce themselves to us. The best approach is to email Trevor Pollack, manager of special projects, with a brief description (we suggest 300–400 words) of your organization and the funding opportunity you would like us to consider. While we commit to reviewing all inquiries, given the high volume we receive and a relatively small staff, we reply only to those we intend to explore further.
Click here for more information on our grantmaking process.
Introducing Cross-Program Initiatives
In this post, Jim Canales outlines our early thinking and priorities for this area of focus, which aims to reinforce Barr’s core program strategies and commitment to the region.