In our grantmaking we strive to be transparent, foster open communication, and build constructive relationships.

Our Grantmaking Process

Grants awarded by the Barr Foundation originate in different ways.

Staff-initiated grants

Most grants awarded by the Foundation result from research by our program staff, who spend much of their time in conversations with people dedicated to and impacted by Barr’s issue areas. Our staff engage with nonprofit practitioners, field experts, and peer funders, as well as public-sector, civic, and business leaders, all with the goal of remaining attuned to what’s happening in their fields.

Continuing or new support for current grantees

Barr places great value in long-term partnerships with those who share our aspirations and have demonstrated impact. Accordingly, many of our grants provide support over multiple years, and we do not set term limits for our grantees. When one grant comes to an end, we sometimes follow it with additional support—either to steward continuing work or to help catalyze change and/or growth for our current partners, or to do both.

Inquiries from potential new partners

Recognizing that we don’t have all the answers and that our networks, however diverse, have their limits, we also welcome inquiries from those who believe their work may align with Barr’s priorities and who wish to introduce themselves to us.

For inquiries related to our Climate or Education programs, the best approach is to email the appropriate program assistant (names and contact information are on our About Us page). Please include a brief description of your organization and the funding opportunity you would like Barr to consider. For inquiries related to our Arts & Creativity program, please complete this inquiry form.

While Barr commits to reviewing all such inquiries, given a high volume and a relatively small staff, we reply only to those we intend to explore further.

Special Initiatives

On occasion, Barr awards grants consistent with the Foundation’s mission of service and commitment to the long-term strength, vitality, and resilience of the region. These grants typically support specific, time-limited opportunities, and there is no formal inquiry process for this category of Barr’s funding. Learn more about Barr’s Special Initiatives.

What We Don’t Fund

Barr does not make grants to individuals or for scholarships. It is also rare for Barr to fund capital projects, event sponsorships (except on occasion for longstanding partners), program-related investments, or organizations not classified as public charities and tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Our Grantees

Barr supports a diverse set of grantees across our program areas.

Search our grants database

Grant Announcements

Our Strategies


Grantee Perception Reports

Foundations have few opportunities to receive candid feedback. This is why we engage the The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to administer its Grantee Perception Reports (GPR) to our grantees. This is an invaluable opportunity for us to gather feedback on grantees’ Barr experience. And with more than 40,000 responses and 290 funders in CEP’s dataset, the GPR allows us to benchmark ourselves against our peers. CEP will conduct Barr’s next GPR in fall 2017.

Read our 2012 GPR Read our 2007 GPR

We welcome your ideas

We always strive to improve our grantee and grant-seeker experience, and we welcome your input via our grantmaking process feedback form.

Submit feedback