Where We Focus

Our Program Goals and Strategies

Barr’s strategies flow from our mission to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. We recognize the many opportunities in our region to invest in the potential of visionary leaders, effective organizations, and powerful ideas.

Our strategies also make concrete our aspiration to serve as both stewards and catalysts. As stewards, we bring an abiding commitment to stick with complex challenges over the long term and a willingness to double down on progress. As catalysts, we embrace risk and opportunities to invest in breakthrough ideas.

Download an overview of our strategies

Arts & Creativity Program

Goal: Elevate the arts and enable creative expression to engage and inspire a dynamic, thriving Massachusetts.

Arts and creativity have the power to connect us with each other, to help us understand our dynamic environment, and to imagine new and better futures. In a time of rapidly changing demographics, technological advancements, and evolving art forms, Barr seeks to invest in bold ideas and leaders through three strategies.

Arts & Creativity Strategies:

  1. Invest in organizations to be adaptive and relevant.
  2. Join arts with other sectors to foster creative problem-solving, broaden arts participation, share new resources for the arts, and forge new cross-disciplinary alliances.
  3. Activate public support for arts and creativity.

Climate Program

Goal: Address climate change by advancing solutions for clean energy, mobility, and resilient communities.

While climate change is a global challenge, cities, states, and regions have become vital agents of leadership. We believe that Barr can help catalyze and advance solutions and leadership across our region in ways that also spur broader action. We focus on the two areas that produce the most greenhouse gas emissions: 1) how we generate and use energy; and 2) how we move around—each with a distinct goal and set of strategies.

Clean Energy Goal: Reduce the energy sector’s emissions by building the path to a clean, efficient, and modern energy system.

Clean Energy Strategies:

  1. Accelerate the expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Northeast.
  2. Promote sharing of effective clean energy practices, policies, and communication strategies across the U.S. and globally.

Mobility Goal: Reduce transportation-related emissions by modernizing our transportation system and accelerating the development of low-carbon communities.

Mobility Strategies:

  1. Improve and modernize the region’s transportation system.
  2. Accelerate the development of low-carbon communities.

Acknowledging that the effects of climate change are already a reality, we also introduced a special initiative in climate resilience in 2016 to explore opportunities to enhance such efforts in Boston.

Education Program

Goal: Advancing Greater Success For All Students

Schools must change because the world students live in has changed and so have the knowledge and skills necessary for success in life.

Regional Strategies:

  1. Engaging Schools for Greater Success.
  2. Fostering an Environment for Engaging Schools.

Boston Strategies:

  1. Support the growth of high-quality schools.
  2. Support school replication within networks of high-performing schools.
  3. Attract high-capacity partners.

Balancing Staying Power and Flexibility

In our view, the most effective strategies are never static. Strategic planning is an ongoing and iterative process. While we have articulated a clear set of directions for Barr, we fully intend to refine and adapt these strategies based on what we learn along the way, our partnerships with others, and in response to shifts in the external environment. Our aim is to ensure we have staying power on complex and vital issues while avoiding rigidity.