An initiative to address inequality in our region.

Addressing the persistent racial wealth gap is perhaps one of the most important levers to advancing racial equity.

For centuries, systemic racism and oppression deliberately codified through policy and advanced in practice has prevented Black people and other people of color from realizing their full potential for wealth creation in America. At the heart of centering racial equity is a recognition that we must address systems that have limited the creation of wealth in these communities. To do this, we are expanding the Barr Foundation’s grantmaking to organizations working to advance racial wealth equity in Greater Boston.

Our working definition of “racial wealth equity” is that an individual’s race does not predict capacity to deal with financial adversity or take advantage of economic opportunities, including those related to home ownership, business ownership, or other economic factors contributing to asset accumulation and wealth.

We aspire to a world where racial wealth equity is commonplace, and we believe that supporting activities to close racial wealth gaps in Greater Boston will help move toward this larger, ambitious vision. At the same time, we acknowledge that this vision will require concerted effort across many sectors. We see an important opportunity to help develop common language, facilitate collaboration, and catalyze steps toward coalition and collective action in Greater Boston.

Our Approach

We believe Barr’s approach to racial wealth equity philanthropy must center trust in our partners and the communities we serve.

We understand our role as a funder is to provide operating support and capacity and then get out of the way – ensuring that the organizations closest to both the challenges and solutions can lead.

We seek to bring value to the organizations we support as a convener that can create space to engage and probe at the intersections between the racial wealth gap and how policies relative to transportation, housing, health care, and many others exacerbate inequity.

In addition, we will use our platforms and reach to ensure that racial wealth equity is prioritized by decisionmakers and to bring more funders to the table that can use their own power, influence, and resources to advance these issues at scale.

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Our strategy is three pronged. We will:

  1. Empower leaders, organizations, and institutions through operating support to advance their agendas.

  2. Engage in cohort-based convenings to share knowledge, learnings, and data to inform our ongoing efforts.

  3. Elevate and reframe narratives in the public sphere, including using Barr’s platform to connect, influence, and partner with other funders on these issues, and explore opportunities to use our own voice to inform and advance racial wealth equity efforts.

Grants to Date

As of March 22, 2023, we have awarded nearly $15 million in initial grants to the following organizations:

  1. Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Inc.

    $1,500,000 over 36 months to provide general operating support.

  2. Boston Impact Initiative Fund

    $1,000,000 over 36 months to provide general operating support.

  3. King Boston (A program of the Boston Foundation)

    $1,000,000 over 36 months to provide core support to its King Boston program.

  4. Visible Hands (Fiscally Sponsored by Possibility Labs dba Open Possibilities)

    $1,000,000 over 36 months to support Visible Hands’ Boston educational programming.

  5. Lawyers for Civil Rights, Inc.

    $750,000 over 36 months to support capacity to monitor policy issues related to racial wealth equity in Greater Boston as well as additional capacity to provide legal infrastructure to organizations within the racial wealth equity ecosystem.

  6. Foundation for Business Equity, Inc.

    $1,500,000 over 36 months to support community and economic development programming.

  7. Amplify Latinx

    $500,000 over 36 months to provide general operating support.

  8. FII-National

    $785,000 over 36 months to support the design and implementation of UpTogether's racial wealth equity narrative campaign in Greater Boston.

  9. Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology

    $1,000,000 over 36 months to provide general operating support.

  10. Hack Diversity

    $500,000 over 24 months to provide general operating support.

  11. EBCDC

    $800,000 over 12 months to support participation in projects that act as a source of stable housing in East Boston.

  12. Boston Foundation

    $1 million over 36 months for its Boston Indicators program and the launch of the Racial Wealth Gap and Economic Security Research Initiative.

  13. Boston Globe Media Partners

    $750,000 over 15 months to provide seed support to elevate stories, research, and data about racial wealth equity in Greater Boston.

  14. The Boston Ujima Project

    $2 million over 36 months to provide core support for new strategies that target the racial wealth gap and advance outcomes for Boston's low-income residents.

  15. Massachusetts Development Finance Agency

    $300,000 over 12 months to support design and planning related to racial wealth equity initiatives.

  16. The Massachusetts LGBT Business Network, Inc.

    $250,000 over 12 months to provide general operating support.

Visit our grants database

Relevant Research

Recent Racial Wealth Equity Blogs

Learn more about Barr's work to advance racial equity