Special Initiative in 2017 aimed to bolster capacity to respond to shifting national context.
Announced with a blog post from Barr’s president and trustee, Jim Canales, in March 2017, this Special Initiative sought to respond to dramatic shifts in the national context, increased polarization, and growing concerns about threats to equity and opportunity. Its two goals were:
To support frontline organizations working with vulnerable communities, promoting human rights, and protecting civil liberties in Massachusetts through legal protection, community education and organizing, and public awareness efforts.
To strengthen and sustain journalism in the United States as an essential part of democracy, with a focus on investigative journalism and protections for freedom of the press.
Consistent with our approach across Barr’s core program areas, this Special Initiative combined a regional focus with selective national engagement. Most grants offered unrestricted operating support, and nearly all were multi-year grants, to provide some stability after a time when some organizations experienced a one-time influx of resources, but were uncertain about the continuation of that support.
As of December 31, 2017, Barr awarded 19 grants totaling $3,110,000 as part of this Special Initiative.