MIRA

Strengthening Civil Liberties and Democracy

Special Initiative in 2017 aims to bolster organizations’ 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 seeks to be responsive to dramatic shifts in the national context, to increased polarization, and to growing concerns about threats to equity and opportunity for vulnerable populations. Its two goals are:

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 combines a regional focus with selective national engagement. Most grants offer unrestricted operating support, and nearly all are multi-year grants, to provide some stability after a time when some organizations are experiencing a one-time influx of resources, but are uncertain about the continuation of that support.

As of August 1, 2017, Barr has awarded 17 grants totaling $3,035,000 as part of this Special Initiative. Information on these grants is available below.

Grants Awarded Under This Special Initiative

Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation

To support the Greater Boston collaborative fund in support of immigrant and refugee communities through legal assistance, community outreach, and network infrastructure.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

WGBH Educational Foundation

To expand investigative reporting capacity.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $300,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

MAS Boston Society, Inc.

To support expanded civic engagement capacity at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $75,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Social Innovation Forum, Inc.

To support a 2017–2018 social issue track and group training to support immigrant- and refugee-serving organizations.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $30,000
  • Term: 12 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc.

To provide core support.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $300,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Committee to Protect Journalists, Inc.

To provide core support for activities in the United States.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives
  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Northeastern University

To conduct a research study on philanthropy and nonprofit news and journalism and dissemination activities, in partnership with the Shorenstein Center.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $35,000
  • Term: 6 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives
  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $45,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Pro Publica, Inc.

To provide core support.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $400,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Trustees of Boston University

To support a new investigative reporting unit at WBUR.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $300,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Inc.

To provide core support.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $225,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives
  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $120,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Inc.

To provide core support.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $180,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice

To provide legal protection and education for vulnerable communities and to build organizational capacity.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

The Lenny Zakim Fund

To provide financial support and technical assistance to grassroots organizations addressing social and economic injustice.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $225,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives
  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • Amount: $100,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Special Initiatives

Recent Special Initiatives Posts