Boston-based Barr Foundation's New Giving Priorities

After a year of review, the Barr Foundation recently announced changes to its strategic plan for grant-making. Barr is not making any seismic changes. Instead, the foundation is making certain that it definitively serves as "both stewards and catalysts." Read more in this summary, adapted by UMass Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations from Inside Philanthropy (full article) and the Barr Foundation website. 

Barr announced that funds will continue to support long-time topics of interest, even as it aims to back new, breakthrough work. The foundation will continue its focus on Boston-area projects and is staying with its three core issue areas: EducationClimate, and (the newly named) Arts & Creativity.

Looking beyond Boston, however, Barr announced that it will step up its regional funding role, offering more arts grants throughout Massachusetts, and its education work will look further afield as well, seeking projects to fund across the state and throughout New England. Likewise, Barr's climate program will engage more with challenges throughout the Northeast, even as it "doubles down" on key elements of its work related to transportation and building resilience inside Boston.

The area in which Barr expects to take a step back, however, is education. Full details of the foundation's new education program have not yet been released, but are expected to mark a significant departure from past grant-making. Nevertheless, it is expected that a key focus will be ensuring that young people aren't just ready for college, but are also prepared to thrive in the workplace.

All three areas of focus are expected to continue to evolve over the course of 2016. A series of blog posts are anticipated that should mark ongoing changes and explain how Barr's evolution is proceeding.