December 13, 2019
Barr Foundation Grants $5M to Five Community Foundations

September 20, 2019 — The Barr Foundation in Boston yesterday announced it has awarded grants of $1 million to each of five Massachusetts community foundations in connection with its Creative Commonwealth Initiative, a long-term partnership launched last year to promote the leadership role of community foundations in advancing the arts.

Receiving the grants were: The new, three-year grants are the second round from the initiative. In January 2018, Barr awarded $500,000 to each community foundation to pilot ideas customized to their community.

The Initiative aims to pave the way for the five community foundations in to elevate arts, culture and creativity as key assets for strong communities; as well as engage a new generation of donors in strategic support for a new and more diverse cohort of artists and cultural organizations.

“The Barr Foundation shares our belief that a strong arts community translates into a stronger region overall , and we are excited that Barr has expanded its commitment so that we can continue to invest in Worcester’s arts community, ” said Barbara Fields, president and CEO of GWCF. “As Worcester continues its dynamic growth, we look forward to strengthening its vibrant creative sector .”

GWCF said the new funds will allow it to take a stronger, larger leadership role in the successful implementation of its Cultural Plan, "delivering impactful grantmaking that helps elevate the creative sector, and cultivating donors committed to arts and culture."

In addition, GWCF will award grants to new projects and partnerships continue to provide technical assistance to Worcester’s nonprofit sector, particularly through GWCF’s Nonprofit Support Center.

ECCF today said it will supplement the new Barr grant with $300,000 ECCF to expand on last year's pilot phase efforts, which included $300,000 in partnership grants to artists, nonprofits, business, and community leaders for public art and creative placemaking projects.

“What we have accomplished collectively through [Creative County Initiative] in the last two years is a testament to how many people in Essex County care about the vital role arts and culture play in our communities,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “We are so thrilled, and extremely grateful, to continue the critical work of elevating arts and culture in Essex County’s cities and towns with the Barr Foundation.”

The second phase of ECCF’s Creative County Initiative will focus heavily on partnership grants, which support 12 public art and creative placemaking projects from Lynn to Newburyport and many communities in between.

The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has been using the funds to increase participation by year-round residents, particularly lower-income populations, immigrants, youth, and communities of color through research, development of a grants program, and strengthening the field through capacity and networking building.

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts applied initial funds to developing scalable models in Fall River and New Bedford to increase access to opportunities for artistic expression among youth and culturally diverse communities through cross-sector program collaborations, building capacity for small organizations to fundraise and develop, and growing and diversifying philanthropic investments in the arts.

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts used its first-year grant to support development and testing of innovative ideas to connect the arts to other sectors, while building the capacity of small organizations and assessing the need for a regional arts hub to advance collaborative opportunities.

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