Barr Foundation Gives Big for Youth Arts

Not only is the Barr Foundation supporting Boston's rich arts and culture, it's safeguarding it for future generations. Instead of handpicking a few youth arts programs here and there, the philanthropic bigwig announced a massive grant program that will benefit 15 youth arts programs in the city of Boston. Consequently, the Boston Children's Chorus and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra are two of the fortunate organizations reaping the benefits this year. (See Barr Foundation: Boston Area Grants.)

In 2011, following extensive conversations with local arts organizations about how they were responding to a challenging economy and the departure of several longtime, institutional funders of arts and culture in Boston, Barr has decided to divide its arts giving into two categories: Major & Midsized Institutions and Youth & Arts. Although arts and culture receives only one-third of Barr's total arts budget, there's still plenty to go around. The Boston Children's Chorus has been combining an ambitious agenda for both artistic excellence and social change for more than five decades. There are currently some 450 child singers in the chorus, all from various diverse neighborhoods in four Boston locations. The Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra also has been engaging Boston's youth in the musical scene for more than 50 years, with professional training for grades K-12.

The Barr Foundation loves the arts, so naturally it's a great place to turn to if your nonprofit is introducing the city's youth to the finer things in life. Programs that either aid in-school arts instruction or bridge the gap between aspiring artist students and working professional artists have the best shot at a grant. However, it's no secret that Barr's latest hot-button issue is climate change, so the foundation is open to proposals to use the arts as a way to raise awareness or inspire action on the issue. (Read Barr Foundation Arts and Culture Senior Program Officer E. San San Wong's IP profile.)

Grant proposals are considered by Barr trustees on a quarterly basis. Like many Boston foundations, Barr doesn't accept unsolicited grant proposals. But unlike many of those other foundations, Barr is willing to listen to your ideas. For fundraisers who feeltheir work aligns with Barr's strategies, the best way to introduce their work to Barr is to complete the foundation’s inquiry form.