How the Barnes Group Foundation Links Into the Connecticut Nonprofit Scene



The Barnes Group Foundation infuses diverse Connecticut causes with funding and volunteer hours, while also supporting some national and international causes. It’s the grantmaking arm of the Barnes Group, which supplies products and services for several industries and global business segments, primarily falling under the umbrellas of aerospace and industrial.

The Barnes Group Foundation is one of more than 60 corporate foundations in a state that has seen an increase in giving in recent years. This foundation supports education, healthcare, human services, basic needs, and the arts with many modest grants, and also offers scholarships for its employees’ children. We’ve identified a few key ways this funder gives back to the communities in which it operates.

Foundation Grants for Local Causes

The Barnes Group Foundation was founded in 1945, and since 2000, it has backed more than 400 schools, cultural centers and health-focused nonprofits. In 2017, it gave a total of $1.1 million, which is in a similar range to its giving over the previous few years. A majority of its numerous annual grants fall between $100 and $2,000. The Bristol area is a priority—it’s the historic home of the Barnes family and the current location of the Barnes Group headquarters—but it gives across the U.S. and globe in areas where the company maintains a corporate presence. The Bristol Hospital Development Foundation, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Fund, Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center, Indian Rock Preserve, and the Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration are recent grantees.

A Plethora of Matching Gifts

The Barnes Group runs a two-to-one matching gifts program for employee donations to nonprofits, up to a yearly individual max of $4,000. This program focuses on four categories of organizations: education, cultural and arts, civic and youth, and health and welfare. In 2017, matching gifts for this initiative in the U.S. reached about $185,000. The company also runs a one-to-one matching program for its international locations, including Brazil, Mexico and Singapore.

The Barnes Group points out in its 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility report that it is also a long-term and committed supporter of United Way programs, and matches these employee gifts one to one. Through this program, the company and its employees contributed over $2 million to the United Way between 2010 and 2017.

And Barnes Group employees can garner monetary support for groups they care about by volunteering a minimum of 30 hours and applying for a Volunteer Action Award. These are foundation grants of up to $2,000 to the corresponding organization—$4,000 was awarded in this manner in 2017.

Scholarships and Local Volunteer and Fundraising Initiatives

You must be a child of a Barnes Group employee to earn one of its higher education scholarships. Offspring of Barnes employees from around the world are eligible to apply at either the undergraduate or graduate level, and more than $312,000 was given to these students in 2017. On a smaller community scale, the Barnes Group also funds a scholarship program through the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut, a network that includes the Barnes Nature Center. Along with the Women and Girls’ Fund of the Main Street Community Foundation in Bristol and other backers, Barnes supports the Indian Rock Summer Camp Scholarship Fund, which aims to make seasonal outdoor educational programming accessible to all local K-12 youth.

Barnes employees can be found teaming up to donate their time locally to institutions in Connecticut and beyond. Each year, they participate in Junior Achievement, providing elementary school students with hands-on activities in business and economics. They also carry out creative fundraising campaigns for several organizations including the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the American Cancer Society. Barnes employees have participated in and run events like the Bristol Relay For Life, Happy Hour of Hope, The Great Chocolate Relay, a Night at the Museum, themed fundraising lunches, a Human Foosball Tournament, a Wall of Support and Memory dedicated to employees’ loved ones who have had cancer, and the Summer of Community—a series of service initiatives involving employees across all Barnes Aerospace locations worldwide.

Local networking will certainly be important for Connecticut groups interested in benefiting from this company’s philanthropy. The foundation does not provide grantseeker guidelines or deadlines online, but its primary contact is Wilma Hart, who can be reached at or 860-973-2112.