A Message About Our Changes
July 8, 2014
With our Foundation’s roots in the scientific method, the practice of innovation is a process that—for Barra—requires certain elements. It involves creating opportunities for idea generation, selecting ideas that have the potential to influence others, supporting risk-taking and sharing learning.
Over the past several months, we have been working to better align and define our work to advance innovation. We, like many others, have been adapting and evolving. While innovation will remain at Barra’s core, we have reimagined our funding approach and redesigned our website to more effectively further innovation in the Greater Philadelphia region.
First, we have merged our Project and Planning Grants into one program called the Catalyst Fund, which will support timely and novel approaches that push boundaries and have the potential to inspire change. While the Catalyst Fund is new, our emphasis on supporting innovative ideas and initiatives in their early stages of development is well represented in many of our current and past investments, examples of which can be found on our new website.
A second component of our revised approach is that we have changed the name of our Community Fund to the Barra Awards. But we didn’t just rename it, we have made the Barra Awards—which provide critical core support to exemplary organizations that exhibit leadership, adaptability and performance—an essential part of our strategy to support creative thinkers and bold leaders in our region.
We will continue to fund in Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Human Services, because collectively they contribute to creating a stronger and more vibrant community. However, in our revised approach, we also will fund across these areas of interest because we think that the diversity of opinions at the intersection of different disciplines can foster fresh thinking. And, beyond the dollars we invest, we will seek to connect individuals, ideas and organizations. To that end, on our new website, you will have an opportunity to learn more about our grantees and to explore resources that can enhance the innovation conversation in our region.
At The Barra Foundation, we believe innovation is a key to strengthening communities because rapid change and entrenched problems require all of us to think creatively and work differently. We invite you to explore our new website to learn about our revised approach and to read about ideas and organizations that are inspiring change in Greater Philadelphia.