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Social impact organizations and leaders often need early investors and additional resources such as thought partnership to try new ways of tackling emerging or persistent problems. They need to be able to take risks, test hypotheses and challenge assumptions.

The Catalyst Fund is Barra’s core grantmaking program.

These grants provide early-stage dollars that enable an organization to test an idea that might not work—yet. Since 1963, we have provided this type of risk capital to nonprofits in the region that are aiming to test a new idea, assess the results, learn from them and share those lessons with others in an effort to advance knowledge and inspire transformative change that strengthens communities.

The Catalyst Fund provides grants that act as risk capital for early-stage, bold approaches that have the potential to result in outsized impact and thriving, equitable communities.

More about The Catalyst Fund


Our Areas of Interest

Our four areas of interest—Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Human Services—help us organize our grantmaking, but we recognize possible overlaps and resist making them rigid lines of work. These areas of interest collectively contribute to creating a stronger and more vibrant community. As such, all projects and initiatives supported by Barra should aim to improve the lives of under-resourced individuals, families and communities.