Skip Navigation

Special Grants

While Barra’s main mission supports innovation that promotes long-term social change, we reserve some funds for timely and collaborative “good citizen” efforts.

This funding is primarily used when Barra is involved in partnerships with other funders or to help attract additional resources to the region. It is also considered when there is a need to move quickly in an emergency situation.

Rather than force such exceptions into established funding programs and thereby dilute their intent, the Foundation will maintain flexibility to provide funding through this “special grants” category. Any special opportunities will be foundation-initiated; there will not be an open application process.

Pooled/Collaborative Fund

At times, Barra collaborates with other funders in the region in situations where combined efforts can be more impactful and efficient. Such local efforts may also attract national funders to the region. Examples include: Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures, Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, and Black Leaders/Black Communities.

Responsive Funding

As recent years have shown, there are urgent and timely issues, such as COVID-19, when foundations must adapt their grantmaking to meet the immediate needs of communities. Examples include: Emergency COVID-19 funding, Recovery and Response Efforts, and Community Violence grants.

Recovery and Response Efforts (RARE)

Our Recovery and Response Efforts grants were awarded to a select number of nonprofits in 2020 and 2021 that we believed were quickly and effectively responding to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism on communities of color. A total of $5,110,000 in grants has been awarded.

See a full list of RARE grants

Community Violence Grants

Barra recognizes the urgency and the multi-faceted nature of the gun violence epidemic in our city. In an effort to take action in the near-term, Barra made rapid grants in December 2021 and the summer of 2022 to 17 nonprofit organizations serving disproportionally impacted communities throughout Philadelphia.

We will continue to listen and learn from our grantee partners and funding peers to understand how philanthropy can contribute to some of the deeper change needed to ensure that all communities can thrive.

See a full list of Community Violence grants

Nonprofit Repositioning Fund

We provide support and funding to regional nonprofits as a member of The Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, a pooled funding collaborative effort among regional grantmakers to improve the capacity, effectiveness, and financial health of the Greater Philadelphia nonprofit sector. The Fund provides a safe space and centralized resources to support organizations seeking to explore long-term, permanent collaborations to enhance sustainable missions and achieve greater impact.

Learn more about The Nonprofit Repositioning Fund

The Civic Coalition to Save Lives

Barra is a member and funder of The Civic Coalition to Save Lives, an effort to reduce annual gun deaths using strategies that have proven successful in other cities. The Coalition represents a cross-section of community and faith-based organizations, foundations, nonprofit groups, and the business community. Our support helps the Coalition expand the capacity, effectiveness, and coordination of the city’s intervention efforts; form a Community Safety civic resource board that will provide experts and resources from the business and civic community; and launch a Community Safety information campaign to keep stakeholders current on obstacles, successes, and evidence-based strategies to combat gun violence.

Learn more about the Civic Coalition to Save Lives

PHL Policy Paper Series

A group of Philadelphia-based philanthropic organizations — including Barra — has committed to producing a set of policy papers that will highlight key issue areas and make recommendations that can improve city services and quality of life for the more than 1.5 million people who live, learn, and do business in Philadelphia. For the first round of papers, Barra and our fellow funders have identified the following topics: Creating Safe Spaces (with specific focus on reducing gun violence), Strengthening Behavioral Health Infrastructure, Supporting City Workforce, and Quality Job Creation and Economic Development.

Learn more about the Policy Paper Series