The Barra Awards acknowledge and advance exemplary organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region. By exhibiting qualities of leadership, performance and adaptability, these organizations must demonstrate that they are keeping pace with a changing environment and continually looking for ways to be more effective.
Awardees are recommended to Barra by nominators—peers selected for their experience and familiarity with the organizations that strengthen the five-county Philadelphia region. Most nominators work in the social sector themselves. Up to ten nominators are selected in each of our four areas of interest (Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Human Services). Nominators are asked to recommend up to three organizations that demonstrate exemplary leadership, performance and adaptability. Eligible organizations are then invited to apply.
In addition to receiving multi-year unrestricted support, organizations’ leaders become members of a diverse network of entrepreneurial thinkers—their fellow awardees. We believe this combination of flexible financial support and the opportunity to share ideas with other leaders from different disciplines and networks helps them discover new ideas and better solutions to problems.
Since 2013, we have had three rounds of the Barra Awards, resulting in 145 grants and $6,180,000 in unrestricted support awarded. After the last awards, we gathered feedback and learned from grantees through conversations, applications, surveys, reports and events, about ways to improve the Barra Awards. However, we are pausing because of the Covid-19 crisis, and will be reviewing next steps with the Barra Awards.
To address the challenges nonprofits are facing due to the Covid-19 crisis, Barra made one-time grant payments of $2,500 to each of the 108 organizations that has received a Barra Award since the fund’s inception.