Barra Awards FAQ

What is staying the same?
The Barra Awards will continue to: 1) provide unrestricted, multi-year funding to organizations that demonstrate exemplary leadership, performance and adaptability; 2) provide grants in the areas of Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Human Services; and, 3) use a diverse pool of nonprofit leaders to recommend exemplary organizations for Barra Awards.

What will be different?
In an effort to more effectively tap into the expertise of our diverse network of Barra Awardees and Nominators and provide additional learning opportunities within and across our entire grantee network, we will:  1) shift from a two-year to a three-year grant cycle; 2) hire a Senior Program Officer, Learning and Network to manage the Barra Awards process and portfolio and design expanded learning opportunities; 3) begin the next Barra Awards cycle in 2020; and, 4) change the eligibility requirements such that organizations will not be able to receive a Barra Award in two consecutive cycles. If you were a Barra Awards recipient in 2018, you will not be eligible for a Barra Award in the 2020 cycle.

Why are you moving from a two year to a three year grant program?
We believe that a 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. But we recognize that this kind of work takes time.  Based on what we have learned from grantees through conversations, applications, surveys, reports and events, we believe that a longer grant cycle will enable Barra staff to provide more intentional resources and supports to a cohort of Barra Awardees.

Why are you waiting until 2020 to start the next cycle?
Waiting until 2020 to start the next Barra Awards cycle will give Barra’s team time to design programming that is responsive to the needs of the organizations we are here to support.

When will grants be awarded in the next round?
We anticipate that the Barra Awards process will start in the first quarter of 2020, with the next round of grants to be awarded near the end of 2020.  We will add updates with a more detailed timeline on our website in the beginning of 2020.

I received a Barra award in the past, am I eligible in the next round?
In order to ensure that a range of organizations across the region have an opportunity to be recognized through the Barra Awards, starting in 2020, organizations will not be eligible to receive two consecutive Barra Awards.   If you were a Barra Awards recipient in 2018, you will not be eligible for a Barra Award in the 2020 cycle.

What is Beyond the Money (BTM)? 
In addition to providing grant dollars, Barra believes in providing other non-grant support that is responsive to the needs of organizations and aligned with Barra’s mission to support innovation.  For example, Barra holds an annual event which enables grantees from different disciplines to come together and network, with the notion that such cross-fertilization can lead to fresh thinking and potential partnerships.   Barra also has provided a limited number of slots for organizations to participate in the Pennsylvania Economy League’s Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange as well as the Readiness, Implementation and Sustainability for Effectiveness (RISE) Partnership.

What will BTM look like?
Over the coming months, Barra’s team will be tapping into the expertise of our diverse network of Barra Awardees to ask for input on programming that is responsive to the needs of organizations and aligned with our mission to support innovation.  Barra’s team will design programming that provides additional learning opportunities within and across our entire grantee network.   Given that, we don’t yet know exactly what the BTM will look like, but we look forward to sharing further information as it develops.

How can I get a Barra Award? 
Awardees are recommended to Barra by nominators, who are 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 nominated organizations will receive an invitation to apply.

How does the nominator process work?
We create a completely new slate of nominators for each Barra Awards cycle.  Nominators are “in the field” and have different perspectives from Barra staff. Their participation strengthens the outcome of the Barra Awards and Barra’s relationship to the nonprofit community. Nominators are selected by staff and remain anonymous until awards are announced. Nominators are not permitted to put forward organizations that they have a current affiliation with and they remain anonymous until the awards are announced.

I thought I received a Community Fund grant in 2013?  Was I a Barra Awardee?
In 2013, Barra re-designed its Community Fund to include the nominator model and multi-year funding.  In 2014, Barra engaged in Strategic Planning and re-named the re-designed Community Fund as “The Barra Awards.”    If you received a Community Fund grant in 2013, the grant was retroactively renamed and; thus, you were a recipient of what is now known as the Barra Awards 2013-2014.

Who should I contact if I have questions?
Since certain aspects of the program will continue to evolve over the coming months, please note that we may not have answers all of your questions.  If your question has not been answered through the FAQs, please reach out to us at info@barrafoundation.org.

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