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April 8, 2020

Barra Partners Launch Regional Fund to Support Arts and Culture Sector

A collaborative of foundations, The City of Philadelphia and The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Fund worked together to launch the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund. The new fund will serve individual artists, as well as small and mid-sized cultural organizations that have been devastated by the pandemic.

Barra was one of the lead funders with a $250,000 contribution. The total amount raised at the launch on April 8 was $3.45 million. Donors are encouraged to give to increase the funding to address the overwhelming need in the region. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer story announcing the fund and visit the website to learn more about how to donate or apply.

The Barra Board of Directors and staff are also considering ways to address the recovery issues and longer-term needs that will arise as organizations continue to deal with the public health and economic crises. Please read the below message, which provides details about our response.


A Message About Our Response to the Effects of COVID-19

April 8, 2020

Barra’s Board of Directors and staff are grateful for the hard work of all nonprofits in our region, particularly given the unprecedented challenges organizations in every sector are facing during the COVID-19 crisis. To better support nonprofits’ work, we are identifying the most effective way for Barra to provide both immediate and long-term assistance, as we assess the effects on the social sector.

To guide our decisions, our staff quickly collected input from nonprofits and colleagues from Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and the public sector. We also are reviewing  the findings from various surveys of the sector being conducted including the Rapid Response: PHL Nonprofits and COVID-19 Survey .

Our staff and board acted quickly and approved immediate-response funding to:

  • The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the City of Philadelphia to launch COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL, an emergency support fund focused on the region’s arts and culture sector. The fund launches with $3.45 million in support of individual artists, as well as small and mid-sized organizations. Barra worked collaboratively with the other partners and proudly was one of the lead funders with a $250,000 contribution.
  • Nonprofit organizations that have received a Barra Award since we launched the grant program in 2013. One-time payments of $2,500 are being made to each of the 108 nonprofit organizations in the five-county region. The unrestricted grant will allow the nonprofits to use the cash for their most pressing needs. We recognize that the needs of our community are much larger than this one-time payment. Our desire, however, is to act swiftly and to get unrestricted dollars into the hands of exemplary nonprofits.
  • Food Connect, a current Catalyst Fund grantee received a $50,000 increase in funding to expand capacity in response to the quickly rising demand for food throughout Philadelphia. More information about the organization that is at the center of Philadelphia’s food rescue efforts during COVID-19, can be found here.
  • PHL COVID-19 Fund, a region-wide collaboration of more than 25+ foundations and corporations working with the City of Philadelphia and other public agencies to get emergency funds into the region’s nonprofit sector. A $100,000 grant is being dedicated by Barra to this fund.
  • County Joint COVID effortsBarra will contribute $25,000 to each county via their community foundations to support efforts in the four counties surrounding Philadelphia: Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery.

The combined total of this immediate giving is $770,000.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a long-term impact on Greater Philadelphia, we will remain nimble and poised to respond in ways that align with our mission to invest in innovation that inspires change and strengthens our communities. We will continue to update the community on our website and through e-newsletters. You can sign up to join our mailing list on the bottom margin below.

Wishing everyone safety and good health,

Kristina L. Wahl
President, The Barra Foundation