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August 10, 2022

Summer Updates: Recent Funding and Refreshing our Strategy

Maintaining our mission. Refreshing our strategy.

Building on learning from these past few years and feedback gathered since our Strategic Plan launched in 2014, we have determined it is time to refresh our strategy. We plan to maintain our mission and our overall approach to philanthropy while making the following modifications:

  • Build out our Mission-Aligned Investing, which we have been experimenting with since 2016. We aim to leverage more of our endowment assets to create greater social impact.
  • Sharpen our Equity Lens to integrate equity, particularly racial equity, more intentionally across our grant making and mission-aligned investing.
  • Refine the Catalyst Fund to better support early-stage, novel, and potentially transformative ideas.
  • Phase out the Barra Awards but integrate valuable components from it, such as flexible funding and opportunities for cross-sector idea generation into our work.

We will be working on the details associated with these adjustments over the next several months, including the development of a new website. If you have any questions or feedback, please submit it to You can also sign up for our newsletter for updates in the coming months. We will share information once it becomes available.

While we are now working to refine the Catalyst Fund, you are still welcome to submit a Letter of Inquiry if you have an idea you would like to submit now.

We thank you for your patience as we implement these changes.

At our June Board meeting, Barra awarded Catalyst Fund grants to:

  • Food Connect
  • Philadelphia Contemporary
  • VestedIn

Supporting a safe summer for Philadelphia youth

We recognize 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, especially given increased violence in the summer months, Barra made rapid grants to 12 nonprofit organizations serving disproportionally impacted communities throughout Philadelphia.

Each organization received $25,000 to bolster their work with young people this summer as they navigate the ongoing violence epidemic in Philadelphia. These programs were recommended by informal nominators—principally peer funders who have close ties to community-based summer programming.

Artístas y Músicos Latinoamericanos (AMLA)
Beyond the Bars
Deep Space Mind 215 (DSM215)
Fab Youth Philly
Lil Filmmakers
Philly Homes 4 Youth
Photography without Borders
Sunrise of Philadelphia
The ECO Foundation
The Lighthouse Program
The Young Artist Program

We thank these organizations, and many others, for their work creating safe opportunities for young people.

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.