Barr Foundation: Climate Grants

Barr Foundation

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit Government Entity

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program

Location of project: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island Show all

Location of residency: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island Show all

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About this funder:



NOTE: Grants awarded by the Barr Foundation originate in different ways. The majority are initiated by our staff. Additionally, given the value we place on long-term partnerships, many grants are renewals for current grantees.

However, we welcome inquiries from those who feel their work may align with Barr’s priorities and who wish to introduce themselves to us. The best approach is to send a brief description (we suggest 300–400 words) of your organization and the funding opportunity you would like us to consider. 

Climate Program

To address climate change, we advance solutions for clean energy, mobility, and resilient communities.

Climate change is real. It is happening. It is accelerating. All over the world, people are experiencing its effects. And these are becoming more devastating every year—a trend that can be checked only through dramatic, global effort.

While climate change is a global challenge, cities, states, and regions have become vital agents of leadership. We believe breakthroughs and progress will continue coming from the ground up and that Barr can help catalyze and advance solutions and leadership across our region in ways that also spur broader action. On occasion, we engage in targeted national or global efforts with significant opportunities to contribute to impact. Yet our principal geographic focus is the U.S. Northeast.

We focus on the two areas that produce the most greenhouse gas emissions:

  • how we generate and use energy; and
  • how we move around.

In addition, we acknowledge that even with concerted efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, they are inevitable. Coastal cities such as Boston are particularly vulnerable. Our Climate Resilience focus area aims to increase the capacity of Metro Boston communities to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Clean Energy Strategies

Our goal is to reduce the energy sector’s emissions by building the path to a clean, efficient, and modern energy system.

Scaling clean and scaling smart for a U.S. Northeast powered by clean energy.

To realize a region powered by clean energy will require radical reinvention of energy systems across the Northeast. Our efforts to catalyze dramatic, transformative change in energy generation and use across the region are aligned under the following two strategies:

1. Accelerate the expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Northeast.


  • Sustain the leadership of the region on climate action.
  • Advance renewable energy deployment across the region.
  • Accelerate uptake and innovation in comprehensive energy efficiency.
  • Strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
  • Foster the creation of a modernized electric grid that encourages local, resilient, renewable energy, greater energy efficiency, and customer control over energy use.

2. Promote sharing of effective clean energy practices, policies, and communication strategies across the U.S. and globally.


  • Foster peer-to-peer networks of city and state officials, advocates, or others engaged in advancing clean energy to share what’s working and what isn’t, and to scale effective solutions.
  • Advance effective communications about the urgency and opportunities for clean energy.

Mobility Strategies

Our goal is to reduce transportation-related emissions by modernizing our transportation system and accelerating the development of low-carbon communities.

While cleaner fuels and more efficient vehicles have limited growth in transportation-related emissions, to achieve the dramatic reductions required, we must transform how we move around and build communities. That is why Barr’s Mobility portfolio focuses on smarter travel and smarter places.

We need new conversations and new ideas, and we must shift focus from what isn’t working to what’s possible. We see Barr’s role as helping to build understanding about challenges and potential solutions, and helping to bring solutions to life—creating more walkable, vibrant communities that work for people. In many ways, our region and nation lag behind others in realizing this vision. Yet we know we have the potential to be bold and lead—even as we learn from and with others engaged in this work.

Our efforts to achieve this goal are aligned under the following two strategies:

1. Improve and modernize the region’s transportation system.


  • Strengthen our existing MBTA system: Support research and communications to inform public discussion and decision-making about current and future transportation needs and to increase public confidence that the transportation system can work.
  • Expand mobility choices and financing options: Support research, communications, convening, and learning opportunities to explore and catalyze new solutions for closing transit gaps and for sustainably financing transportation in the region.
  • Catalyze a seamless, 21st-century transportation system: Invest in leadership, leverage technology, and support innovative pilots that can help catalyze a seamless, 21st-century transportation system.

2. Accelerate the development of low-carbon communities.


  • Strengthen planning and development capacity in outer-ring suburbs and rapidly-developing cities that are, or could be, well connected to transportation.
  • Support research, convening, communications, and advocacy that advances smart-growth development across the region.

Climate Resilience

Preparing for the impacts of climate change by accelerating resilience in policies, plans, and designs.

Metro Boston is one of the most vulnerable places in the United States to climate change. Sea-level rise, heat waves, and increased precipitation will profoundly impact the region, its people, physical assets, economy, and culture.

Barr seeks to catalyze the creation of bold and creative solutions that protect Metro Boston’s livability and economic vitality in the face of severe weather events. In addition to supporting standalone resilience efforts, we seek opportunities to integrate resilience into our Clean Energy, Mobility, and Boston Waterfront work, as actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions can offer opportunities to make the region more resilient.

To accelerate climate resilience in the region, we need informed and mobilized stakeholders, supportive policies and regulatory frameworks, and strong examples of climate resilient design and infrastructure. Our efforts to catalyze climate resilience are aligned under the following three strategies:

1. Build awareness of climate impacts, risks, and resilience strategies.


  • Build Awareness
  • Develop and disseminate value propositions that engage key stakeholders, including low-income and communities of color.
  • Strengthen the development of data and research that informs the creation of solution that are equitable, relevant, timely and actionable and highlight co-benefits.
  • Increase public awareness and engagement through the use of apps, charrettes, and other interactive experiences that engage residents and communities.

2. Mobilize key constituencies to advance policy and implement resilience plans.


  • Mobilize Key Constituencies 
  • Strengthen the leadership development and capacity of communities to influence local and regional climate-resilience planning, policy development, and implementation.
  • Develop professional resilience practice networks to encourage developers, architects, landscapers, engineers, planners, and healthcare providers to incorporate resilience into their work.
  • Support advocacy organizations to educate and hold policymakers accountable for resilience policy, code, and zoning changes at the municipal and state levels.

3. Support demonstration projects that integrate resilience into the fabric of cities.


  • Demonstration Projects
  • Transform Metro Boston into a model of urban resilience with real policies and district-scale resilience solutions.
  • Integrate resilience into capital project planning so it is embedded in future design processes.
  • Support the use of green infrastructure and other natural systems to manage stormwater, mitigate heat, and provide additional benefits.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • We primarily make grants to 501(c)(3) public charities and public schools.
  • We also make grants to support organizations or projects that work with qualifying fiscal sponsors, and to governmental agencies for public purposes.


  • Barr does not make grants to individuals or for scholarships, nor do we make program-related investments.
  • It is also rare for Barr to fund capital projects or event sponsorships (except on occasion for longstanding partners).