Barr Foundation: Education Program

Barr Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Education - High School

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Government Entity

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, 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:




Grants awarded by the Barr Foundation originate in different ways. The majority are initiated by our staff or through a request for proposals (RFP) process.

For those who feel their work may align with Barr’s priorities and who wish to introduce themselves to us, the best approach is to email the Program Associate for the Education Team. Please include a brief description (we suggest 300–400 words) of your organization and the funding opportunity you would like us to consider. We review and respond to all inquiries.

Education Program

The Barr Foundation seeks to open doors to rigorous, personalized education so that more young people have real opportunities to thrive. Our Education portfolio spans New England, with emphasis on secondary education.

We focus on the high school years.

Secondary education plays a vital role in youth development. With high quality learning, students can enter college and attain a degree without remediation, or connect to a certificate program and find a good job. They grow their awareness and abilities to be part of vibrant communities.

But too many New England students leave high school early—or graduate without being prepared for what’s next. They often struggle as adults to participate fully in the economy and community where they live.

Schools must change because young people learn in different ways. Insights into human development show that new approaches to instruction are essential to make high school relevant for all students.

Schools must change because the world students live in has changed. Technology and globalization create demands for new skills, knowledge, and mindsets in the workforce.

We embrace three principles that benefit all youth.

Our Education program investments encourage new learning models that respond to the needs of young people today. We infuse three principles into our work, placing:

  • Students at the center of education. We support learning that engages and empowers young people through their individual interests. We believe that rigorous academics can be delivered in accessible ways, helping students grow the content knowledge, critical thinking skills, and habits that set them up for success.
  • Schools in relationship to all learning. We work with institutions and educators who create schools that contribute to a young person’s total developmental experience. We believe that learning happens both inside the classroom and beyond school walls—and must be connected to higher education, employment, and civic life.
  • Community as the context for achievement. We recognize that no single educational method can work in every circumstance. We believe that the most enduring, authentic solutions build on the strengths of the students and school communities being served.

Education Program Strategies

We work across New England to help more young people succeed.

Three core strategies anchor our work:

Catalyze new models.

Fuel fresh designs that fit local contexts and transform the high school experience, to put success within reach of all students.

Build public will.

Engage parents and students, educators and civic leaders, and all residents as informed advocates for high-quality schools.

Invest in educators.

Develop the pipeline of diverse, skilled, effective teachers and school leaders who bring new educational models to life for their students.

Our Approach

Barr views collaboration as critical. We take a flexible approach to advance our strategies, supporting partners as they:

Pilot Ideas.

We provide risk capital and technical support that educational innovators need to plan, implement, and measure the suc

cess of promising ideas that can improve outcomes for young people and communities.

Scale Success.

We foster the expansion or replication of models that have demonstrated a positive impact on student engagement, learning, and outcomes across entire schools, districts, or regions.

Inform Change.

We sponsor research and evaluation, and share insights to guide policymakers, equip practitioners, and help funders committed to elevating outcomes for students—especially those not well served by traditional high schools.

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).