Barr Foundation Knowledge Center

This collection includes publications and resources from our partners and in our program areas, both current and legacy. These resources are completely free to access and download. Most of these works were funded by the Barr Foundation. We may occasionally feature items relevant to our program areas which were not funded by Barr. Please be aware that views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barr Foundation. We encourage you to search our collection and suggest potential content to include (use "Suggest an Addition"). For questions or assistance, please contact feedback@barrfoundation.org.
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Featured

Baseline Findings from the Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessments of Barr Foundation Climate Program Grantees

September 30, 2022

In 2021, the Barr Climate Program partnered with Community Centered Evaluation and Research (Community CER) to design and implement a Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessment. The goals of the self-assessment were to provide Climate grantees with an organizational profile that allowed them to review their organization's progress in adopting and implementing racial equity practices and to help the Climate Program better understand organizations' efforts and how to target resources. This report is a summary of the findings of the Climate grantees as a group. The appendix includes the full survey used in the self-assessment.Access the full report through the DOI link on the right.

Climate - Clean Energy; Climate - Mobility; Climate - Resilience
Featured

Tools for Equitable Mobility

December 15, 2021

This guide is meant to advance equity in the transportation field. Across the nation, there is growing recognition that transportation policies and investments have harmed, and been used as tools to marginalize, Black and brown neighborhoods, people with disabilities, and other groups. Initiated and funded by the Barr Foundation, this guide seeks to help public agencies, and the advocates and organizers who influence them, to make decisions that advance transportation equity.This guide reviews six of the nation's leading tools for assessing potential equity impacts of new transportation policy decisions, explains the context and preconditions for the effective use of these tools, and suggests complementary activities. People who work at transportation public agencies at all levels are the primary audiences for this tool, as they have the power and responsibility to change their behavior; advocates, organizers, and community groups can also use this guide to encourage their public agency partners to use the tools profiled here.

Featured

Get it Rolling: A brief guide to mobilize bus improvements in Greater Boston

June 21, 2021

This guide lays out a recipe to help local staff members, leaders, and advocates identify the right ingredients to launch successful bus improvements in high ridership, high delay corridors in their communities. These projects can seem daunting in their complexity, but they are important tools in achieving climate, equity, and transit goals, as well as improving quality of life for the thousands of people in our region.The guide identifies crucial stakeholders and project milestones. It offers examples of successful strategies, and it distills lessons learned. We identified six bus priority projects that started turning the wheels of change in the region. These projects were the first to involve quick, temporary, and easy to change elements in order to influence the permanent design.The information this guide sets forth was drawn from over thirty in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved in the six different projects we identify below:Everett's inbound bus lane on BroadwayBoston's inbound bus lane on Washington Street in RoslindaleArlington's inbound bus lane on Massachusetts AvenueCambridge and Watertown's inbound bus lane on Mount Auburn StreetBoston's inbound bus lane on Brighton Avenue in BrightonSomerville's inbound and outbound bus lanes on BroadwayThese six projects are described in detail in the individual case studies found after the workbook. You'll find examples from these projects throughout this guide that illustrate the different strategies municipal staff and their partners have used to accomplish progressive bus improvements.Every project's recipe will be different, and will require different ingredients, as well as different amounts of each. The projects showcased in this guide may not be directly applicable to your community, but they offer a framework for considering strategies to improve bus transit. With the ingredients presented in this document, we encourage you to innovate and experiment. Not all will apply to your situation, and not all will follow the same order as we have them listed here. This guide is not prescriptive, but instead offers direction based on the experience of people involved in the six local bus improvement projects that were studied.

Climate - Mobility
Featured

Indicators of School Quality

June 1, 2021

This document provides a framework, including a set of definitions for each of the components of the seven indicators of school quality in practice. The framework, which is a living document, is intended to help guide educators who are designing and operating school models that will achieve a community's shared vision of student success. Positive youth development and educational equity—which should underpin all systems,structures, and practices in a school—are named across all seven indicators because these must exist holistically in order to create learning environments where all students thrive.

Education - New Models
Featured

The Arts Advantage: Impacts of Arts Education on Boston Students

May 7, 2021

Launched in 2009, BPS Arts Expansion, the public-private partnership led by the Boston Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts Department and EdVestors, brings together local foundations, the school district, arts organizations, higher education institutions, and the Mayor's Office to focus on a coherent, sustainable approach to quality arts education for all BPS students. This collaboration of local leaders along with students, families, and school staff, has enabled Boston to emerge as a national leader among urban districts working to expand arts education.The purpose of this study is to examine how access to arts education in BPS influences education outcomes pertaining to student social emotional and academic outcomes as well as parent and teacher perspectives regarding school climate. This research strengthens the case for quality arts education for every student, finding significant evidence increases in arts education lead to improvements on a range of indicators of student and parent school engagement.

Arts - Public Support
Featured

Distance and Disruption: Listening to Massachusetts Students During COVID-19

February 1, 2021

Analyses of testing data from fall 2020 indicate the transition to remote learning has resulted in significant learning loss, particularly among low-income and minority students. Using data from the online learning platform Zearn, economists at the Harvard Opportunity Insights project found large losses in math learning for low-income students, whereas students from affluent backgrounds saw gains. This has exacerbated fears that the pandemic is widening the already large achievement gap between students from different income and racial/ethnic groups. The COVID-19 crisis has also had a worrisome impact on students' emotional health — particularly among full-time remote learners, for whom supportive networks of teachers and friends have been disrupted.Findings from the Distance and Disruption study correspond with those of a separate survey of 1,549 Massachusetts parents with school-aged children conducted in October and November 2020. That study found significant gaps by income and racial/ethnic group in access to in-person schooling, and parents of children in remote-learning situations — particularly hybrid in-person/remote arrangements — were more likely to feel their child was falling behind grade level.The Distance and Disruption study further adds to our understanding of the transfer to remote learning by exploring students' perspectives on specific differences in the quality of learning experiences between the in-school and at-home environments. Such differences are a critical link in explaining why remote-learning students are more likely to experience negative outcomes.

Education - Public Will
Featured

Justice in 100 Metrics: Tools for Measuring Equity in 100% Renewable Energy Policy Implementation

January 1, 2021

This report reviews existing literature and compiles equity metrics for the implementation of 100% renewable energy policy. Initiative for Energy Justice created this literature review for energy regulators and communities engaged in energy rulemaking proceedings in particular. The content may also be adapted to address equity initiatives within utilities, and used by advocates in independent efforts to hold utilities accountable to equity standards. The resources provided are meant to provide a flexible basis from which to expand systems of accountability regarding equity goals in the implementation of 100% renewable energy (or 100% clean energy) policy.

Climate - Clean Energy
Featured

Winter Places: A Design Guide for Winter Placemaking

October 28, 2020

As COVID-19 restrictions and public safety concerns limit indoor activities for restaurants, entertainment, public events and social gatherings, communities have adapted by expanding into the outdoors. This lifeline, perfect during the warmer spring and summer months, becomes more challenging during the impending colder, darker winter months… But it's time to change our relationship with winter outdoors!Winter Places, a design challenge for winter placemaking, sought ideas and designs for innovative, quickly implementable, low cost interventions to drive visitors back to Main Streets to support area restaurants and small businesses. This program and its success wouldn't have been possible without the support of our partners in what has become an international collaboration to bring new life to our main streets and downtowns.Since July, our team has worked together to compile this resource and develop this guide. Thank you to every single student, team, architect, landscape architect, designer and artist who submitted a concept to Winter Places. We received submissions from 65 individuals or teams from 6 countries and couldn't be more thrilled to see this cross border and cross continent collaboration to help extend a lifeline to our main streets and commercial centers during these extraordinary times.The information contained in the guide is designed to support cities, towns, main streets, BIDS/ BIAS, non-profit organizations, community groups, businesses and others in reimagining what's possible this winter on their main streets and commercial districts. We encourage all communities to employ strategies to change mentalities around how we approach winter. Encourage personal warmth as a policy… wear layers to spend time outdoors and bring a blanket for extra warmth (wool is best)! Look to implement projects in areas that get as much sun as possible during the day time and try to also factor in typical wind directions and wind tunnels in the area when choosing installation locations. Together, let's make this our first winter of many where we approach the winter with a positive attitude instead of hibernating indoors, welcoming the 4th season as one to enjoy and look forward to. One where we embrace the outdoors, embrace our communities and reconnect with our small businesses and neighbors again.

Climate - Mobility
Featured

MIRRORS FOR LATINX STUDENTS: Attracting and Retaining Latinx Teachers in Massachusetts

January 30, 2020

From national test scores to graduation rates, we have reason to be proud of the progress we have made over the past decade.1 During that same time, it has become clear that Latinos have played, and will continue to play, a larger role in the Commonwealth's future. Latinos are expected to comprise 15 percent of the population of Massachusetts by 2035 – growth fueled primarily by in-state births rather than immigration.2 It is critical, then, that Massachusetts' workforce, at every level, reflect our population. This work begins now, in the classroom. Investing in a strong education system that meets the needs of Latinos and other students of color, as well as students from low-income backgrounds, is an investment in the workforce of the future.

Education - Invest in Educators

Home is Where the Pipeline Ends: Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds Present in Natural Gas at the Point of the Residential End User

October 26, 2022

Barr supported a study from Harvard University which examined the extent of leakage from gas stoves and ovens across Massachusetts. The study, Home is Where the Pipeline Is, was published in Environmental Science and Technology and received attention from many regional and national news outlets. The study's lead researcher, Dr. Drew Michanowicz, found that gas used in homes throughout the greater Boston area contains at least 21 different hazardous air pollutants that may impact air quality and health, wherever natural gas is leaked. Researchers collected over 200 unburned natural gas samples from 69 unique kitchen stoves and building pipelines across Greater Boston between December  2019 and May 2021.

Climate - Clean Energy

Drowned Out: Massachusetts residents' views on climate change

September 7, 2022

The MassINC Polling Group is proud to present Drowned Out: Massachusetts Residents' Views on Climate Change. This is our fourth in a series of major reports on climate change opinion in Massachusetts, going back to 2011. All of these reports were made possible with the generous support of the Barr Foundation. These results were first reported on by The Boston Globe's Climate Desk in April 2022. The Globe team did a fantastic job summarizing the findings, digging into the data, making a series of graphics, and interviewing poll respondents. The poll was also the subject of an Earth Week event featuring reaction and commentary from the Massachusetts State Senate, the Conservation Law Foundation, and others. As excellent as the Globe coverage was, there was still much more to unpack in this survey, including trend data going back to our earliest climate change polling. We hope that readers find this in-depth reporting interesting and useful as Massachusetts continues to grapple with the causes and effects of climate change. About the poll These results are based on a survey of 1,890 Massachusetts residents. Live telephone interviews and online interviewing were conducted in English and Spanish between March 23 and April 5, 2022. Telephone respondents were reached by both landline and cell phone. Oversamples were conducted to obtain a total at least 250 Black, 250 Latino, and 200 Asian residents. Results within race and ethnicity were weighted by age, gender, and education level. These were then combined and weighted by race, age, gender, education, geography, and party to reflect known and estimated population parameters for the adult population of Massachusetts. The credibility interval for this survey is +/- 2.6 percentage points for the entire sample, including the design effect. This poll was sponsored by The Barr Foundation.

Changes in Traffic Patterns and Air Quality Along Mystic Avenue in Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts, After Installation of an Intermittent Bus Lane

August 10, 2022

The City of Medford, MA, (pop. 60,000) and the City of Somerville (pop. 76,000) immediately to the south are home to several major roadways including Interstate 93 and Massachusetts State Highways 28 and 38. These are among the busiest roadways in the Boston metropolitan area, together carrying over 240,000 vehicles per day through the two cities (Boston MPO, 2022). In an effort to increase bus efficiency, reduce traffic burden, and improve air quality in their communities, Medford and Somerville tested a bus lane with intermittent prioritization on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) bus route #95, which runs along Route 38 (Mystic Avenue) within the two cities.The goal of this study was to determine whether the bus lane on Mystic Avenue caused short term (months) changes in traffic patterns and improved air quality along the length of the bus lane.

Climate - Mobility

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