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

The Transportation Dividend: Transit Investments and the Massachusetts Economy

January 29, 2018

As home to America's first subway, Boston has been a transit-oriented city for more than a century. In fact, much of our regional economic success is due to the connectivity that a transit system provides. It is no coincidence that the area served by the MBTA houses almost 70 percent of the state's population, offers 74 percent of the jobs, and generates 84 percent of Massachusetts's gross domestic product. The MBTA is the backbone of our economy and any successful strategy for continued growth and prosperity for the region must begin with smart investment in this system.Luckily, the calculus is straightforward as the benefits from our transit system far outweigh the costs we dedicate to support it. A new report from A Better City, made possible through support from both the Barr Foundation and The Boston Foundation, measured the MBTA's performance and economic impact. It found that through travel time and cost savings, vehicular crashes avoided and reduced auto emissions, the MBTA provides an estimated $11.4 billion in value to Greater Boston each year for both transit users and non-users alike. Boston residents experience all of these benefits from the T's annual operating budget of approximately $2 billion.The report also considered the alternative, examining what would it cost if our transit system did not exist. Our economy would require the capital cost of nearly 2,300 additional lane miles of roads and 400,000 more parking spaces. If we needed to build that today, the cost for this vehicular infrastructure would be over $15 billion. The MBTA is a bargain today and for the future.

Climate - Mobility

How much learning was lost? A survey of K-12 Parents in Massachusetts

July 1, 2020

These results are based on a survey of 1,502 parents of K-12 students in Massachusetts. Live telephone interviews and online interviewing were conducted in English and Spanish June 4-19, 2020. Telephone respondents were reached by both landline and cell phone. Oversamples of Black, Latino, and Asian American respondents were obtained to bring the total interview count up to at least 250 for each group. Results within race and ethnicity were weighted to age, gender, and education level for each group. Groups were then combined and weighted to the population parameters by race for the state as a whole.

Education - Public Will

Creative City

April 1, 2019

The inaugural three years (2015-2018) of the Creative City pilot program supported artists of all disciplines to reimagine places for art in Boston, engage public imagination, and inspire community members to share in civic experiences. With acknowledgement of the Barr Foundation's funding and thought partnership, NEFA is excited to share the learnings through the Creative City Report and video series featuring the inspiring stories of the pilot program grantee work and the transformative power art can play in civic life.

Arts - Public Support

Massachusetts Working Cities Challenge Final Assessment of Round 1 Progress

July 20, 2018

In May 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Boston Fed) formally launched the Working Cities Challenge: An Initiative for Massachusetts Smaller Cities. The Working Cities Challenge (WCC) encourages and supports leaders from the business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofit sectors in smaller, postindustrial cities to work collaboratively on innovative strategies that have the potential to produce large-scale results for low-income residents in their communities. Ultimately, the Boston Fed expects that the teams' efforts will build the cities' civic infrastructure leading to long-term improved prosperity and opportunity for residents in Working Cities.The Boston Fed developed a competitive process for city selection in which a jury chose the winning cities with the grant award varying based on the strength of the cities' proposals. WCC announced in early 2014 the award of a total of $1.8 million in grants to six working cities. The competitive grants included four implementation grants ranging in size from $700,000 to $225,000 over a planned three-year period awarded to Chelsea, Fitchburg, Holyoke, and Lawrence. In addition, WCC awarded two smaller $100,000 one-year seed grants to Salem and Somerville. Based on the assessment of progress at the midpoint of the implementation period, the Boston Fed extended the grant cycle slightly and augmented the implementation grants. Following a second juried competitive application process, the Boston Fed awarded each of the four implementation cities an additional $150,000 and extended the grant period through September 2017, making implementation a full three-and-a-half years. Beyond the grant funds, the working cities have received technical assistance and opportunities for shared learning and peer exchange. While perhaps less tangible than technical assistance, but no less important, the working cities now have greater visibility and new forums for access to funders as well.Below is a presentation produced by Mt. Auburn Associates.Please find the full report, case studies, and additional resources here: https://www.bostonfed.org/workingcities/massachusetts/round1/process/evaluation.htm

State of the Healthcare Workforce in Massachusetts: Challenges, Opportunities, and Federal Funding

January 5, 2017

This report is the third in a series designed to highlight potential ways for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to work more effectively with the federal government. The first report in this series, Maximizing Federal Support and Opportunity for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, examined a number of opportunities by which Massachusetts might work with the federal government to receive additional federal funding, more effectively utilize existing funding, or improve efficiencies in various state-federal partnerships. This report focuses solely on the healthcare workforce, which holds many opportunities in Massachusetts, particularly for low-income workers. The report provides an overview of the state of the healthcare workforce, explains strategies for moving more youth and adults through health career pathways, and explores federal funding sources for workforce training.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Projections for Boston

June 1, 2016

While the broad outlines of how climate change would impact Boston have been known for some time, it is only recently that we have developed a more definitive understanding of what lies ahead. That understanding was advanced considerably with the publication of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Projections for Boston by the Boston Research Advisory Group (BRAG).The BRAG report is the first major product of "Climate Ready Boston," a project led by the City of Boston in partnership with the Green Ribbon Commission and funded in part by the Barr Foundation. The BRAG team includes 20 leading experts from the region's major universities on subjects ranging from sea level rise to temperature extremes. University of Massachusetts Boston professors Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen headed the research.The BRAG report validates earlier studies, concluding Boston will get hotter, wetter, and saltier in the decades ahead (see figures below). But the group has produced a much more definitive set of projections than existed previously, especially for the problem of sea level rise. BRAG also concluded that some of the effects of climate change will come sooner than expected, accelerating the urgency of planning and action.

Climate - Resilience

Leadership New England: Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector

June 29, 2015

The ongoing, against-the-odds resiliency of the nonprofit sector in New England and across the country is remarkable to see. But as this study shows, it is a very fragile resiliency. The sector's success and impact continue to rely on unsustainable trends, including: overworked, underpaid leaders and staff; a never-ending fight to balance budgets and build stable organizations; a lack of investment in professional and leadership development and organizational infrastructure; and a continuing struggle to work out the optimal role for nonprofit boards. Nonprofits in New England and across the nation will continue to play a vital part in building stronger communities and a more just and equitable society. But the sector's resiliency is at its outer limit.As this report sets out to show, it is time to shift how we think about nonprofits in New England and consider what supports they need to succeed. To the extent we do so, we will be able to predict with certainty that New England's nonprofits can remain resilient and effective well into the future -- and can continue to contribute to the vibrancy of our communities, our people and our region.This report profiles New England's nonprofits and their leaders and recommends three shifts in that will help the sector become more sustainable and healthy.

The Arts Advantage: Expanding Arts Education in the Boston Public Schools

February 12, 2009

Presents findings from a survey on the availability of arts education in the city's public schools, relevant school traits, funding needs, and partners. Offers recommendations and strategies for a three-year expansion plan. Highlights best practices.

Arts Service Organizations: A Study of Impact and Capacity

August 16, 2005

Evaluates the capacity of arts and cultural organizations during a two-year initiative while they assisted other small nonprofits and individual artists. Addresses issues of funding and partnerships; includes recommendations.

Arts - Adaptive and Relevant Organizations and Artists

Boston's Harbor and Waterfront: A Renaissance Underway

June 30, 2005

Presents findings on the health of the harbor and waterfront's marine environment, accessibility, activity and diversity of use, and economic landscape after a twenty-year, $4 billion restoration. Offers a framework of goals and indicators of progress.

Boston Waterfront

Coming of Age in Boston: Out-of-School Time Opportunities for Teens

April 1, 2004

Synthesizes findings from interviews, surveys, a literature review, and new research on current out-of-school time programs, what teens need and seek, and elements of effective programs. Includes a case study of environmental youth development programs.

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