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Barr Foundation Commits $1M to Greater Worcester Community Foundation to Support Worcester’s Arts and Culture Organizations

The Barr Foundation, the largest private foundation in Massachusetts, has awarded $1 million to Greater Worcester Community Foundation (GWCF) to help support its Creative Worcester Initiative.

The significant award is part of the Barr Foundation’s Creative Commonwealth Initiative, which aims to pave the way for community foundations in five cities/regions across Massachusetts to elevate arts, culture and creativity as key assets for strong communities; as well as engage a new generation of donors in strategic support for a new and more diverse cohort of artists and cultural organizations.

“The Barr Foundation shares our belief that a strong arts community translates into a stronger region overall, and we are excited that Barr has expanded its commitment so that we can continue to invest in Worcester’s arts community,” said Barbara Fields, President and CEO of GWCF. “As Worcester continues its dynamic growth, we look forward to strengthening its vibrant creative sector.” 

In 2017, GWCF was awarded $500,000 by Barr for two years; funds were allocated into three priorities: Creative Community Engagement Grant Program, Creative Spark Mini-Grant Program, and the City of Worcester’s Cultural Plan, “Becoming Worcester: The Evolution of a Creative City.” Developed in partnership with the City and Worcester Cultural Coalition, the plan promotes a shared vision to recognize the power of culture and make communities better places for people to live, learn, work and thrive.

The new funds from Barr will allow GWCF to take a stronger, larger leadership role in the successful implementation of the Cultural Plan, delivering impactful grantmaking that helps elevate the creative sector, and cultivating donors committed to arts and culture. The Foundation will also provide financial support through Creative Spark, awarding grants to new projects and partnerships aligned with the goals of the plan. Part of the funds will continue to provide technical assistance to Worcester’s nonprofit sector, particularly through GWCF’s Nonprofit Support Center (NSC), which recently announced its workshop calendar for Fall 2019.


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