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Barra Foundation Announces $520,000 in Immediate Funding

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Related coverage:
Half million dollars in coronavirus relief going to nonprofits from Barra Foundation (04.02.20)
by Peter Dobrin for the Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA, April 2, 2020 — The Barra Foundation (Barra) is immediately dedicating $520,000 in grants to respond to the short-term needs of the region’s nonprofit organizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants enable Wayne-based Barra to reach nonprofits throughout the five-county region.  The foundation is also considering ways to address the recovery issues and longer-term needs that will arise as organizations continue to deal with the public health and economic crises.

As one of its immediate-responses, Barra has made one-time grant payments of $2,500 to each of the 108 organizations that has received funding through the Barra Awards from 2013 to 2019. The nonprofits are already accessing that funding, which totals to $270,000. The Barra Awards are given to exemplary organizations in Greater Philadelphia that are peer-nominated by others who work in the social impact sector. The unrestricted dollars aim to help the recipients tackle immediate challenges within their own communities during the crisis.

“Organizations are facing cash flow issues because of canceled fundraising events, postponed performances and a general disruption of their services,” said The Barra Foundation President Kristina Wahl. “Our board and staff recognized the foundation’s responsibility to take action as rapidly and widely as possible. The needs of our community are much larger than this one-time payment. Our desire, however, is to act swiftly and get dollars out the door quickly.”

The board also approved a $50,000 increase in funding to Food Connect, a current Catalyst Fund grantee that is at the center of the food rescue effort and is expanding capacity to respond to the quickly rising demand for food throughout Philadelphia.

In addition to unrestricted support for past Barra Awardees, Barra has approved a $100,000 grant to the PHL COVID-19 Fund for nonprofits in and around Philadelphia operating on the frontline of the pandemic.

Barra’s immediate response includes providing support to each of the other four counties that Barra serves: COVID-19 response funds in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties will receive $25,000 per county.

“Foundation dollars can play a unique and complementary role to public dollars that will be available to our communities,” said Wahl. “We have both the flexibility to be nimble and act quickly, with less bureaucracy, and, we also have an opportunity to balance a more rapid response with some longer-term thinking about what recovery might look like.” 

She explained that the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia has been playing a critical role in coordinating conversations with funders who are considering the best way to collaborate. 

“There has been a level of listening, coordination and urgency in this period that I hope will be sustained as we look to recover from the long-term effects of this crisis,” said Wahl.


About The Barra Foundation

The Barra Foundation invests in innovation to inspire change that strengthens communities in the Greater Philadelphia region. Barra’s investments are designed to address the needs of low-income populations in the region and promote a continued vibrant cultural community. Through its Catalyst Fund and Barra Awards, the Foundation provides approximately $4 million in annual grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that are focused on supporting innovation in and across the fields Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Human Services.

For more information, please visit and follow @BarraFdn on Twitter.

Media Contact: Sharon Gallagher, 610-246-2541


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