Barr Foundation: 
Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)

The Brief:

The Barr Foundation supports human, natural, and cultural potential through

grantmaking in the arts, education, and climate. Barr’s climate program, which will award

approximately $50 million between 2010 and 2015, pursues energy efficiency and smart

growth/transportation strategies in the Boston metropolitan area in collaboration with a variety of grantees and stakeholders. Barr invested in one collaboration, the Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) coalition, to encourage state and federal transportation-related policies that can reduce greenhouse gases while creating a safe, convenient, reliable, and affordable transportation system for all the people of Massachusetts. After two years of operations, Barr sought to evaluate the coalition’s progress in creating a healthy, effective vehicle for change, and in advancing policy reform.


The Solution:

pfc, working with learning & innovation lab member Hooper Brooks, designed and

implemented an evaluation of T4MA. The evaluation, which included facilitating stakeholder meetings, an anonymous survey, and individual interviews with staff and partners, assessed the health of the coalition, as well as its ability to meet the social and environmental needs it was designed to address within a racial equity lens. Our report found that the overall health of the coalition was positive in terms of value, progress,

and effectiveness. However, responses regarding relationships across the coalition were

mixed, revealing tensions around perceptions of the foundation’s role and racial equity across the coalition. We recommended actions that could help address concerns over the balance of power within the coalition and the foundation’s involvement in coalition decision-making.