Community Foundation Deepens Partnerships to Support BIPOC Arts and Creativity Across Massachusetts

Creative Futures Collaborative is formed in partnership with the Barr and Ford Foundations; announces launch of Powering Cultural Futures initiative.

Springfield, MA—The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) is delighted to announce its partnership with the Barr Foundation and Ford Foundation in the formation of the Creative Futures Collaborative. The collaborative seeks to build capacity for an inclusive, equitable arts and creativity sector in Massachusetts. As partners, CFWM, Barr, and Ford share a commitment to racial justice, arts, and community well-being.

Powering Cultural Futures, the first initiative created through the Collaborative now seeded with $5 million each from Barr and Ford, will connect and serve fifteen organizations across the State in their work to increase access to art and cultural expression of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. The initiative centers these organizations and explores ways that philanthropy can shift power to provide more equitable, flexible, and long-lasting support to organizations that play a crucial role as art producers and presenters, cultural hubs, and training grounds for new artists. Participating organizations, including Ohketeau Cultural Center of Ashfield, reflect a range of ethnic and racial communities, geographies, arts disciplines, and organizational characteristics.

According to Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO, “This new partnership with the Barr and Ford Foundations is a powerful example of re-imagining a more equitable future—for the arts sector, philanthropy, and our community. It brings large national funders together with local and regional funders to blend resources and expertise, centers the work of BIPOC arts organizations, and provides the patient capital needed to amplify and extend their critical roles in our communities. We are grateful for the trust extended to us by Barr and Ford, and we are delighted to play a part in supporting these efforts.”

A second phase of work will get underway this winter with CFWM leading research to inform, test, and shape more equitable philanthropic practices to strengthen financial support for the BIPOC arts ecosystem.

Participating Organizations

3rd Eye Youth Empowerment, New Bedford
Abilities Dance Boston, Boston
Angkor Dance Troupe, Lowell
Aquinnah Cultural Center, Aquinnah
Castle of our Skins, Boston
Danza Orgánica, Boston
Elevated Thought, Lawrence
Free Soil Arts Collective, Lowell
Front Porch Arts Collective, Boston
Hyde Square Task Force, Boston
Jean Appolon Expressions, Cambridge
Ohketeau Cultural Center, Ashfield
Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Worcester
Teatro Chelsea, Chelsea
The Loop Lab, Cambridge

About Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts
Founded in 1991, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts seeks to enrich the quality of life for the people of our region and champion community philanthropy. With assets totaling $200 million, CFWM is the anchor organization for three counties bordering the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts (Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties) by serving as a resource, catalyst, and coordinator for charitable activities.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Emma Mesa-Melendez at (413) 732-2858, or email