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Barra Awards bring $2 million to arts, education, health and human services

The program of the Barra Foundation awards a new round of grants every two years.

BalletX, which won a Barra Award, performing at the Wilma Theater.
BalletX, which won a Barra Award, performing at the Wilma Theater.Read moreBill Hebert

The Barra Foundation has awarded $2.15 million in unrestricted funding to 43 Philadelphia-area charities, the foundation announced this week. Recipients are a mix of arts and culture, education, and health and human services groups, each of which will receive $50,000 in funding over a two-year period. Barra places no restrictions on how the money may be spent.

Among the recipients are Mighty Writers, Village of Arts and Humanities, the Women's Center of Montgomery County, BalletX, Blackstar Film Festival, Theatre Horizon, the Homeless Advocacy Project, Community Legal Services and Friends of Farmworkers.

The Barra Foundation was founded in 1963, but this particular program, called the Barra Awards, was started in 2013 and has distributed more than $6 million to area nonprofits.

"It's just a phenomenal gift, to be able to get general operating support," said Christine Cox, artistic and executive director of BalletX. "Donors sometimes want to support specific projects, and often that can lead the organization to build too many tentacles. Having an acknowledgment of the work we've done from such a prestigious foundation is really gratifying and comes at a really critical time in our development as an organization."

Another round of Barra Awards is expected, but the timing has not been determined, a foundation program officer said.