Communications Associate (BF)

About the Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts and creativity, advance solutions for climate change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. With assets of $1.6 billion, Barr is among the largest private foundations in New England, and it has contributed more than $834 million to charitable causes since 1999. The Foundation’s grantmaking budget for 2017 is $80 million.

A set of core values defined by Barr’s founders express our beliefs about what constitutes effective philanthropy and guide how we carry out our philanthropic mission. We are committed to strive for excellence, invest in leaders, act with humility, adopt a long-term perspective, embrace risk, and demonstrate curiosity. Additionally, while each of our programs is guided by distinct priorities and goals, in all aspects of our work, we embrace a common set of approaches, namely: flexibility and nimbleness, a broad range of tools, knowledge and learning, openness and transparency, and active collaboration.

The Role of Communications at Barr

At Barr, we believe strategic communications can advance our mission and effectiveness beyond what is possible by grantmaking alone. Our Communications Team articulates and drives an over-arching communications strategy for the Foundation, and we work closely with senior and program staff, trustees, and select grantees and other external partners to integrate communications in targeted and strategic ways that further Barr’s goals and our partners’ efforts. This includes providing timely counsel and support on outreach and engagement, messaging, media and public relations, and thought leadership. We also manage the Foundation’s digital strategy and tools, including a website, blog, electronic newsletter, and social media.

About the Position

The Communications Associate will join a highly collaborative and nimble team (including a Communications Director and Communications Officer) at an exciting time of growth and evolution for Barr, as well as for the role of communications in strengthening the Foundation’s efforts. Reporting to the Director of Communications, the Communications Associate will play a vital role managing and implementing select communications activities and services at the Foundation. This includes: developing and editing content for Barr’s internal and external communications; executing elements of the Foundation’s digital communications strategy; supporting media relations; and providing administrative support for the Communications Office.


Develop and Publish Content for Institutional Communications

Under the direction of the Communications Director and guidance of the Communications Officer,

  • Develop and regularly publish content on Barr’s core platforms – website, blog, social media, and email – featuring notable developments for the Foundation (e.g., quarterly grants announcements, job searches, new hires) and for our partners.
  • Support Foundation program staff with writing and editing a variety of content, including blogs, op-eds, talking points, media quotes, social media, and email content – with a strong emphasis on repurposing internal content for broader audiences.
  • Project manage annual reporting documents for internal and external audiences (e.g., leadership report).

Support Execution of the Foundation’s Digital Communications Strategy

  • Support the Communications Officer in helping colleagues:
    • Develop and strengthen digital content (e.g., by creating social media toolkits for conferences or other live events, providing suggested Tweets about grantee news, or drafting and editing blog or other digital content).
    • Understand and demonstrate appropriate and effective use of personal social media profiles to complement and advance their work on behalf of Barr.
    • Strengthen their team and personal digital networks, to deepen relationships with grantees, partners, and influencers.
    • Ensure Barr grantees and other partners are linked to the Foundation’s key digital channels, and work to enhance partner engagement on social media platforms.
    • Help Communications Officer identify opportunities to publish content outside Barr’s platforms, in places where our audiences are already present and engaged.
    • Help the Communications Officer track and discern what’s working in Barr’s digital engagement, and advise on evolving practices, identifying and adopting relevant new features that optimize our website and other digital channels for search and engagement.

Assist with Media Relations

  • Support Officer in working with program teams to monitor and engage, as appropriate, with influential journalists via digital.
  • Help Communications Director and Officer identify opportunities to pitch Barr/grantee stories to relevant media.
  • Synthesize and distribute weekly internal media digest (including Barr media mentions and important coverage of Barr issue areas and/or grantees, Fellows).

Support Administration of the Communications Office

  • Collaborate with grantees on acknowledgements of the Foundation, including logo use, press releases, announcements, and other written materials, ensuring that Barr is appropriately represented.
  • Coordinate relationships with communications consultants and vendors, including generating contracts, processing invoices, coordinating logistics for meetings.
  • Develop and maintain a calendar of important public events and activities, such as staff speeches and presentations, grant announcements, partner report releases, and events in the broader contexts of our issue areas.
  • Build, maintain, and segment Foundation contact lists for email communications, as well as assist with or manage efforts to improve effectiveness (such as A/B testing).
  • Manage, grow, and enhance Barr’s image library.
  • B.A. in communications, journalism, or related field preferred, with minimum of three years’ relevant work experience (in or with nonprofit, foundation, or other mission-focused organizations preferred).
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills, with proven ability to translate complex concepts into succinct, clear, accessible language for multiple audiences. 
  • A wide lens and a quick study, able to track important trends in multiple fields, and rapidly synthesize powerful ideas from varied subject matter. Familiarity with one or more of Barr’s principal program areas – arts, climate, and education – preferred.
  • Excellent project management skills with a strong attention to detail, and demonstrated ability to set priorities and complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with demonstrated ability to work individually, as part of a team, and with diverse communities.
  • Commitment to strive for excellence, act with humility, adopt a long-term perspective, and embrace risk – which are Barr’s core values.
  • A collegial spirit in sharing ideas and receiving feedback.
  • Experience with various social media platforms and digital publishing tools.
  • Integrity, judgment, and sense of humor.


To Apply

Applications for this position will be reviewed on a rolling basis. To apply, please visit and submit a one-page cover letter and resume.

Only applications submitted via this link will be considered. Questions may be directed in confidence to Denise Gillespie, Director of Human Resources, via email at: [email protected].

This position offers a competitive salary with excellent benefits.

Please note that the Barr Foundation will not cover relocation costs for this position.

The Barr Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a diverse pool of candidates in this search. 

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