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Frequently asked Questions about the The Great Divide

This two-year long project is jointly funded by the Boston Globe and grant support from the Barr Foundation.

Q: Why has the Globe decided to dedicate resources to an education project?

A: With the publication of The Valedictorians Project in January 2019, the Globe powerfully humanized the challenges and inequities built into Boston’s secondary education system. The series sparked numerous public conversations at live forums throughout Boston and online. Based on this response, and in light of the ongoing importance of understanding the complexities related to the public education system, the Globe decided to expand its education coverage with a two-year effort to deepen reporting and facilitate public engagement.


Q: Will this project replace the Globe’s current education reporting?

A: No. This project will enhance the Globe’s education coverage. The project is intended to deepen the impact of the Globe's accountability reporting with the ultimate goal of producing community-driven solutions to core issues of inequality in public education. Resources invested by the Globe and grant support from the Barr Foundation will enable this investigative team to stretch the boundaries of traditional journalism and explore solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the Commonwealth's secondary students.

Q: Why has the Globe sought foundation funding to support this initiative?

A: Major news organizations are struggling with a profoundly disrupted business model. The digital age has allowed for greater reach and more immediacy, but at the expense of traditional revenue streams. The Globe is pursuing foundation funding to support initiatives that we consider to be in line with our organization’s mission, and more broadly, fulfill a public service role in the communities we serve. The Globe is uniquely positioned as an information source and community convener to shed light on issues of vital importance and aims to reach a wide audience to generate possible solutions to persistent issues within our city’s public schools. Grant support from the Barr Foundation will allow the Globe to devote more staff, time, and resources to this long-term initiative and will enable a greater community-driven conversation.


Q: How much is the grant for?

A: The Globe will receive $600,000 from the Barr Foundation over the course of a 24-month period. The majority of the grant will pay for the salaries of two new full-time staff members who will be committed solely to the work of The Great Divide. Barr’s support will also provide a modest freelance fund to cover costs of related reporting for this initiative.

Q: Why did the Barr Foundation choose to provide grant support to this project?

A: Supporting education has long been a core priority of the Barr Foundation. One of its education strategies is focused on engaging parents and students, educators and civic leaders, and all residents as informed advocates for high-quality schools. The foundation recognizes the important role robust reporting can play in support of this goal. For more on the Barr Foundation’s Education Program and rationale for this grant, visit their announcement about this grant on the Barr Foundation blog.

Q: Does the foundation have direct input on coverage?

A: No. Barr Foundation will have no input on the Globe’s coverage for this or any other reporting. An editorial firewall is written into the grant agreement between the Globe and the foundation.