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Barr Foundation Awards $250,000 Grant to MWCC

Grant funding supports the Building a Community-Driven Portrait of a High School Graduate project

MWCC Barr Foundation Grant TeamMount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) has been selected as a recipient of the Barr Foundation’s new “Portrait of a Graduate” grant program.

The “Portrait of a Graduate” is a collective vision of what all high school students will know and be able to do by graduation. To create the portrait, educators, parents, students, and community members will work together to articulate a definition of student success in school and beyond. This process offers an opportunity to outline a community’s values, align work that is already in place, bridge existing gaps, and guide future decision-making.

“The rate of change in the world today is exponentially faster than it has ever been, and it is essential for us to look at what students should know, and be able to do, at the point of high school graduation as they prepare to enter higher education and/or the workforce in a world that is very different than the one most of us grew up in,” states Fagan Forhan, Assistant Dean at MWCC. “The school districts in our region have been working deeply together for a number of years, and are poised to truly move the needle on the educational experience – and outcomes – for youth in North Central Massachusetts.”

Over this year-long period, the Portrait of a Graduate cohort will facilitate a local working team to engage in activities such as examining graduates’ readiness for college, career, and community; review existing student outcomes frameworks; identify knowledge and skills all community graduates will attain and develop an action plan for using a Portrait of a Graduate to advance student outcomes.

“We take such pride in our robust K-12 programs and partnerships here at MWCC. This award reaffirms the reputation for excellence our team has earned and I look forward to seeing the portrait of a graduate take shape,” said MWCC President James Vander Hooven.

The 14 Portrait of a Graduate grantees represent 60 high schools across New England. MWCC will be working with district partners Fitchburg High School, Gardner High School, Gateway to College (MWCC), Leominster High School, Murdock High School, MWCC Early College Dual Enrollment (North Central MA Early College Academy, Health Career Opportunity Program, and Project Healthcare), and Pathways Early College Innovation School (MWCC).

About the Barr Foundation

Barr Foundation LogoThe 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, advance solutions for climate change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. Founded in 1997, Barr now has assets of $1.8 billion, and has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes. For more information, visit or follow @BarrFdn.