The Harman Access Fund


The Harman Access Fund honors our Founder, Barbara Harman, and the Harman Family Foundation.

At the time a Professor of English at Wellesley College, Barbara started Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy, in 2003 with “no idea” that philanthropy would become her passion and profession. What began as an experiment with 68 small charities now champions nearly 500, has raised over $55M (and counting) since inception, and supports thousands of staff and hundreds of nonprofits through its trainings and convenings.

The concept was a simple one: provide “equity of access” for smaller nonprofits and their leaders, those with great ideas, strong beliefs, and both a passion and commitment to serving their community – but without access to the networks and resources that their larger and better-known peers enjoyed.

Now, at the 20-year mark, we honor this visionary work by establishing The Harman Access Fund to support our founder’s vision – her belief that small nonprofits make an outsized difference for real people in their local communities, and that they have big stories to tell, stories that deserve to be heard.

  • The Catalog. First and foremost, the Fund will guarantee that we continue to publish our flagship print Catalog, a Spur Local publication, allow its digital cousin to flourish, and expand our reach so that the Catalog is top of mind for all local donors who want their charitable giving to make an impact close to home.

  • The Learning Commons. The fund will also support the creativity and excellence that have characterized our educational work for nonprofit partners. Training sessions and special convenings are tailored to a small nonprofit audience. A commitment to innovation means that new programs are always in development. For example, the Grassroots Accelerator Program supports small community organizations (budgets below $250K often below $100K) that benefit from intensive professional development, strategy creation, and collaboration. And the BIPOC Emerging Leader Cohort for leaders of color with less than three years’ experience as Executive Directors focuses on leadership development, peer-to-peer conversation, and shared wisdom.

  • The Future. As we look forward to replicating our powerful model in other cities in the years ahead, we will need fresh investments in technology, business modeling, and outreach.

Please help us secure the present and fuel the future. Join us by making a generous gift!.

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