Mari Brennan Barrera, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP Photo

Mari Brennan Barrera

Charitable Foundations Manager / Boston


Mari Brennan Barrera serves as a Charitable Foundations Manager in Nutter’s Private Client Department. Mari identifies opportunities for strategic grantmaking to help philanthropic families and foundations achieve their charitable goals. The directors and trustees of family foundations look to Mari to research the mission, programs, financial soundness, and leadership of charitable organizations, so they can be informed and effective in their giving. Mari works with the nonprofits that receive this funding to help them leverage the grants and build their capacity, as well. Mari assists leaders of family foundations in developing programs to engage the next generation. In addition, Mari tracks new ideas and best practices in philanthropic giving to help Nutter clients stay on the leading edge of charitable giving and social impact.

Mari has more than 25 years of experience in developing grantmaking programs, creating and implementing strategic plans, conducting issue and landscape analyses, and designing staffing and operational structures for a wide range of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations committed to social change. Mari has served in executive-level staff and advisory positions for several Boston family foundations, where she developed major initiatives on childhood hunger, affordable housing, and social change leadership. 

Active in the philanthropic community, Mari has served as chair of Philanthropy Massachusetts , a statewide association of philanthropists and nonprofits. She was also board chair of the Full Frame Initiative, a national organization addressing the systemic barriers that impede progress for people living with the effects of poverty and violence. She served five years as a member of her community’s Finance Committee, and is now in her second term as a member of the Natick grants panels for the MetroWest Health Foundation. In 2020, Mari joined the board of Project Bread, a statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts.

Mari earned her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and an advanced diploma in French studies from the Université de Rouen in France.

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