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Barr Foundation

Investing in potential

Boston, MA   |  https://www.barrfoundation.org

Mission

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 creative expression, to advance solutions for climate change, and to connect all students to success in high school and beyond. With assets of almost $2.5 billion, Barr is among the largest private foundations in New England and has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes since 1999.

Ruling year info

1988

President & Trustee

Mr. James E. Canales

Main address

Two Atlantic Avenue

Boston, MA 02110 USA

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EIN

04-6579815

NTEE code info

Private Independent Foundations (T22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-PF.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Arts & Creativity

Our goal is to elevate the arts and enable creative expression to engage and inspire a dynamic, thriving Massachusetts.

Great art transforms the way we engage with the world. It brings beauty into our lives. Through creativity we can transcend conventions and generate new ideas, alternatives, and possibilities. Arts and creativity have the power to connect us with each other, to help us understand our dynamic environment, and to imagine new, better, different futures.

Against a backdrop of rapidly changing demographics, technological advancements, and evolving art forms, Barr’s Arts & Creativity program seeks to invest in bold ideas and leaders. We will pursue our program goal through three strategies: advancing the field’s capacity to adapt, take risks, and engage changing audiences in new ways; fostering opportunities to connect the arts to other disciplines and sectors; and activating public support for the arts.

Learn more at https://www.barrfoundation.org/arts-creativity.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our goal is to address climate change by advancing solutions for clean energy, mobility, and resilient communities.

While climate change is a global challenge, cities, states, and regions have become vital agents of leadership. We believe breakthroughs and progress will continue coming from the ground up and that Barr can help catalyze and advance solutions and leadership across our region in ways that also spur broader action.

We focus on the two areas that produce the most greenhouse gas emissions: 1) how we generate and use energy; and 2) how we move around. Acknowledging that the effects of climate change are already a reality, we also introduced a special initiative in climate resilience in 2016 to explore opportunities to enhance such efforts in Boston.

Learn more at https://www.barrfoundation.org/climate.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our goal is to connect all students to success in and beyond high school.

We believe that all students can be exceptionally well prepared for next steps in life; informed of opportunities to connect to success in high school, college, and career; and empowered to make choices that prepare them for success. A significant opportunity exists to support this vision by helping more students connect to success in secondary and post-secondary endeavors, arguably one of the most crucial junctures in young people’s lives. To this end, Barr is excited to join a growing national movement to rethink secondary education and definitions of student success, both in high school and beyond.

Barr’s strategies to increase the number of students who connect to success are organized under two contributing goals: 1) to achieve a new vision of secondary education in New England; and 2) to expand access to K–12 quality in Boston.

Learn more at https://www.barrfoundation.org/education.

Population(s) Served
Students

As a complement to our core programs, Barr’s Sector Effectiveness grantmaking aims to increase the impact of the social sector across New England communities.

The Foundation’s Sector Effectiveness grantmaking and activities focus on three goals:

Building more effective, inclusive leadership.
Improving decision-making on significant public issues.
Bolstering core infrastructure for the social sector.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Barr Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Barr Foundation

Board of directors
as of 05/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Barbara Hostetter

Barr Foundation

Term: 2014 -

Amos B. Hostetter

Pilot House Associates, LLC

James E. Canales

Barr Foundation

M. Lee Pelton

Emerson College

Susan Tierney

Analysis Group

Vanessa Calderon-Rosado

Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción

Mark Edwards

Upstream USA

Caroline Hostetter Walsh

Tracy Palandjian

Social Finance

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/15/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/15/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.