It was a year of mass action.

Visitors entering Barr's offices are greeted by an art installation created by Jamaican-born, Harlem-based artist Nari Ward. Over 1,000 shoelaces—of every color and pattern imaginable—form the words, "mass action." Nari’s creation offers us both inspiration and a call for aspiration.

A picture of "mass action" art in Barr Foundation's office.

“mass action” serves as a daily reminder that our ability to have impact as a foundation only occurs in partnership with others: those organizations and leaders we are privileged to support, our partners in the public and private sectors, our funder colleagues, and everyday citizens who lend their support to the causes we advance. Nari’s work also reminds us of the power of the arts to give voice and to stimulate action.

2017 has been a busy and active year at the Barr Foundation—one of growth, evolution, and change, as we have sought to balance focus and staying power on a set of critical issues with an ability to adapt and respond to tumult and new challenges in the broader context of our work.

This page is our effort to capture a snapshot of a year of mass action, with a curated selection of writings by Barr staff and guest authors on progress, impacts, and learning on many fronts. We invite you to explore, to comment, and to share.

We remain ever grateful for your interest and partnership and look forward to pushing ahead on our shared goals in 2018 and beyond.

Jim Canales Signature

We invite you to explore some of the highlights from this past year. In 2017…

We increased our grantmaking.

Barr's grantmaking budget increased from $55 million in 2015 to over $79 million in 2017. As we we look ahead to 2018, with a budget of $85 million, it's clear there's a lot to be excited about.

Grantmaking in 2017 totaled over $79 million.



This year, Barr awarded over $79 million in grants to advance our priority areas of Arts & Creativity, Climate, and Education.

Explore our 2017 grants

Arts & Creativity

In Arts & Creativity, Barr awarded over $14 million.
View all 2017 Arts & Creativity grants


This year, Barr awarded over $24 million in Education grants.
View all 2017 Education grants


This year, Barr awarded over $23 million in Clean Energy and Mobility grants.
View all 2017 Climate grants

Cross-Programs Initiatives

This year, Barr awarded over $6 million in Cross-Program Initiatives grants.
View all 2017 Cross-Program Initiatives grants

Special Initiatives

This year, Barr awarded over $6.8 million in Special Initiatives grants.
View all 2017 Special Initiatives grants


This category includes direct charitable expenses, organizational development, memberships & sponsorships, and employee gift matching.
Learn more about our grantmaking

We expanded our board of trustees, continuing our evolution from family philanthropy to a legacy foundation.

In an uncertain national context, we joined other philanthropies in standing up for our values.

We launched new efforts, balancing focus and flexibility.

We witnessed the power of unlikely partnerships.

We supported the reimagination of what's possible.

We introduced the newest class of Barr Fellows.

We invested in learning opportunities for our partners.

Thank you.

We're grateful for our many partners who made this work possible. Building on your achievements in 2017, we look forward to the new year.