Blog: Olympics In Boston

Barr and Boston 2024

What is Barr's position on the 2024 Olympics?

Earlier this month I attended the first of several community meetings focused on hearing from residents about the prospect of Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics. Hundreds packed the hall and overflow space at Suffolk Law School, and the spirit of active engagement and respectful dialogue was evident. What was especially exciting was the strong interest in a topic that touches, at its core, a deeper question about the kind of Boston we envision.

Ever since Boston was named as the U.S. bid city for the 2024 Olympics, this has been a constant topic of conversation, with daily coverage in the media and sizable coalitions gathering with strong views on both sides. Some are convinced a Boston Olympics would be the catalyst for a positive transformation of the region, yielding benefits for generations to come. Others are equally convinced it would be a costly distraction from more important priorities.

Given Barr’s priority areas of Arts and Culture, Education, and Climate, the planning for the Olympics—and a successful bid—would no doubt affect the work we support and our partners in ways we can only begin to imagine. As a result, we felt it important to communicate clearly about the Foundation’s position on this issue and how we intend to engage going forward.

Put simply, the Barr Foundation takes no position on the 2024 Olympics. At the same time, as an organization committed to the stewardship of the human, cultural, and natural resources in this region, we adopt a long-term view—frankly, even longer than 2024—so to the extent this dialogue serves to advance action in areas where we and our partners are currently engaged, we find that encouraging.

For example, the discussion about Boston 2024 is prompting an important dialogue about the transportation needs in the region (and the unprecedented snow this winter has only further contributed to that). Transportation has long been a key focus for Barr because of our concerns about climate change. Indeed, our support of the Go Boston 2030 transportation visioning process, which Barr supported before anyone knew the outcome of the Olympic bid, seeks to broaden engagement on this critical issue. This is but one example of an area that may intersect with the discussion about the Olympics, but where our involvement is motivated principally by an abiding concern for the long-term implications of the decisions we make today.

Should Barr’s position on this matter change or evolve further, I commit to sharing that with you.

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Jim Canales

James E. Canales

President & Trustee