A view of Boston's historic Pilot House from the harbor

Matt Conti

From the President – January 2015

Introducing the Barr Foundation’s new mission statement.

Dear Friends,

As we start a new year, I am excited to share the Barr Foundation’s new mission statement:

To invest in human, natural, and cultural potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts.

Our new mission is the product of lengthy discussions among our trustees. It aims to unify Barr’s activities across our various programs, as well as to reflect our aspirations about Barr’s role in advancing that work. Here are some of the key ideas we sought to capture in these fourteen words:

  • We invest in potential. We embrace the optimistic view that potential already exists, and we view Barr’s role as helping to preserve and enhance that potential when it is already manifest, and to remove barriers that inhibit its full expression when it isn’t.
  • We focus on the potential we see in our human, natural, and cultural assets and resources. This informs our core program areas of Education, Climate, and Arts & Culture.
  • We view Barr’s role as both a steward and a catalyst. We seek to nurture and enhance vital community assets at the same time as we cultivate and advance those breakthrough ideas that will shape our collective future.
  • We exist to serve. Consistent with our values, we acknowledge the privilege inherent to philanthropy and bring a service orientation to our work.

As we enter a year of focused planning within each of our core program areas, we do so with greater clarity about the key tenets that will inform decisions about Barr’s program priorities and strategies, building upon the organizational values we shared last fall, the update I posted in December 2014, and including this new mission.

Clearly, such statements only matter to the extent they are lived out by an organization and made manifest in its work. That is our commitment at Barr.

I will continue to update you on our program planning as the year unfolds. I am delighted to report that my next update will occur in the context of a refreshed and more user-friendly Barr Foundation website, which we will launch in the first quarter of 2015. The new site will offer a more vibrant and engaging way to communicate about our work and that of our partners. It will also serve as the center of an emerging digital strategy to ensure we not only communicate with, but also engage with, our partners and stakeholders.

As always we welcome your suggestions about ways we can communicate more effectively. And we welcome your thoughts on our new mission.

With continued appreciation for your interest in the Barr Foundation and partnership in our work,

Jim Canales

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