Celebrating, connecting, and advancing extraordinary leaders.

The Barr Fellowship is one example of our commitment to invest in effective, visionary, and collaborative leaders who motivate others, drive change, and produce results.

Every few years, and five times since 2005, a group of nonprofit and public-school chief executives has been surprised by a phone call from the Barr Foundation with a unique offer—to become Barr Fellows.

Selected for their outstanding contribution to our Boston community and potential to drive positive change for years to come, Barr Fellows experience a three-month sabbatical, group travel to the global south, retreats, executive coaching, and the opportunity to join a remarkably diverse network of leaders. In addition, each Fellow’s organization receives a $40,000 grant to provide organizational development support before, during, and up to one year after the sabbatical.

Class of 2015

Carole Charnow President & CEO, Boston Children’s Museum
Emmett Folgert Executive Director, Dorchester Youth Collaborative
Jesús Gerena Managing Partner, Family Independence Initiative
Bob Giannino Chief Executive Officer, uAspire
Tiffany Cooper Gueye Chief Executive Officer, Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL)
Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez President, North Bennet Street School
Diana Lam Head of School, Conservatory Lab Charter School
Sandra Lopez Burke Vice President & Executive Director, City Year Boston
Arthur Pearson President & CEO, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Wayne Ysaguirre President & CEO, Nurtury

Fellows Alumni

Our first four Fellows classes comprise 48 pioneers and champions in education, community development, the arts, immigrants’ rights, youth development, environmental sustainability, and more.

Meet our alumni


Only Connect

In 2013 we shared the theory of change, strategy, evaluation methodology, and results of the Barr Fellowship and its first four classes in an article in The Foundation Review, titled “Only Connect: How an Investment in Relationships Among Social Change Leaders Is Changing Them, Their Organizations, and Their City.”

Read the article
Networking a City

A case study published in the Summer 2012 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review featured the Barr Fellowship. It explored the idea that the relationships of trust and respect forged among Barr Fellows have become the “currency of social change” in Boston.

Read the case study

Meet Our Fellows Team

Recent Barr Fellows Posts