We strive to be transparent, foster open communication, and build constructive relationships.

Each of our programs is guided by distinct priorities and goals. Yet, in all aspects of our work at Barr, we embrace a common set of approaches.

Our Approach

Flexibility and nimbleness

We foster a flexible and nimble culture that permits us to respond to the evolving circumstances in our environment, that encourages attentiveness to the needs of our partners, and that avoids rigidity and bureaucracy.

In our view, the most effective strategies are never static. While we articulated seven- to 10-year program strategies for Barr in 2015, we view strategic planning as an ongoing and iterative process. We will refine and adapt these strategies based on what we learn along the way, our partnership with others, and in response to how the external environment shifts. For example, in December 2017 we announced Climate Resiliency as a third focus area for our Climate Program.

Our aim is to ensure we have staying power on complex and vital issues while avoiding rigidity.

A broad range of tools

We deploy a broad range of tools and assets to advance our programmatic priorities, including capacity-building, communications, and a willingness to exercise leadership.

Hear from Jim Canales on the opportunities for foundations to use their voice

Knowledge and learning

We share knowledge and learning in ways that contribute to deeper understanding of our work, that document both successes and failures, and that promote continuous improvement.

Read about our learning and evaluation efforts
Openness and transparency

We aim to be open and transparent about our work and to contribute to broader efforts that promote and advance the field of philanthropy.

Barr is pleased to participate in Foundation Center’s Glasspockets initiative, which champions philanthropic transparency online and tracks more than 20 transparency and accountability indicators.

View our Glasspockets profile
Active collaboration

We aim to be constructive partners to colleagues from all sectors, recognizing that the challenges we confront require the active engagement of multiple actors.

See who our partners are

Our Policies

We make our governance and human resource policies publicly available, including how staff should report conflicts of interest and unethical/illegal conduct.


Our Financials

Tax Returns

The Barr Foundation is an endowed, private foundation. We post our tax return, the Form 990-PF, each year when filed with the IRS. The 990s from the last three years are available below for download.

2022 990-PF 2021 990-PF 2020 990-PF

Barr’s tax return, the IRS Form 990-PF, reports the president’s compensation, as well as that of the top-five compensated employees. Since we know that compensation information is often an area of interest, the relevant page from the most recent Form 990 can be accessed directly here.

President’s Compensation

Compensation for the president is determined by the Board of Trustees, excluding the president. In making such determinations, the board relies upon salary and benefits information from third-party sources, as well as its annual review of the president’s job performance. In setting compensation for all other staff, the Foundation’s management relies upon these same salary surveys and on annual performance reviews.

For 2022, as president, Jim Canales earned $680,986 in salary, $25,913 in matching contributions to his 401(k) retirement account, and $21,497 in contributions to medical and other benefits. As part of his full-time employment, Jim Canales devotes a small portion of this time to Pilot House Associates, the Barr Foundation’s affiliated family office, for which he is separately compensated by Pilot House Associates.

Audited Financial Statements

Each year, Barr retains independent auditors to audit our annual financial statements. Reports from the three most recent years are available below for download.

2022 Audited Financial Statements
In 2022, Barr made grant payments of $108 million while incurring $14m in management and general expenses.

2021 Audited Financial Statements
In 2021, Barr made grant payments of $100 million while incurring $12 million in management and general expenses.

2020 Audited Financial Statements
In 2020, Barr made grant payments of $87 million, while incurring $10 million in management and general expenses.

Matt Conti

The Pilot House

The Barr Foundation’s office is in the historic Pilot House, a brick-and-beam structure built in 1845 on Boston Harbor. A busy hub of the city’s flourishing shipping trade, The Pilot House initially served as lodging for ship captains (“pilots”) and passengers.

Barr’s logo is meant to evoke light coming in through the building’s distinctive arched windows.

In April 2016, Barr expanded into the adjacent building at Two Atlantic Avenue – where all visitors now enter.

Barr is committed to making its space accessible, inclusive, and welcoming. We provide guests access to all-gender restrooms, and reservable quiet rooms for religious, parenting, or other needs that may arise during their visit.

Get Directions

Explore our Office Artwork

As part of our commitment to the arts, Barr’s offices showcase a curated collection loaned to the Foundation and featuring living, contemporary artists.

Learn about our office artwork

Give us Feedback

We always strive to improve the way in which we work and the experience of our partners. You may share your feedback with us by sending an email directly to one of our staff members. If you are a grantee or grant-seeker, we also invite you to submit feedback about our grantmaking process.

Review past feedback from our grantees

Foundations have few opportunities to receive candid feedback. This is why we engage the The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to administer its Grantee Perception Reports (GPR) to our grantees. This is an invaluable opportunity for us to gather feedback on grantees’ Barr experience. And with more than 40,000 responses and 290 funders in CEP’s dataset, the GPR allows us to benchmark ourselves against our peers.

Read our 2017 GPR Read our 2012 GPR Read our 2007 GPR

See how we're responding to our latest GPR