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.

Policies

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 five years are available below for download.

2016 990-PF 2015 990-PF 2014 990-PF 2013 990-PF 2012 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 2016, as president, Jim Canales earned $610,787 in salary, $80,101 in matching contributions to his 401(k) retirement account and other deferred compensation, and $19,206 in contributions to medical and other benefits.

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.

2016 Audited Financial Statements
In 2016, we awarded $71.9 million in grants, while incurring $11.0 million in management and general expenses.

2015 Audited Financial Statements
In 2015, our assets totaled $1.61 billion, which represented a 1% decrease from the previous year. We awarded $55.1 million in grants, while incurring $8.1 million in management and general expenses.

2014 Audited Financial Statements
In 2014, we awarded $48.9 million in grants, while incurring $8.1 million in management and general expenses.

Matt Conti

The Pilot House

Situated on the Boston Harbor, the Barr Foundation’s office is housed within the historic Pilot House, built in 1845 as part of the flourishing shipping trade along Boston’s waterfront. In April 2016, Barr’s offices expanded into the adjacent building at Two Atlantic Avenue.

The Pilot House initially served as lodging for ship captains (“pilots”) and passengers, and has been used over time for a range of industrial and commercial purposes.

Notable for its brick-and-beam construction and arched windows, The Pilot House gave inspiration to Barr’s logo, which suggests light reflecting from those windows onto the waters of the Boston Harbor.

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.

Please note that visitors should enter via the lobby of Two Atlantic Avenue.

Get Directions

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 to feedback[at]barrfoundation.org. 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