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Barr Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-05-11

At A Glance

Barr Foundation

(formerly The Hostetter Foundation)

The Pilot House, Lewis Wharf

Boston, MA United States 02110

Telephone: (617) 854-3500


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business
  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $1,625,950,954

Total giving: $49,301,037






Established in 1987 in MA - Founded by Amos B. Hostetter, Jr., a cable television pioneer and the founder of Continental Cablevision, which was acquired by MediaOne and is now a subsidiary of Comcast. He is currently the chairman of Pilot House Associates, LLC, a family investment office.

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's mission is guided by a vision of a vibrant, just, and sustainable world with hopeful futures for children. Its mission is to support gifted leaders and networked organizations working in Boston and beyond to enhance educational and economic opportunities, to achieve environmental sustainability, and to create rich cultural experiences - all with particular attention to children and families living in poverty.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Closing Education Opportunity Gaps

The foundation's major emphases are on early education, the Boston Public School system, and out-of-school time. Its overarching education goal is to close education opportunity gaps in Boston so that public school achievement is no longer predicted by demographics or address. .

Enhancing Cultural Vitality

To enhance cultural vitality in the city of Boston, the foundation invests primarily in mid-sized arts and cultural institutions and in organizations that provide young people opportunities to experience and pursue excellence in the arts.


The program established in 2010 seeks to improve the lives of children and families in poverty in developing countries. The Global team focuses on projects that deliver measurable improvements in the interconnected areas of livelihoods, health, environment and education, predominantly in rural areas. Investments currently focus in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti and India in four portfolio areas: 1) Sustainable Agriculture; 2) Community Health; 3) Clean Energy; and 4) Exploration and Learning. For grant inquiries

Increasing Civic Engagement and Community Resilience

Underpinning investments in civic engagement and community resilience is Barr’s commitment to a racially just and caring community with robust civic engagement. The signature Barr Fellows Program connects gifted nonprofit leaders to help make this vision real. A small portfolio of grants provides operating support for organizations with a strong track record of developing new leaders of color. .

Mitigating Climate Change

To demonstrate how to meet aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (and to do so equitably), Barr invests in large-scale efforts to help cities and towns make their buildings more energy efficient. It also supports work to improve the links between where people live, work, learn and play, and to make all forms of transportation – driving, biking, walking, public transit – safer and more affordable, accessible, and efficient. In this work, its primary focus is the Commonwealth’s metro areas. However, given the global nature of this challenge, and the diversity of cities and towns exhibiting real leadership, it also invests in select statewide, regional, and national efforts.

Overcoming Poverty Abroad

Barr Global was established in 2010 to improve the lives of children and families in poverty in developing countries. The Global team is building a portfolio of projects that delivers measurable improvements in the interconnected areas of Livelihoods, Health, Environment and Education, predominantly in rural areas. Its investments are currently focused in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti and India. Barr collaborates with a variety of partners in these settings, ranging from local grassroots organizations to foreign ministries, to internationally recognized social entrepreneurs and large international organizations. Barr Global employs an outcome-driven approach designed to produce the greatest social and environmental return. .

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Climate change
  • Community and economic development
  • Early childhood education
  • Education
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Elementary education
  • Environment
  • Land resources
  • Natural resources
  • Out-of-school learning
  • Performing arts
International Interests
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
Population Groups
  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Young adults

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $1,625,950,954 (market value)

Expenditures: $71,137,426

Total giving: $49,301,037

Qualifying distributions: $55,894,420