After about a year as director of education at the Barr Foundation, Wendy Puriefoy, longtime national and regional leader in public education reform and school equity, plans to leave the foundation in February. The announcement comes on the heels of another big change at Barr, the recent hiring of a new executive director.
After 20 years at one of California’s biggest state funders, and active involvement in the local nonprofit scene, why exactly would Jim Canales ship all the way out to Boston to take over a smaller foundation? And why would Barr tap a lifelong Californian to take over the historically Massachusetts-focused foundation? Big plans are afoot.
Not only is the Barr Foundation supporting Boston's rich arts culture, it's safeguarding it for future generations. Instead of hand-picking a few youth arts programs here and there, the philanthropic bigwig announced a massive grant program that will benefit fifteen youth arts programs in the city of Boston. Consequently, the Boston Children's Chorus and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra are two of the fortunate organizations reaping the benefits this year.
There were plenty of reasons why Barbara and Amos Hostetter were named the city's top philanthropists by Boston Magazine, considering how long they've been active in the city's philanthropic universe. But one initiative — their $50 million commitment to addressing climate change here — certainly helped solidify the No. 1 ranking.