Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of industrialist Barre Seid and his wife Barbara. The couple's Chicago grantmaking involves strong support of arts and culture, with other sums going to education and religious causes.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts & Culture, Education, Religious Causes

IP TAKE: The foundation doesn't have much of a web presence or a clear way to get in touch with the couple. Seid himself is rather private and Barbara is the more public of the two.

PROFILE: Barre Seid is a Chicago industrialist behind Trippe Lite, a manufacturer of surge protectors. Seid has kept out of the spotlight and it's unclear how much he's worth. His wife Barbara Landis-Seid is far more public and is prominent in the Chicago arts and culture scene. Barbara is a mezzo-soprano and is artistic director of Chamber Opera Chicago, which Seid founded. The couple move their philanthropy through the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation, which in did around $2.6 million in grantmaking in a recent year. The couple's philanthropy is laser-focused on Chicago.

Unsurprisingly, Chicago arts and culture, specifically music, has been a big winner of the couple's grantmaking. A steady stream of money has flowed to Chamber Opera Chicago, including grants totaling around $1 million alone in in a recent year. The forces here are strong and Barbara Landis-Seid has been involved in the arts since she was a youth. Support has also gone to Dead Writer's Theatre Collective, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Classical Symphony Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and more. 

The couple also has an interest in education in Chicago. A $200,000 grant went to University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 2014. Other support has gone to Chicago Academy for the Arts. UChicago's Gary Becker Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics has also been supported. Last decade, as well, significant money streamed to Shimer College, which is an American great books college in Chicago. Some of this money, though, came with some controversy and it's worth mentioning that Seid has been a big and fairly anonymous bankroller of conservative causes. Money has also gone to local Chicago outfits that support youth such as Chicago Child Care Society.

A large $250,000 grant went to Jewish United Fund in a past year and a large $500,000 grant to Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago around that same time too. Money has also gone to St. Irenaeus Church in Park Forest. Support has also gone to human services outfits in Chicago such as  United Way of Metro Chicago and the Salvation Army.


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The Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the couple, but below is an address:

Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation

1111 W. 35th St., 12th Fl.

Chicago, IL 60609