Friday, June 12, 2015

This Blog Barred

"Boston’s Barr Foundation raises its profile" Once legendary for its secrecy, nonprofit has dynamic new leader" by Sacha Pfeiffer Globe Staff  June 05, 2015

For years, even in the cloistered world of high-end philanthropy, Boston’s Barr Foundation was famous for its extreme privacy.

Its gifts were given anonymously. Its website listed just a sampling of its “invitation-only” grants, and no dollar amounts. If the press called, it simply declined to comment.

That secrecy endured as Barr, created in 1997 by the riches of Continental Cablevision cofounder Amos Hostetter Jr. and his wife, Barbara, grew into the largest family foundation in Massachusetts, now valued at $1.6 billion.

The Barr Foundation was “very hush-hush top-secret,” said Boston’s chief of policy, Joyce Linehan, who has worked for several nonprofits that received Barr funding. “It was like a secret society with a secret handshake, and you had to ask to be invited to click your heels together three times and you might get a grant.”

You know, they aren't even trying to hide that, the perversions and predations, you name it. The whole rank and rotten sore of a society and carcass of a dying empire are on full display. It's like a Dorian Gray painting.

But the charitable foundation that used to be nowhere now seems to be everywhere.

Out of the shadows, huh?


The Barr Foundation, which has given away more than $700 million since its inception, has become an influential voice on local policy, its vast wealth and formidable reputation giving it growing access to the city’s power structure.

Ah, a city player.

“They’re cabinet members now,” said Jason Sachs, director of early childhood education for the Boston public school system, another beneficiary of Barr funding. “They’re working with government as it incubates ideas and as it builds partners, and they’re playing a very strong role.”

Why not, and maybe they could cover that $50 million hole in the school budget over there?

He described the Barr Foundation as a “virtual government” and “fairy godmother” bringing together nonprofit leaders and city officials on a variety of initiatives.

(Wow. The wealthy. Our benevolent overlords after all is said and done)

“In the Walsh administration, they’re very active participants in the policy discussion realm,” said Linehan....

I $uppo$e they always have been in one form or fa$cion, but all pretense has been dropped. 

Therefore, in accordance with blogs new policy I'm only offering po$itivce items and commentary.

The Barr Foundation’s emergence from the shadows began about five years ago, when for the first time it publicized one of its gifts: $50 million in multiyear grants to organizations fighting climate change, one of its three main areas of giving, along with arts/culture and education....

Okay, you won, it's been colder lately.

Foundation president Jim Canales’s work at Barr, which has a 22-member staff, comes with handsome remuneration. 

I don't know if I want to see how much the agenda-pu$hing do-gooders promoted by the agenda-pu$hing pre$$ are $lo$hing around amongst themselves (they are $wimming in so much of it they don't know what to do with it all. They fund politics, agenda-pushing causes, create front groups and worthless positions to funnel money to friends and family. It's the corruption oo$ing out all over the place). 

He disclosed that his base pay is $567,000 and his total compensation, including benefits, is approximately $725,000. Canales and his partner, James McCann, a doctor at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, live in a $1.9 million condo at Millennium Place, a luxury high-rise in downtown Boston.

Hey, that's great! They are in the 1%.

The Barr Foundation’s increasing visibility makes it subject to more scrutiny in a running debate over the massive amount of money held tax-free in the country’s roughly 88,000 private foundations, and their growing influence in shaping public policy.

What debate? The great guys of ma$$ media not have our be$t intere$t at heart? Surely you je$t, my friend.

Barr money is distributed so widely throughout the nonprofit community, and is so coveted, that critics of the foundation are rarely willing to speak publicly. But one person who benefitted from a Barr grant, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing future funding, considers the foundation overly controlling of its grantees.


“In philanthropic giving, there are two strains of thought: One is that funders know best what should be done, and the other is that people on the ground know best,” the person said. “Barr definitely falls in the category that they know better . . . and the hope is that Jim will rein in some of that high-handedness.”

Hey, it's THEIR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canales said he believes Barr strikes the right balance of “ensuring there’s accountability, but also ensuring ample flexibility to its grantees.”

According to its most recent tax return, Barr gave away $52 million in 2013, less than the 5 percent yearly required by the IRS, but permissible because Barr has given away more than 5 percent in previous years and the amounts can be averaged over time.

In other words, it's another way for the wealthy to dodge taxes. Guy heading it making nearly 3/4 of a million working at a "nonprofit," huh?

That type of accounting, while legal and common, is a pet peeve of Al Cantor, who runs a New Hampshire consulting firm to nonprofits.

“They gave less this year because they overspent in previous years? Give me a . . . break,” Cantor said. “I mean, give it away!”

Canales said Barr’s grant-making is designed to generously support charitable causes without eroding its endowment, since Amos and Barbara Hostetter, who have three children, want the foundation to outlive them. Some wealthy donors aim to spend their foundations out of existence before their deaths.

“These are two remarkably generous, incredibly thoughtful people who care deeply about making a difference,” Canales said of the Hostetters....

He's become a real "blogging, tweeting man-about-town," according to what I'm told.


I hope you enjoy the lunch.