Strategic planning has given us an opportunity to explore and define the role of risk in our work at the Barr Foundation.
Absent the pressures of a ballot box or quarterly earnings reports, the philanthropic sector has the unique ability to adopt a long-term perspective and to take risks that other sectors may avoid. And yet our sector is often accused—sometimes rightly—of being risk-averse.
Last year, Barr's trustees affirmed "embracing risk" as one of the Foundation's core values, but that begs the question: what does that mean for Barr's work? Determining how we animate that value has been one of the recurring themes during our planning process this year. And core to that conversation has been the reminder that we are not risk seeking. We are impact seeking. To take risks should never be a goal unto itself. Our goal is impact, and what we embrace is a willingness to take smart risks on the ideas and partners with potential to reach ambitious goals.