Staff Spotlight: Stacy Barr
Stacy joined Turnaround for Children in 2017 as the Director of Development. In her role, Stacy is responsible for designing and leading the execution of Turnaround’s strategy to maintain and increase philanthropic investments.
THE 180: Did you always know you wanted to work in education?
STACY BARR: I always knew that I wanted to help promote education equality for youth. It started with a deep love of reading, and recognizing the importance of fostering that love and ability in children from a young age. I knew that I wanted to work at a nonprofit organization, but I thought it would be valuable to have experience working within corporate walls to better understand the role I could play in merging together the best of both sectors. My first job out of college was in marketing at Random House. At the same time, I was studying for my master’s in nonprofit management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. These experiences helped me merge those two worlds, knowing that I ultimately wanted to land in a place where I would be directly supporting youth in their education.
THE 180: What drew you to Turnaround for Children?
STACY BARR: Three things. The first is more on the personal side; I spent my early nonprofit career working in youth development with a focus on mentoring, and as I welcomed my own kid into the world, I was drawn more explicitly to supporting education and creating the best educational environments for all students. Secondly, once I came to Turnaround, I was moved by the people I met. The organization has this unique ability to find some of the brightest and most passionate individuals, and that combination is inspiring. Lastly, as it relates to the role I play here, Turnaround is fortunate to receive investments from some of the most significant names in education philanthropy. The opportunity to work with these institutions and learn from and with them was exciting. Those three elements combined to create the perfect opportunity for me.
THE 180: What does a typical day look like for you in your role as Director of Development?
STACY BARR: Hah! I don’t think there is a “typical day” for any Director of Development. My role is about leading the effort to ensure that we secure the short-and long-term financial resources to support our organizational sustainability. At its core though, my job is very much in service of the students, teachers and school staff that we work with by supporting all the departments here. We have a fantastic development team that works together with our individual, institutional and public investors to better understand the impact that they are looking to make in the world; we then identify the role that Turnaround can play in helping them see that through our tools and services – helping them reach their goals while simultaneously reaching ours. In a nutshell, I get to play matchmaker in some ways, and think strategically about how we can partner with our donors to meet our mutual needs.
THE 180: In playing matchmaker, you need to be able to explain why one party is a good fit for the other. As you tell Turnaround’s story to funders and prospective partners, what do you say makes Turnaround unique?
STACY BARR: I think what makes Turnaround so special is that we are grounded in the science and partner that knowledge with more than fifteen years of practical experience in schools. That combination of exposure and deep expertise is rare. Someone once told me they love talking with the team at Turnaround because they always learn something new, and I think that is unique. For me, the takeaway is, many people come to the table wanting to learn something about science, about adolescent development, about education, and they end up walking away excited about the work that is happening here.
THE 180: What have you learned since you’ve been at Turnaround?
STACY BARR: Oh my! I’ve learned so much about the science of human development and have applied much of it to my own life and in raising my little guy. I joke that the concept of growth mindset is not something that I have learned here, but it is something that I have better digested here. When I’m home, if my son is doing a puzzle and he does it quickly, my feedback is more, “Oh, it looks like we need to get you a harder puzzle now!”
THE 180: You have a toddler and a baby on the way – congratulations! What do you hope the education landscape will look like when your toddler Corey is ready for elementary and high school?
STACY BARR: Yes, thank you! We are expecting our second child – a little lady – this fall. For my little guy, Corey, elementary school is only two short years away, so perhaps this is a better vision for my second. I would love for the education landscape to be such that I could live in any zip code and have full confidence in the public school that I was sending my children to.
THE 180: What would you say is the most important thing that students need to succeed?
STACY BARR: I worked at two phenomenal organizations that emphasize the importance of youth mentoring: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Summer Search. It is from these experiences that I learned how critical a trusting relationship with a caring adult is for youth. I believe that is something every child needs (and deserves!) to succeed. One of my colleagues here at Turnaround has this great quote that goes, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care.” I love that! I think it’s important for kids to know that they have someone behind them on this journey and they are not alone — that they’ve got someone looking out for them and supporting them.
THE 180: How can people who’d like to support Turnaround get involved?
STACY BARR: So many ways — follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. There are excellent resources on our website including white papers and videos that people can view and use. You can also get involved by making a donation on our website. Every bit of financial support to the organization helps us to continue to do the great work that our teams are leading!