Professional and Academic Bio

John Bare, Ph.D.

John has led design and monitoring of $1 billion in grants. Currently Vice President, Programs, at John Templeton Foundation, John previously served as senior vice president at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Director of Planning & Evaluation at The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


A journalist trained in qualitative and quantitative social science research methods, John is a creative leader who gets results. Through 25 years in foundation leadership positions, John has demonstrated the strategic vision and a knack for innovation that produces breakthrough ideas – as well as the capacity to follow through, inspire teams and deliver on implementation. Blending journalism and social science skills, John has the expertise to understand and apply research findings and the experience to translate research for use by practitioners.


In his foundation and academic roles, John has published more than 60 articles and essays on topics including journalism, risk analysis and evaluation, education, and the arts. As a journalist, John produced daily content for local newspapers, 300 columns for The Chapel Hill Herald and analysis for investigative projects with US News & World Report, The Plain Dealer and others.


At the Blank Family Foundation, John led and managed grant making for multiple portfolios, including mental health & well-being, education, arts, children’s health, environmental conservation and documentary film. John managed the associate-led grant making for Arthur Blank’s operating businesses developed founder Legacy Grants, including a $50 million grant to Babson College to establish the Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership and a $17 million grant to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. John created the Blank Family Foundation’s Speaker Series and Film Series and in 2018 launched programming at West Creek Ranch, a retreat center in Montana — all central to the Foundation’s commitment to use influence strategies to spark civic action on issues of interest to the board members.


Since 2016, John has designed and led innovative philanthropic approaches to increase testing and scaling of solutions to improve well-being in the United States. Drawing on research from behavioral economics, psychology, technology, public health and other disciplines, John’s work has focused on deaths of despair, happiness, reductions on youth suicide ideation, empathy and adolescent mental health. John’s work includes examinations of the effects digital innovations – social media, gaming, VR & immersive media – on well-being.


As a thought leader, John has been active in the Media Impact Forum, the Knight Media Forum, the Impact Guild, Day of Unreasonable Conversation, Sundance Film Festival, 2012 White House Roundtable on Food Insecurity in America, Lifespan Research Foundation, Creative Change Retreat, and the Evaluation Roundtable. At Babson College, John holds the courtesy title of Disruptor-in-Residence.


At Knight Foundation, John led the research and design to launch several national strategies, including Knight’s First Amendment initiative and its Magic of Music symphony orchestra initiative.


John studied film as an undergraduate and holds a Ph.D. in mass communication research from the University of North Carolina. He is a photographer, novelist, visual artist and songwriter.


John was born in Winston-Salem and attended public schools in Garner, NC, where his parents were educators. He was married to Elizabeth Ross Warren of Concord, NC., from 1992 to 2020. Both Betsy and John contracted the COVID virus in 2020, and Betsy passed away from the illness. John has two rescue dogs, Isadora and Winston.

Complete CV