Professional and Academic Bio

John Bare, Ph.D.

John Bare is vice president of programs at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta, a family philanthropy investing more than $25 million in Georgia, Montana and around the country.

In this role, John provides the creativity and vision to animate the Blank family’s passions across a number of program areas, including education, parks and greenspace, early childhood development, the arts, childhood obesity and community development. John directs implementation of grant programs and manages the grants administration process and foundation financials. John leads a staff of five and engages dozens of associates from the Blank Family of Businesses who make up the five grantmaking committees that shape the corporate philanthropy for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and Mr. Blank’s other business interests. John has created an AMBFF Fellows program that brings on college students to lead strategic projects and gain exposure to philanthropic and social change leaders.

John joined the Blank Family Foundation in 2004 and created the Blank Family Foundation’s Speaker Series and Film Series and the programming for West Creek Ranch, a retreat center in Montana — all central to the Foundation’s commitment to spark civic action on issues of interest to the board members.

An expert in evaluation, John is a national leader in identifying and adapting innovative tools for social change strategies. Borrowing from risk analysis, scenario planning and behavioral economics and other fields, John has created practical tools that enhance and accelerate social change. John was part of a 2015-16 national advisory board for The Commons’ Risk Management Toolkit, and his 2009 Foundation Review article, “Philanthropy, Evaluation, Accountability, and Social Change,” challenges the field to differentiate accountability, which sets the ground floor for acceptable practices, from the complex, aspirational work required to advance social change.

John joined AMBFF after seven years at The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he created the planning and evaluation department. At Knight, John created an indicators project to track more than 100 quality-of-life measures across 26 communities. In Knight’s journalism work, John directed the largest-ever study of training and professional development for U.S. journalists, and designed the Future of the First Amendment research project that assessed knowledge and attitudes of 100,000 students, nearly 8,000 teachers and 500 administrators and principals at U.S. high schools. In the arts, John directed one of the biggest discipline-specific arts consumer studies. The findings are published in the 2002 book, Classical Music Segmentation Study.

John has taught college courses and executive education programs on both evaluation and philanthropy’s role in social change and published extensively through book chapters, essays, journal articles and newspaper columns. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal appointed John to co-chair the Governor’s Advisory Council on Childhood Obesity, and John serves in a volunteer role as executive-in-residence at Georgia Tech’s Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.

Prior to philanthropy, John worked as a journalist, columnist and as a consultant to media organizations on investigative journalism projects. For “Transplanting Life,” a Cleveland Plain Dealer investigative series on the nation’s organ-transplant system (Feb. 2-6, 1997), John designed and carried out the statistical analysis of 55,900 organ transplants carried out over four years. His investigation revealed gaps in the organ-transplant system and showed that low-volume transplant centers tended to have higher mortality rates than high-volume centers. The series won The Newspaper Guild’s 1997 Heywood Broun Award and led to changes in federal policy regarding organ transplants.

John holds a Ph.D. in mass communication research from the University of North Carolina. He is a photographer whose work is shown in North Carolina and Georgia, a novelist (unpublished!) and a songwriter. John was born in Winston-Salem and attended public schools in Garner, NC, where his parents were educators. He is married to Elizabeth Ross Warren of Concord, NC.

Complete CV