Barr to be inducted into Capital Region Philanthropy Hall of Fame

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Brian Barr of Guilderland, left, presents an award to one of eight recipients — one each from eight local social-services agencies — recognizing outstanding accomplishments. Barr founded the Rotary Youth Recognition Lunch program decades ago.

GUILDERLAND — W. Brian Barr is being inducted into the Capital Region Philanthropy Hall of Fame.

The retired Guilderland resident has spent a lifetime helping the needy and vulnerable both as part of his career and in volunteer work.

A social worker, Barr worked with the state’s Office of Children and Family Services since it was formed in January 1998, serving as associate deputy commissioner and later as assistant commissioner for the state’s Department of Social Services.

Barr spent years as a clinical and community service director at the La Salle School’s residential program where he initiated programs in independent living, substance-abuse prevention, and to help victims of sexual offenses.

He has been a pioneer in speaking and writing about demystifying suicide and was heart-wrenchingly honest when he spoke about his son’s suicide in an Enterprise podcast

Barr participated in the first-ever teen and senior suicide audit by the George Gallup organization awakening the public to isolation as a major threat to seniors. 

Barr currently serves as president of Senior Hope Inc., an outpatient treatment clinic for substance abusers age 50 and older.

A look through years of pictures published by The Enterprise shows the wide range of Barr’s activities — from ringing a bell next to a Salvation Army kettle at Crossgates Mall at Christmastime to founding an annual Rotary program to honor youth in foster care who have excelled.

 In one picture, in his role as president of the Senior Hope Counseling Board, Barr displayed a necktie that was colored by a little girl, at age 7 or 8, who had been born with HIV, contracted at birth from her mother. He told the girl he would wear the tie on days like the one where he stood at the podium, bringing people together.

In many of the pictures he is being honored for his wide-ranging contributions:

— Accepting a 2021 Community Bridge Builder Award from Pastor David Traynham, the founder of ALERT, the Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team, at the inaugural awards celebration;

— Posing with his granddaughter Brianna, and with Dr. Alice Green who presented him with a lifetime achievement award at the Treatment and Recovery Works March;

— With Raymond Clark as Barr accepted an award at Christian Brothers Academy named for Clark’s son, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Clark, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan; and

— Receiving the Vision of Hope award, recognizing his many years of service and dedication to Senior Hope Counseling.

In 2009, Bar was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Association of Social Workers – New York State Chapter’s annual conference.

In 2011, Barr received the Jefferson Award for Public Service and was selected as the Capital District’s representative at a national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Barr’s 2023 induction into the Capital Region Philanthropy Hall of Fame will be formalized at the  United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s Annual Awards on June 17.

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