Wendy Puriefoy

Wendy Puriefoy served as Barr Foundationís Director of Public Education leading the foundationís efforts to break the links between zip code and school achievement in Boston. Wendy brought to Barr a national perspective on education reform, a deep historic knowledge of Boston, and significant experience in philanthropy.

Wendy D. Puriefoy is a nationally recognized expert on issues of school reform and civil society. Ms. Puriefoy is well known for her passionate advocacy of education equity for poor and disadvantaged children and has written and spoken extensively on the issues.

Ms. Puriefoy was the president of Public Education Network (PEN), the nationís largest network of community-based school reform organizations, founded in 1991. Under her visionary leadership, PEN has grown into a national network of local education funds reaching more than 11 million children in 1,220 school districts and 18,000 schools nationwide.

Ms. Puriefoy has been deeply involved in school reform since the 1970ís when she served as a special monitor of the court-ordered desegregation plan for Bostonís public schools. As president of PEN, Ms. Puriefoy has been the leading force behind systemic reform initiatives in school finance and governance, curriculum and assessment, parent involvement, school libraries and school health. With support from national foundations, PEN launched multi-million dollar public engagement initiatives focused on teacher quality, standards and accountability, and schools and community services.

Ms. Puriefoy is also a noted leader in the philanthropic world. Prior to being recruited as president of PEN, Ms. Puriefoy was executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Boston Foundation, a community foundation with an endowment of over $750 million supporting public health/welfare, educational, cultural, environmental, and housing programs in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Puriefoy serves on the boards of numerous high-profile national organizations including DEMOS, Hasbro Childrenís Foundation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

In the past, Ms. Puriefoy served on the boards of FairTest, Jobs for the Future, Milton Hershey School, Ms. Foundation for Women, The PEW Forum on Standards-Based Reform, Women and Philanthropy, the National Charities Information Bureau, the Council on Foundations, Teach for America, Childrenís Express, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the Boston Annenberg Challenge.

Ms. Puriefoy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Smith College and holds three Master of Arts degrees in African American Studies, American Studies, and American Colonial History from Boston University.


Public Agenda knows what it takes to fuel progress on critical issues.
We need your support to keep things moving!

Join the Community


Take Action