Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $3,512,530
Expenses: $3,739,015
Assets: $928,539




Private Foundation

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The Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation is a family foundation created by Barre Seid, long-time president of Trippe Manufacturing, which makes surge protectors, and the Fiber Bond Corporation, which makes air filters. Its grantees include opera companies in Chicago and higher education programs.

Chamber Opera of Chicago

In 1981, Seid co-founded the Chamber Opera of Chicago. He was its director for many years. The company produces operas reduced for an orchestra of six and a small chorus. Seid told the Chicago Tribune in 1987 that he decided to run an opera company because “I’m a successful adult male who gets pleasure out of seeing nice things happen. I’m not a musician, but I have a talent for running things.” 1

The Seid Foundation has continued to support the Chamber Opera of Chicago, making a $1,000,000 grant in 2019. 2

Shimer College

In 2007 and 2008, the Seid Foundation donated $825,000 to Shimer College, a small liberal arts college that had a curriculum emphasizing the “Great Books” of literature.  The money enabled Shimer to move from Waukegan, Illinois to rent space from the Illinois Institute of Technology, in the hopes that a downtown Chicago location would attract more students. 3

The Seid Foundation grant was initially anonymous but became public in February 2010, after students discovered the Seid Foundation grant through an investigation of tax records. 4

In 2008, Shimer College appointed Thomas Lindsay president. Lindsay, who had served as deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in the George W. Bush administration, expanded the college’s board from 22 to 35, including Charles A. Lang, then Trippe Manufacturing CFO; John Marienau, then Fiber Bond president; Joseph L. Bast, then-Heartland Institute president; and Bob Chitester, then-head of the Palmer R. Chitester Fund. 5

Some students objected to Lindsay’s positions, including firing the admissions director and changing the school’s mission statement to declare that intellectual liberty “depends on its being stated in a system of political liberty.” 6 Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Grossman noted that “philosophically, Shimer is unabashed leftist” and “the ‘60s have echoed loudly in the feud” between Shimer students and Lindsay. 7

In May 2010, Lindsay was fired by Shimer College. 8 In 2016, North Central College took over Shimer. 9

George Mason University Law School

In 2016, the George Mason University Law school announced it was changing its name to the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  The Washington Post reported that the name change was due to a $10 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation and a $20 million grant from an anonymous donor and that the name change was a condition of the anonymous donor’s gift. 10

UnKoch My Campus, a left-wing group critical of the higher-education grantmaking of the Charles W. Koch Foundation, later issued a report based on a public-records request claiming that Barre Seid was the anonymous donor. Emails the group obtained showed that Seid had extensive correspondence with law school dean Daniel Polsby and his successor, Henry Butler, and that Seid had seven meetings with Polsby and Butler between 2011 and 2016. The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote that “it could not independently verify the identity” of the anonymous donor and “it is still not clear what Seid’s involvement in renaming the law school may have been, if anything.” 11


  1. Sheila Malkind, “Opera Without The Glasses,” Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1987.
  2. Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation 2019 Form 990.
  3. Don Troop, “At A Tiny College, An Epic Battle Over Academic Authority,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2010.
  4. Don Troop, “At A Tiny College, An Epic Battle Over Academic Authority,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2010.
  5. Don Troop, “At A Tiny College, An Epic Battle Over Academic Authority,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2010.
  6. Emily Esfahani Smith, “On The Barricades at Shimer,” Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2012.
  7. Ron Grossman, “At Tiny Campus, a Major feud,” Chicago Tribune, January 27, 2010.
  8. Ron Grossman, “College searches for Leader,” Chicago Tribune, May 5, 2010.
  9. Melissa Korn, “Cash-Strapped Private colleges cut Programs, Sell Assets,” Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2017.
  10. Susan Svrluga, “George Mason’s Law School Officially Renamed In Honor of Antonin Scalia,” Washington Post, May 18. 2016.
  11. Jack Stripling and Neil Gluckman, “To Court A Secretive donor, Law Deans At George Mason Blasted Climate Scientists And Their Own Accreditor,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1985

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $3,512,530 $3,739,015 $928,539 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $2,134,308 $2,629,707 $849,184 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $1,709,155 $2,151,932 $1,062,023 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $631,235 $849,242 $1,243,758 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $1,460,461 $2,144,503 $1,222,534 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation

    1111 W 35TH ST
    CHICAGO, IL 60609-1404