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Aileen Roberts Elected Chair of the Barnes Foundation Board of Trustees

Roberts succeeds Joseph Neubauer, who will continue his service on the Barnes’s Board and as Chair of the $100 million Second Century Campaign

Philadelphia, PA, February 22, 2021—The Board of Trustees of the Barnes Foundation announced that Aileen Roberts has been elected as the Board’s new Chair. Roberts, who has served on the Board since 2005 and as Vice Chair since 2015, succeeds Joseph Neubauer. Neubauer led the Barnes as Chair from 2015 to 2020 and will remain a Trustee and serve as Chair of the Barnes Foundation’s $100 million Second Century Campaign.

“The Barnes Foundation is one of Philadelphia’s cultural gems and among the world’s most lauded collections. During the nearly ten years since the Barnes opened the doors to its new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it has welcomed over two million visitors, showcased more than 20 highly acclaimed exhibitions, and secured over $50 million in new commitments toward our $100 million goal for the Second Century Campaign, which will enhance educational programs and community engagement initiatives, support operations, and strengthen the endowment,” says Joseph Neubauer. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Board as Trustee and Chair, and to work alongside Aileen and my other venerable colleagues to help bring Dr. Barnes’s mission to life. On behalf of my fellow Trustees, I want to thank Aileen for agreeing to serve as Chair. Aileen has both a profound knowledge of the Barnes and a proven commitment to it, which extends from the key role she played in bringing the building on the Parkway to life—leading the Buildings, Grounds, and Planning Committee, and working closely with architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien—to her tireless efforts to ensure the Barnes is a welcoming and inspiring space for staff and visitors alike. Aileen’s steadfast support of Barnes exhibitions has enabled the program’s growth to the high caliber for which it is now known. Aileen has been essential to the Barnes’s success, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we plan for the Barnes’s second century.”

“The impact Joe Neubauer has had on institutions in Philadelphia, across the country, and around the world simply cannot be overstated,” says Aileen Roberts. “A true champion of the Barnes, Joe has led the institution with equal parts integrity, tenacity, and wisdom through some of its greatest achievements during his tenure as Chair. The entire Board and staff join me in thanking him for his unwavering leadership, and for the paramount role he has played in transforming the Barnes into a thriving, financially sound organization. I am honored to serve the Barnes as its next Chair, and look forward to ensuring the Barnes brings even greater service to students, teachers, and families in the community, and to myriad national and international audiences, in the years ahead.”

“One is lucky to experience visionary leadership like Joe Neubauer’s once in a lifetime, and the Barnes—along with everyone whose life has been enriched by it—are the grateful beneficiaries of his determination and wise insight,” says Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes. “One is luckier still to benefit from the dedicated leadership of both Joe and Aileen. As a philanthropist and civic leader, Aileen has had an indelible impact on the city—from her support of organizations dedicated to arts, culture, and healthcare, to those addressing equity in education through her work as President of the Roberts family foundation. As an educational institution working closely with the School District of Philadelphia and many community partners, the Barnes is deeply grateful for Aileen’s steadfast commitment to our core mission. Aileen and Joe share the courageous vision it took not only to manifest the monumental project of bringing the Barnes on the Parkway to life, but also to ensure its solid foundation now and for generations to come. It has been an honor and a joy to work with them in their leadership roles, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to deepen our relationship with Aileen as our new Board Chair.”

Aileen Roberts and Joseph Neubauer Biographies

Aileen Roberts is a philanthropist and civic leader actively involved in the Philadelphia community. For more than 20 years, she has supported organizations and initiatives dedicated to arts and culture, education, healthcare, and conservation.

Roberts serves on boards and champions programs that have a meaningful and lasting impact. She has been a member of the Board of the Barnes Foundation for 16 years and served as Chair of the Building Committee, leading a multi-year effort to relocate the Barnes to the City of Philadelphia. For her efforts, she received the Philadelphia Award in 2011, alongside fellow Board member Joseph Neubauer.

Roberts has also served as a board member of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where she was chair of the Facilities Design Committee and vice chair of the Healthcare and Health Status Committee for the State, and served on the Executive Committee and Internal Patient Safety Committee. She has championed cutting-edge advancements through the Roberts Collaborative for Genetics and Individualized Medicine, which positioned CHOP at the forefront of pediatric genetics research, and currently serves on the CHOP Facilities Expansion Advisory Committee.

As president of the Aileen K. and Brian L. Roberts Foundation, she has supported organizations that address equity in education. In 2015, she partnered with the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia on the Right Books Campaign, an effort to get all school district children reading. In 2020, she and her family provided Philadelphia’s public school students with computers so they could continue their education through virtual classes at the onset of the pandemic. She has also been a planner and volunteer for Project HOME, providing computer labs and other services to help people experiencing homelessness.

In addition, Roberts has been a board member of the Franklin Institute, the Avenue of the Arts, the International House, and William Penn Charter School. She currently serves on the board of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Roberts graduated from the Design School of North Carolina State University with a bachelor of arts degree in landscape architecture. After college, she worked for several architectural firms. Prior to starting a family, she was a banker with PNB, now Wells Fargo, in the investment management and trust divisions.

She resides in the Philadelphia area with her husband, Brian, and has three children.

Joseph Neubauer has served on the Barnes Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2005 and led the Board as Chair from 2015 to 2020. He is the former CEO and chairman of Aramark Corporation. During his tenure from 1979 to 2013, the company grew from a $2.5 billion business to a $13 billion global services provider.

Neubauer has been a trustee of the University of Chicago since 1992 and has served as its chair since 2015. He has formerly served as director of Mondelez International, Macy’s Inc., Cigna, and Verizon Communications.

Neubauer has been recognized throughout his career for civic and professional achievements. He was conferred with Papal Honors, Knight, in the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2016. In 2015 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013 he received the William Penn Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a businessperson in the greater Philadelphia business community. In 2012, the Carnegie Corporation of New York named Neubauer a Great Immigrants: The Pride of America Honoree. He received the prestigious Philadelphia Award in 2011. In 1994 he was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and he has been a member of the American Philosophical Society since 2007.

He received a BS from Tufts University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Aileen Roberts, Chair
Stephen J. Harmelin, Esq., Treasurer
The Honorable Jacqueline F. Allen, Secretary
John J. Aglialoro
John R. Alchin
Armando I. Bengochea, PhD
Sheldon M. Bonovitz, Esq.
Pamela D. Bundy
Jeffrey A. Honickman
Cathy Hughes
John H. McFadden, Esq.
Joseph Neubauer
Christine Poggi, PhD
Brenda A. Thompson, PhD

Chair Emeritus
Bernard C. Watson, PhD

Emeritus Trustees

Stephanie Bell-Rose
Bruce S. Gordon
Agnes Gund
Neil L. Rudenstine, PhD

Honorary Trustees

Wallis Annenberg
Laura T. Buck
Tory Burch
Betsy Z. Cohen
David Haas
Anne F. Hamilton
Marguerite Lenfest
James J. Maguire
William A. Slaughter, Esq.
Joan Thalheimer
Bruce E. Toll
A. Morris Williams, Jr.


The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, and medieval art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young black artists, writers, and musicians who wanted to further their education. Dr. Barnes was deeply interested in African American culture and became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes Foundation has expanded its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways; investing in original scholarship relating to its collection; and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its program. Hours and ticket prices are listed on our website.

Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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