Anthony Barr Holds Holiday Party Fundraiser for Single Mothers

Posted Dec 15, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr is a former first-round draft pick and made his first Pro Bowl for his play during the 2015 season.

Yet despite all of Barr’s football accomplishments, Lori Barr was most proud of her son for what he did Monday night for single mothers in the Twin Cities community.

The linebacker’s Raise the Barr foundation hosted its first holiday party and fundraiser at a downtown hotel as a way to give back to a cause near and dear to the Barr family.

“We’ve had a lot of proud moments in our family over the last four or five years, and course raising a child you have all of those proud moments,” Lori Barr said. “But tonight is really one of those that I’m most proud of … it’s a moment that exceeds all others.”

Raise the Barr partnered with The Jeremiah Program to help provide financial assistance with higher education and childcare for single mothers.

Lori Barr was 20 years old when she had Anthony in Indiana before the two eventually settled in Southern California.

Barr went on to be an All-American linebacker at UCLA before the Vikings drafted him ninth overall in 2014.

“I’m extremely proud of her and what she’s accomplished,” Barr said. “She always put me in a position to win and be successful.

“That’s what tonight is about, hopefully we can provide opportunities for the next person,” he added. “I can’t thank her enough for everything she’s done for me and our family … this is just a little way to give back to her.”

Lori Barr said help from a foundation such as Raise the Barr would have been a relief to her when she was trying to raise Anthony in the 1990s.

“There’s a lot of struggles that come with being a single parent, whether it’s a single mom or single dad,” Lori Barr said. “When you’re raising a boy as a single mom, it’s difficult because you have concerns of how that young boy is going to grow up into a young man.

“I didn’t always have the right tools to show him how to do that. It was very challenging but I was lucky to have the support of my family and loved ones close to me,” she added. “Not every mom has that and so that’s kind of where Raise The Barr comes in. We can fill in those gaps … whether it’s help with childcare or help with education-related expenses, we’re going to be there to walk that journey with that mom and let her know that she’s not alone.”

Alexis Stensland felt the foundation’s impact Monday night as the mother of two was awarded nearly $6,000 to help pay for childcare.

Stensland, who has 2-year-old and 1-month-old sons, attends Century College in White Bear Lake.

“I was super excited to find out … I couldn’t believe it,” Stensland said. “Day care is expensive and when my 1-month-old starts, it will be like $2,000 a month.

“It’ll be very helpful to be able to go back to school without having to worry about paying for it,” she added.

Barr said he and his mom had been planning the holiday party and fundraiser for almost a year. The third-year linebacker said it was special to give back to his adopted home state of Minnesota.

“This is special. It’s a big deal for myself and my mother and the foundation to help families,” Barr said. “To have it in Minneapolis, which is kind of where I call home now, is a big deal.”

Barr was supported by linebackers Eric Kendricks and Audie Cole, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safeties Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo and Anthony Harris.

Kendricks, who played with Barr at UCLA, knows firsthand the struggles single parents face.

“It’s cool to see because me personally coming from a single-parent home as well, I can relate and I know it’s an awesome thing he’s doing,” Kendricks said. “I know that my mom is an extremely prominent figure in my life as well, without her I wouldn’t have been able to do much, either.

“I can relate to him 100 percent and I back him fully,” he added.

Barr started his foundation in June. Party attendees could donate money or bid on an autographed football or Barr’s game worn Pro Bowl jersey. 

“This is our introduction to the Twin Cities,” Lori Barr said. “This is letting them know that Anthony is committed to the community off the football field as well as on the football field. 

“It’s an opportunity for the folks of the Twin Cities to know he’s here to help those who have had similar experiences to his own,” she added.