Commitment to underserved communities

Continued Support for Underserved Communities

Affirming a longstanding commitment to equality

As a partner in Philanthropy’s Promise, the Fund has pledged to continue providing at least half of its grant dollars to benefit underserved communities.

In August 2011, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund affirmed its longstanding commitment to the values of fairness, equality and opportunity when it signed onto the Philanthropy’s Promise initiative sponsored by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). As a partner in Philanthropy’s Promise, the Haas, Jr. Fund has pledged to continue providing at least half of its grant dollars to benefit underserved communities.   

“The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund’s core values align with NCRP’s belief that philanthropy has an important role to play in advancing the cause of equality for all people,” said Ira S. Hirschfield, president of the Haas, Jr. Fund. “For more than 50 years, the Haas, Jr. Fund has made substantial investments in organizations that are working every day to level the playing field and advance the cause of equal rights and opportunities for underserved people and communities. Inspired by our founders’ vision of a just and caring society, we plan to continue this support in the years ahead.”    

To date, Philanthropy’s Promise has secured commitments from more than 60 grantmakers across the country. In addition to pledging that half of their grant dollars will go to benefit underserved communities, participating foundations commit to providing one-quarter of their grants to “social justice grantmaking,” which includes nonprofit advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement. 

According to a Foundation Center analysis, the Haas, Jr. Fund was in the top five among large U.S. funders in the share of giving going to social justice causes in 2009.  

Through its Education, Immigrant Rights, Gay and Lesbian programs, and other grantmaking, the Fund has consistently provided a substantial majority of its funding to benefit underserved communities.  The following are examples of recent and ongoing initiatives supported by the Fund that are focused on underserved communities:   

• California Counts!, a statewide effort aimed at ensuring a fair and accurate 2010 census count through targeted outreach to hard-to-reach populations such as immigrants and homeless people.

• The National Council of La Raza, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States that works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

• Freedom to Marry, a campaign working to win the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in more states and to grow the national majority for marriage equality.

• The U.C. Berkeley Initiative for Equity and Inclusion, a sweeping effort to expand research and teaching on diversity issues, fund new scholarships for students from low-income families, and make equity and inclusion a priority in every corner of the Cal campus.