Ira S. Hirschfield has served as President and a Trustee of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund since 1992. He has led the implementation of the Fund’s vision for a just and caring society where all people are able to live, work and raise their families with dignity.
A common theme in Mr. Hirschfield’s work is a commitment to advancing and protecting fundamental rights and opportunities for all people. To that end, the Fund focuses its work in immigrant rights and integration, equality for gays and lesbians, education opportunities to close the achievement gap for children and young adults, and nonprofit leadership development.
In addition, Mr. Hirschfield has played a key role in an array of major local and national initiatives that express the values of the Fund. Under his leadership, the Haas, Jr. Fund supported the transformation of San Francisco’s Crissy Field from a former military base with just 30 acres of usable space into a 100-acre urban national park that attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. The Haas, Jr. Fund also is a major supporter of the effort to turn the Presidio in San Francisco into a National Park destination, with extensive trails and an overnight campground.
Building on the Fund’s work in the Golden Gate National Parks, Mr. Hirschfield led the Fund’s support for the film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, with the largest outreach grant in PBS history. Working with filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, Mr. Hirschfield helped ensure that diverse audiences could connect with the content of the film, showcasing individuals from all backgrounds who have shaped the history of America’s parks.
Mr. Hirschfield also has also played a leading role in the success of other major Fund-supported projects, including:
Mr. Hirschfield currently serves as a trustee of both the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund and Team-Up for Youth.
Prior to joining the Haas, Jr. Fund, Mr. Hirschfield was Director of Philanthropy for Rockefeller Family and Associates and Founder and President of The Philanthropic Collaborative. He also held leadership positions at Levi Strauss & Co., including Executive Vice President of the Levi Strauss Foundation and Corporate Vice President and Director of Community Affairs.
Mr. Hirschfield’s work in the nonprofit sector is extensive. He co-founded and served as President and Chairman of the F.B. Heron Foundation. Some of his previous board service has included: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, the National Center for Family Philanthropy, the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy and Guidestar.
A native of Chicago, Mr. Hirschfield graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University and participated in the Coro Foundation Fellows Program in Public Affairs, a post-graduate leadership training program. He received a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs from Occidental College and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Gerontology from the University of Southern California.