We are looking ahead to the future, ever dedicated to finding ways the Fund can make a unique contribution to this very special place in which we live.Evelyn D. Haas
We are looking ahead to the future, ever dedicated to finding ways the Fund can make a unique contribution to this very special place in which we live.Evelyn D. Haas
Explore our digital timeline to learn more about the Fund’s work and to find out about the heroic accomplishments of the leaders and organizations we have the privilege of supporting.
Voters in Oakland overwhelmingly approved Measure W, which will establish a Democracy Dollars program to revolutionize campaign financing for local elections. The program will provide vouchers to local residents who can in turn use them to support political candidates of their choice.
Advancing visibility and inclusion of immigrant Indigenous communities is a growing commitment of our Immigrant Rights program. That’s why we’re partnering with groups like Comunidades Indígenas en liderazgo (CIELO), which works to increase indigenous language access rights and cultural preservation, among other priorities.
Funding from five California-based groups including the Haas, Jr. Fund supported the launch of the Community Learning Partnership’s California Youth Leadership Corps, a unique statewide initiative that provides historically marginalized youth with career pathways and resources to become local organizers and change agents in their communities.
This unprecedented three-year effort funded in part by the Haas, Jr. Fund provided public colleges and universities with the resources needed to set up and expand critical campus services that aid the educational success of undocumented students. The development of sustainability plans and advocacy training for student fellows was built into the effort from the start to ensure all participating campuses could maintain their services even after the fund’s sunsetting.
Following the drastic increase in violence and hate against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in recent years, the Haas, Jr. Fund spearheaded the launch of the power-building Activate California initiative, which is dedicated to engaging AAPI communities - especially younger AAPI Californians - as more active participants in democracy and civic life.
Thanks to the work of a number of regional coalitions in California, counties including Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino secured fairer political maps that will help ensure all communities have fair representation in government and during elections.
After 21 years and over $105 million in investments, the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund announced that we will be winding down our LGBT equality program over the next two years.
While letting go of a grantmaking program is always difficult, we couldn’t be prouder of the transformational work of our LGBT movement partners. Over the past two decades, they have delivered tremendous gains for the LGBT community and advanced our nation’s core values. That said, we know that the struggle to secure full equality for LGBT people is not over. Far from it. We are committed to providing two years of transitional support to our current LGBT grantees so they can continue their important work and plan for the future.
The California Dignity for Families Fund is a public-private partnership with Governor Gavin Newsom that provides humanitarian relief and assistance to migrant families and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border as well as Afghan and Haitian migrants. The Haas, Jr. Fund was proud to join 17 other funders to support CDFF’s second investment round.
At the Haas, Jr. Fund, we know that strong, compassionate and capable leaders are key to fulfilling the promise of these and other movements for change. That’s why we are so excited to see how the Fund’s longstanding work to strengthen nonprofit and movement leadership has blossomed to become an independent entity, The LeadersTrust.
Alongside other funders, we launched The LeadersTrust earlier this year—and now this new organization is welcoming its first executive director, Sidney Hargro. Sidney is a nationally known leader with a career-long commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice through smart and innovative philanthropy. He is the right person to move The LeadersTrust into high gear as it sets out to support more people and organizations to deliver on their goals for their communities and the world.
Walter A. Haas III, Elise Haas, Nancy Pelosi, Jesse Eisenhardt, Betsy Haas Eisenhardt at Crissy Field.
20 years ago, the revitalization of Crissy Field literally reshaped San Francisco’s northern waterfront. No words can capture the subsequent years of joy and connection these precious lands provide to people near and far.
A former concrete and derelict US Army airfield, Crissy Field now serves as a treasured national park site, right in the heart of San Francisco. It is a safe haven for nesting birds and a sanctuary for calm where one can hear the waves and see the beauty of the sea and sky. Crissy Field provides a launch spot for exhilarating fun – whether you are a kite boarder, swimmer, dog lover, avid fisher, cyclist, walker, kid or a kid at heart.
People also meet at Crissy Field to connect, enjoy picnics and walks with friends and family amidst some of our city’s most iconic views — Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and the San Francisco city skyline. This special place was made possible through the foresight and generosity of the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, park partners, and the mobilization of thousands of community donors and volunteers.
The Haas, Jr. Fund joins nearly two dozen funders to announce the launch of the California Black Freedom Fund, a $100 million initiative dedicated to Black power-building and organizing in California. This first-of-its-kind fund is co-created with Black leaders and organizers to ensure that California’s growing ecosystem of locally rooted Black-led organizing efforts have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.
The Fund launches its Democracy program with a focus on increasing civic participation and representation for communities in California that have long been underrepresented in our democratic processes.
The Fund launches its College Success program with the mission to reduce the financial barriers to a college degree and the opportunities that come with it.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 18 blocks the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since the start of DACA in 2012, 800,000 undocumented young people have been able to obtain work permits and a temporary reprieve from deportation. In a letter addressed to the young people who have led the movement for DACA and other protections for immigrants, Haas, Jr. Fund President Cathy Cha pledges continuing support and solidarity. The letter highlights the economic contributions of immigrants to the United States, as well as the risks they face from Covid-19 and its economic impacts. “As we keep working to address the Covid-19 crisis and look to emerging on the other side, we need you to stay safe and healthy, continue your life-saving work, keep strengthening our economy, and keep inspiring us through your stories and your voices,” Cha writes.
In a decisive 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court rules on June 15 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must be interpreted to protect gay and transgender workers from employment discrimination. Before the ruling, nearly 30 states did not provide these basic civil rights protections, and workers could be fired or discriminated against simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In a letter celebrating the historic win, Haas, Jr. Fund Senior Program Director Matt Foreman thanks several longtime Fund grantees who led the legal fight for nationwide protections. He also notes that the ruling is not enough, highlighting the lack of nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in areas such as housing, retail and restaurant service, and adoption. “Let’s pledge to each other in this moment to work for bigger, bolder change so that all people can live and thrive as who they are,” Foreman writes.
The Racial Equity to Accelerate Change (REACH) Fund awards $1.36 million in its second year of grantmaking. Launched in June 2019 by the Haas, Jr. Fund and other funders, the REACH Fund supports practitioners who are helping nonprofit organizations make racial equity a day-to-day priority in their work and operations.
Recognizing that undocumented immigrants and their families are at grave risk as a result of COVID-19, a collaborative of funders join together with the State of California in an effort to help.
The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund expedites the release of nearly $2 million to help lower-income individuals and families facing severe economic challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Haas, Jr. Fund Vice President of Programs Robert Joseph writes that Season of Sharing is “uniquely positioned to provide direct support during this crisis,” based on decades of meaningful partnerships with Bay Area social service agencies and food banks.
The University of California, Berkeley, receives a $10 million grant from the Haas, Jr. Fund to create a more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive campus. A cornerstone of the gift is $2 million for scholarships designed to bolster the university’s African American student community and their overall campus experience.
Along with 11 funding partners, The Haas, Jr. Fund launches the REACH Fund to help make make racial equity a top priority for organizations and movements. The Fund awarded $1.2 million to eight inaugural grantees: organizations and practitioners providing racial equity learning and strategy consultative services to nonprofits.
In response to the Supreme Court case concerning a Colorado baker who refused to sell a gay couple a wedding cake the Movement Advancement Project started a campaign to make businesses more welcoming of all people. In March San Francisco was officially declared the first "Open to All" city.
Resource Leaders, a new fellowship is launched by the Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Haas, Jr. Fund, to support social justice leaders. Participating fellows will get the tools and support they need to see themselves as changemakers in their own right, equipped to mobilize the people and resources that organizations need to transform communities for the better.
Jennie Lehua Watson steps down after 18 years on the Fund’s staff, including her final two years as President. In a farewell message, Watson expresses confidence that the Fund and its partners will build a better, brighter future despite the challenges of the moment.
The California Campus Catalyst Fund announces grants to 32 public colleges and universities to develop solutions for supporting undocumented students. The Haas, Jr. Fund joined with the Chavez Family Foundation, Educators for Fair Consideration, Grove Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Foundation, James Irvine Foundation and Weingart Foundation to launch the initiative. Its focus: helping campuses expand outreach, offer legal and other services, and take steps to create a more welcoming, supportive campus environment for undocumented students.
A video shares the story of a group of young activists’ 1,784-mile journey from the Canadian to the Mexican borders to highlight the need for a pathway to citizenship for non-citizens in the United States. The ride was put together by organizers working for Haas, Jr. Fund grantee National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC).
A survey supported by the Haas, Jr. Fund indicates that the majority of LGBTQ people working at participating foundations are “in the closet” at work, meaning they have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to all or most of their coworkers. The first-of-its-kind survey marks an effort to make demographic data on the philanthropic workforce more accessible and to promote more transparency about the experiences and perspectives of LGBTQ workers in the field.
In an emotional ceremony at Crissy Field, 32 young immigrants are officially welcomed to the United States as citizens. The event spurs Haas, Jr. Fund Program Officer Sepi Aghdaee to reflect on her family’s immigrant journey, as well as her involvement in the Fund’s longstanding partnership with the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy in rebuilding Crissy Field.
Philanthropy responds to the inhumane family separation and detention policies. The Haas, Jr. Fund joins more than 200 institutions signing a statement in support of children and families seeking refuge in the United States.
The Supreme Court rules in favor of a Colorado baker who said he would not create a wedding cake for a gay couple. But the decision is narrowly focused on the specifics of this one case, prompting Haas, Jr. Fund Senior Program Director Matt Foreman to observe that it’s time for Congress to act to end anti-LGBT discrimination.
The Haas, Jr. Fund joined with the Chavez Family Foundation, Educators for Fair Consideration, Grove Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and Weingart Foundation to launch the California Campus Catalyst Fund, a multimillion-dollar effort to strengthen services and supports for Dreamers at public college and university campuses across the state.
In March, the Haas, Jr. Fund officially welcomed three members of the third generation of the Haas, Jr. family to the Board of Directors: Elise Haas, Jesse Eisenhardt, and Walter A. Haas III.
The Supreme Court hears an important case that puts the vision of an inclusive, equal society to the test. In Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Court is asked to decide if a business should be allowed to discriminate against customers based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.
Haas, Jr. Fund grantee and partner Fund the People publishes a comprehensive new toolkit for investing in the nonprofit workforce as a way to increase the sector’s impact. Linda Wood, senior director of the Haas Leadership Initiatives states, “This rich new resource is full of information that will help funders, nonprofits and others maximize their investments in talent and leadership.”
A federal judge rules that transgender people can continue to serve in the U.S. military, despite a proposed White House ban on their service. The proposed White House ban, first announced by the President in July, is a reminder that workplace discrimination is still a very real threat to equality and opportunity for LGBT people across the nation.
The Haas, Jr. Fund unites with 40 other California funders in a joint statement highlighting the “devastating impact” of ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program DACA. The program has provided temporary work authorization and protection from deportation for nearly 800,000 undocumented people.
Raquiba LaBrie, a former senior leader with the Open Society Foundations, starts work as program director for the Haas, Jr. Fund’s Education Equity program. Raised in East Oakland, Raquiba comes to the Fund with extensive experience managing grantmaking programs focused on racial justice, immigrant and LGBT rights, education, workforce development and other issues. In her new position, Raquiba directs the Fund’s efforts to close achievement gaps so all students can reach their full potential.
The Haas, Jr. Fund announces the hiring of a new staff leader for its Immigrant Rights program. Descended from Mexican immigrants, John Govea started his career as an attorney representing farmworkers in rural California. Most recently, he managed national programs on childhood obesity and health equity for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. At the Haas, Jr. Fund, John is leading its efforts to create equal opportunities for immigrants in California and across the nation. “To join the Fund’s ream at a challenging time for immigrant communities across the country is both a great honor and a profound responsibility,” Govea says.
The 100-day mark of the Trump administration is a time of reflection for philanthropy and its partners in the work of advancing rights and creating opportunities for immigrants, LGBT people, and other communities. Haas, Jr. Fund Vice President of Programs Cathy Cha joins the dialogue with three colleagues in an article for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The article follows up on a presentation the group made at a Northern California Grantmakers debate.
In the wake of White House actions targeting refugees and immigrants, the Haas, Jr. Fund joins with other funders of immigrant rights to speak up for policies that advance diversity, inclusion and human dignity.
The Fund’s Directors announce that Jennie Lehua Watson, formerly vice president of special initiatives and communications, will serve as interim president of the Fund for two years. Cathy Cha, formerly program director for immigrant rights, is named vice president of programs and will become president of the Fund in January 2019. With a combined 30 years as key leaders with the Fund, Watson and Cha have played integral roles in its work to advance rights and create opportunities for all people.
After 28 years leading the Fund, President and Director Ira S. Hirschfield steps down at the end of 2016. From the transformation of Crissy Field to the national campaign for marriage equality, Hirschfield played a key leadership role in major initiatives reflecting the Fund’s commitment to advancing rights and creating opportunities for all people.
The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund kicks off its 30th anniversary fundraising campaign. Created in 1986 by the San Francisco Chronicle with leadership from Haas, Jr. Fund co-founder Walter Haas, Jr. and former President Ira Hirschfield, Season of Sharing has raised more than $113 million to help Bay Area individuals and families in need.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocks the Obama administration’s plan to extend deportation relief to more immigrants beyond those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Despite the defeat, California continues to offer a model for pro-immigrant reforms.
The Haas, Jr. Fund joins with other funders to share lessons from an innovative partnership aimed at boosting civic engagement among immigrants and other underrepresented populations in California.
Longtime Haas, Jr. Fund partner U.C. Berkeley is a leader in higher education when it comes to creating an accessible and welcoming environment for diverse students. A wide-ranging report shares lessons from the Cal experience.
The Haas, Jr. Fund and other funders that supported the state-by-state strategy to win marriage equality share the untold, behind-the-scenes story of what happened. A case study and video from the participants in the Civil Marriage Collaborative offer lessons for other social justice causes.
The Supreme Court legalizes marriage equality—the result of hard work by movement organizations and millions of people who changed hearts and minds. The Fund has invested $39 million in this historic work since 2001.
The Power of a Good Idea follows the dramatic transformation of the San Francisco Unified School District in its bid to close achievement gaps by connecting PreK and elementary school education.
California continues to buck the national trend of stalemate on immigration issues as the movement secures important policy wins in Sacramento.
The Fund launches research into key fundraising challenges facing nonprofits. Over the next year it publishes two new reports, Beyond Fundraising and Fundraising Bright Spots, as well as a series of blog posts focused on “learning out loud” about fundraising challenges and solutions in the sector.
President Obama grants “administrative relief” to 5 million undocumented Americans, providing them an opportunity to obtain work permits and temporary relief from deportation. (In February 2015, a federal judge temporarily halts Obama’s executive action.)
The San Francisco Beacon Initiative marks its 20th anniversary as a groundbreaking, citywide effort to create safe, vibrant afterschool places for kids and families. Former Haas, Jr. Fund Vice President of Programs Sylvia Yee and other “Beacon Pioneers” describe the initiative’s impact in a short video.
The San Francisco Unified School District, with support from the Fund, engages a broad range of city residents to jointly craft and implement Vision 2025, a bold plan for strengthening the city’s schools and improving life chances for all students.
Given wide interest in the Fund’s leadership efforts, the Fund releases a five-year external evaluation of the Flexible Leadership Awards program.
As a result of efforts by Fund grantees including (add links) Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, The LGBT Project of the ACLU, the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, opening the door for gay married couples to secure equal rights under federal law.
California adopts the TRUST Act, limiting the ability of police to detain immigrants who pose no threat. New state laws also allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses; domestic workers to obtain overtime pay; and qualified undocumented immigrants to become licensed lawyers.
The Fund and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services publish a groundbreaking report, UnderDeveloped, that spurs sector-wide talk about how to create a “culture of philanthropy” in nonprofit organizations.
The Fund awards $1 million to UC Berkeley for scholarships for undocumented students—the single largest gift for scholarships of this type at a U.S. university.
The Fund partners with the Rockwood Leadership Institute to launch the Fellowship for a New California, a leadership development program to strengthen California’s immigrant rights movement and connect its leaders.
Along with the Carnegie, Knight, Grove and Open Society foundations, the Fund rolls out the New Americans Campaign, a national effort designed to boost citizenship among legal permanent residents.
A gift from Elise Haas, in honor of her father, supports the creation of the Robert D. Haas Dreamers Resource Center at UC Berkeley—a first-of-its-kind center that provides undocumented students at Cal with counseling, peer support and access to educational resources.
The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society celebrates its opening on the UC Berkeley campus. Led by john powell, with ongoing support from the Fund, the Institute brings together researchers, organizers, stakeholders, communicators and policymakers to “identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society.”
The Haas Jr. Fund becomes the first foundation to support Define American, a project started by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who is undocumented. The project expands a national conversation about immigration in the United States.
The Fund partners with the San Francisco Unified School District and others to try to close the achievement gaps and raise the quality of education for all children in the city’s public schools.
Longtime Fund grantees the Palm Center and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network play critical roles in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which outlawed gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The repeal marks a crucial gain in acceptance for gay people in American society.
The Fund provides $16 million to launch the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, which expands research on diversity; funds scholarships for low-income transfer students; and makes equity a priority across the Cal campus.
Fund leadership officially shifts from the founders to the second generation of the family. Now, Walter J. Haas serves as chair, Robert D. Haas as treasurer and Elizabeth Haas Eisenhardt as secretary.
Evelyn D. Haas passes away on Feb. 3rd. Her friend, F. Warren Hellman, says, “There will never be another Evie Haas. She possessed such diverse talents that gave her the courage to accomplish new and sometimes daunting challenges with grace and dignity. San Francisco has lost one of its finest citizens.”
The Fund organizes the first national convening of LGBT newspaper editors and bloggers in New York.
The Fund’s $15 million gift to The Presidio, a former military post in San Francisco, leads to a 24-mile pedestrian, hiking, and bicycle trail network and scenic overlooks; and the revitalization of the Rob Hill Campground, the only campground in the city.
As a leading philanthropic supporter of executive coaching, the Fund creates a series of short videos that provide firsthand accounts about the impact of coaching in the nonprofit sector.
One of the many passions that my parents shared was creating opportunities for people to enjoy great public spaces and to connect with nature... Rob Hill Campground is a tribute to the idea that every single one of us should have the opportunity to camp under the stars, enjoy a s'more cooked over the campfire, and wake up in the woods to the sounds of nature.Walter J. Haas, chair of the Haas, Jr. Fund at the opening ceremony for Rob Hill Campground
“The best idea we ever had,” writer and historian Wallace Stegner called our National Parks system. “Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” And just like America, the parks are forward-thinking, at once conservative and progressive, and, most importantly, open and belonging to all. They protect our natural beauty and preserve our culture and history.
In the end, the story of our National Parks is the story of America.
Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan explore this notion in the aptly-named film “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” supported with lead funding of $4 million to WETA from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The 12-hour documentary series was broadcast on PBS in 2009, and was even previewed at the White House following President Obama’s trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. Beginning with the birth of the National Parks in the mid-1800s, the film tells the stories of some of America’s most symbolic and beautiful sites, and the people that helped create and preserve them.
But the parks and their story have not always been shared equally. Yosemite park ranger Shelton Johnson, featured in the Ken Burn’s documentary, tells of the ongoing struggles to bring diversity to the National Parks. “Race is the core of this history, the heart of this history,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle in a 2009 article. “It’s bigger than just African Americans not visiting national parks. It’s a disassociation from the natural world.”
Race is the core of this history, the heart of this history. It’s bigger than just African Americans not visiting national parks. It’s a disassociation from the natural world.Park Ranger Shelton Johnson
And so the Haas, Jr. Fund focused its support for the documentary on bringing the film to traditionally underserved communities and catalyzing a national conversation about the diverse people who helped shape our National Parks. The Fund provided PBS with its largest-ever grant for public outreach campaign, an unprecedented effort to bring the film to diverse communities. The campaign included lesson plans for schools, translation of the series for Spanish-speaking audiences, and grants for National Park sites and local PBS stations to launch their own outreach efforts.
Grants from the Fund were also used to research the “Untold Stories” of people of color who have had a significant impact on the Parks. This research produced a book, several mini-documentaries profiling people of color involved in the parks, and a 45-minute film, “The National Parks: This Is America,” telling the story of the National Parks idea through a diverse cast of historical characters, up to the present state of diversity in the parks.
The Haas, Jr. Fund believes all people should have the opportunity to experience the transformative power of nature, learn about the Parks’ rich history, and become future stewards of these sites. Closer to home, the Fund has made local investments supporting National Park sites in the San Francisco Bay Area at Crissy Field and the Presidio.
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” was awarded the 2010 Emmy for outstanding Nonfiction Series. In addition, Co-Producer Dayton Duncan received the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming.
The Fund makes its first grant to support marriage equality in its home state of California. The grant supports Let California Ring, the largest-ever public education effort on the issue.
To combat the movement’s lack of diversity, the Fund helps launch the 21st Century Fellows Program, which provides leadership support to people-of-color managers at LGBT rights organizations.
The Fund completes a strategic planning process, sharpening its focus in Gay and Lesbian Rights, Immigrant Rights and Integration and Nonprofit Leadership. It also adds a new program: Education Equity.
The San Francisco Chronicle interviews the Haas family about their approach to philanthropy and their commitment to transforming lives in the Bay Area.
The Fund steps up its support for organizations working to change hearts and minds on gay equality among people of faith, with a plan to invest up to $6 million in these organizations for the next three years.
The Haas, Jr. Fund helps create the State Equality Fund, which supports non-lobbying educational work to promote full equality for gays and lesbians, including safer schools, nondiscrimination protections and civil unions.
The Fund joins NEO Philanthropy’s Four Freedoms Fund, a national collaborative of funders working to integrate immigrants into our democracy.
The Fund makes a $15 million challenge grant to help construct UC Berkeley’s Student Athlete High Performance Center, a state-of-the art facility that houses both sports training equipment and academic resources for student athletes.
Anti-marriage measures pass in 11 states by huge margins. Funders and movement leaders begin collaborating to plot a course for changing hearts and minds and for winning marriage equality in a critical number of states.
The Fund introduces the Flexible Leadership Awards to help nonprofits and their leaders become even more effective. The program, which launches the following year, provides long-term leadership support to selected Fund grantees.
The Fund becomes a founding partner in the Civil Marriage Collaborative, which aligns the grantmaking of leading funders who support marriage equality.
Following Massachusetts’ decision to allow same-sex marriages in that state, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom opens up City Hall for same-sex couples to marry. The television images go global and stir a national conversation about marriage.
The Fund invests in direct services for immigrants, litigation, organizing and advocacy at the state and national levels.
In 2003 the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund celebrated 50 years of grantmaking. We marked the occasion by honoring our grantees’ incredible work and awarding $5 million in unrestricted support grants to more than 110 nonprofits—half working on our key missions, and half providing critical help to the most needy in our community here in California.
We gave these grants as an expression of our respect for the strong leadership, determination and incredible talent of the staff and boards that power these worthy organizations. It’s been an honor being a part of the incredible work they do.
The Fund launches its Immigrant Rights program, part of the Haas family’s longtime tradition of helping immigrants—highlighted by Walter A. Haas, Jr.’s efforts to assist San Francisco Latinos employed at Levi’s.
The Fund moves beyond local issues and supports state and national causes that reflect Bay Area concerns. The first step: establishing Freedom to Marry to catalyze the national marriage equality movement.
With years of planning and community support, Crissy Field officially opens with a spectacular celebration in San Francisco. The stunning national park attracts more than a million visitors a year.
The Fund officially launches the Gay and Lesbian Rights program, issuing 29 grants in areas such as housing, anti-violence, school safety and HIV.
Fund directors approve a new grantmaking program for nonprofit leadership development.
The Fund launches Coaching Corps (formerly Team-Up for You), which trains volunteer coaches for after-school sports programs in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. The nonprofit group eventually serves more than 50,000 children in California.
The Fund approves a Critical Assistance program, providing grants to Bay Area food banks, emergency shelters and other safety-net services.
The Fund’s Critical Assistance grants help support organizations in the Bay Area that provide emergency food and shelter to those in need. These organizations and programs help thousands of families get through difficult times that could happen to any of us. The Fund has provided nearly $18 million in Critical Assistance grants to support these efforts.
Long-time grantees like the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the San Francisco and Marin Food Bank, who have been our partners for more than a quarter of a century, help fight hunger by distributing food to families and individuals in need. Organizations such as Raphael House, a family shelter in the Tenderloin, help children and their families move from homelessness to stability. Project Open Hand runs food pantries and delivers meals and groceries to people living with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses. These organizations work, with love and respect, to help lift people out of crises.
The Fund helps the San Francisco Symphony expand its national profile and make classical music accessible to more people, including kids. The centerpiece of the effort is Keeping Score, a multimedia project built around a nationally televised PBS series.
Fund directors approve a new priority: Promoting Diversity and Inclusiveness. This work leads to a focus on immigrant rights and gay and lesbian equality.
The San Francisco Museum of Art establishes the Evelyn D. Haas Exhibition Fund, which supports the museum to present major exhibitions with broad public appeal.
The Fund grants $18 million for the restoration of Crissy Field ($13.5 million from the Fund and $4.5 from Colleen and Robert Haas). At the time, this is the largest cash gift in the history of the National Park Service.
President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts federal marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples, denying gay couples thousands of rights and protections that come with marriage.
Walter A. Haas, Jr., passes away on Sept. 20th. Fund President Ira Hirschfield remarks in his eulogy, “This is a man who never forgot, not even for a day, how blessed he was, and how difficult life is for so many.”
The idea behind the centers is simple: transforming public schools into safe spaces where children and parents can participate in enriching and healthy activities, while finding critical services and support to help them succeed. Housed in public school facilities, each Beacon Center draws on the resources of a citywide public/private collaboration to offer activities and services tailored for the students and families it serves. Open throughout the school day and beyond, these centers reach thousands of young people and their families each year.
The Haas, Jr. Fund helped found the Beacon Initiative in 1994, and since then has made grants totaling $4.2 million to help expand programming and ensure long-term impact. The Fund continues to work closely with the City’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, the San Francisco Unified School District and other private funders to provide leadership for the initiative, with the goal of expanding opportunity and prosperity in San Francisco’s neighborhoods.
In early 2018, the City of San Francisco announced that it was tripling City funding for the Beacon Initiative over a five-year period. Thanks to the City’s investments, the network of Beacon Community Schools will grow from nine to 27, serving nearly 15,000 students. The City’s investment will help ensure that Beacon centers will continue to serve children and communities for many years to come.
The Fund makes a lead gift of $11 million to help rebuild UC Berkeley’s sports facility for student athletes. The Walter A. Haas, Jr. Pavilion affirms the university’s commitment to both academic and athletic excellence.
The Fund adopts Children, Youth and Families as a program priority. The focus: supporting efforts to help young people and their families in California to escape poverty and succeed. Fund grants go to afterschool programming, youth development and family support.
The Fund adopts four priorities for grantmaking: Children, Youth, Families and the Elderly; Strengthening Neighborhoods; Reducing Hunger and Homelessness; and Encouraging Volunteer Service and Philanthropy.
The Fund pledges $6 million for the construction of the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art building.
To support residents facing one-time emergencies, Fund leaders Walter A. Haas, Jr., and Ira S. Hirschfield work with the San Francisco Chronicle to create the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund (SoS). SoS becomes a Bay Area institution, and by 2015, its annual fundraising hits $8 million.
The Fund makes a grant to support planning for the restoration of Crissy Field, a former military base in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, and its transformation into a 100-acre urban national park.
The Fund expands its grantmaking to support the elderly, youth, immigrants, equal opportunity, corporate social responsibility, and community initiatives such as hospitals.
The great grand-nephew of Levi Strauss, Walter A. Haas, Jr., helms Levi’s and continues the family tradition of moral leadership, integrating Levi’s sewing factories in the segregated South. Asked about his family’s penchant for giving, he says, “It’s in the genes.”
Walter A. Haas, Jr. and Evelyn D. Haas create a family foundation that serves under-resourced communities, educational institutions, and cultural organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.