Something about the holidays makes us remember just how vital sharing is. For a few chilly weeks each year, we pause to elevate the generosity of the human spirit.
Kicking off its campaign every Thanksgiving, the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund (SoS) embodies our community's generosity. Created in 1986 by the San Francisco Chronicle with leadership from Haas, Jr. Fund co-founder the late Walter Haas, Jr. and president emeritus Ira Hirschfield, SoS has distributed more than $120 million to Bay Area families in need.
Providing Critical Support for Those in Need
For working poor families who make ends meet one paycheck at a time, an illness or layoff can mean the difference between stability and living on the streets. Every year, Season of Sharing provides one-time critical assistance to more than 4,500 individuals and families in crisis. These gifts cover basic needs such as moving costs, rent, transportation to work, and food, through grants paid directly to suppliers, such as landlords. By providing for these everyday necessities, SoS seeks to give strained families the financial breathing room they need to get back on their feet.
The money for these grants comes from the kindness and generosity of thousands of donors around the Bay Area, who every holiday season rally to give millions to help their neighbors in need. Overhead fees for Season of Sharing are covered by the Haas, Jr. Fund and the San Francisco Chronicle, so that every penny raised can go directly to grants that make struggling families—and our community—stronger, and more stable.
A Legacy of Caring and Kindness
The Haas, Jr. Fund has a long-standing commitment to SoS, starting with the leadership of our founders and directors. In 1986 Walter A. Haas, Jr. began a personal letter-writing campaign to friends and associates on behalf of SoS. He continued every year until his death in 1995. The late Evelyn D. Haas carried on that tradition and in 2008 was joined by her children, Fund directors Betsy Haas Eisenhardt, Robert D. Haas, and Walter J. Haas. The family remains tireless advocates of the fundraising drive, making yearly personal appeals for donations and continuing the Haas, Jr. Fund’s support through more than $8.5 million in grants from 1987 to 2018.