Dear Friends and Colleagues:
As our board president eloquently pointed out in her letter prefacing this annual report, in 2012 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. This year also represented my 10th anniversary at the Foundation, a milestone in this age of transitory employment.
These anniversaries prompt a bit of reflection. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done here. The trustees, representing three branches of the family and the third and fourth generation of the founders, have provided thoughtful and principled leadership. Also, I am honored to work with wonderfully smart colleagues who understand deeply the values that guide this foundation. While we are far from perfect, we do our best to “walk the talk” of foundation accountability, responsible partnership, and civic leadership. At its most basic, we strive to do truly meaningful work for our communities, finding thoughtful, effective, and innovative ways to support organizations and facilitate change in each of our areas of focus.
It is gratifying to know that so many of our grantees share our values. Our second Grantee Perception Report, conducted in 2012 by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, confirmed that grantees continue to highly value our thoughtfulness, responsiveness, expertise, and our deep understanding of their work. Grantees also have told us they see us as significant contributors to advancing their efforts and their fields, supporting innovation and providing consistency throughout tumultuous times.
But we cannot rest on our laurels. Increasingly demanding times require us to be ever more thoughtful in deploying both our human and financial resources in support of building a healthy and vibrant community. From meeting urgent food and housing needs, to advancing a tax policy agenda that benefits working families, to ensuring access to the rich cultural traditions of immigrant communities, to increasing educational equity and success for all, to helping build a diverse Jewish community, our evolving body of work encompasses and reflects the realities and complexity of our region.
While not the largest foundation in town, we have provided important stewardship across a host of issues, from disaster preparedness to asset development, from supporting access to the arts to helping our school districts adopt new standards for teaching and learning. Our effectiveness, in part, is due to the mutually respectful relationships we have forged with our colleagues in government, community, and philanthropy. An enduring commitment to civic life and leadership has been the hallmark of this foundation since its establishment 60 years ago, following in Walter and Elise Haas’s own footsteps.