In addition to its four program areas (Arts, Economic Security, Jewish Life, and Education), the Fund is also engaged in Legacy and Mission-related Special Grantmaking. Legacy grantmaking encompasses several programs, each of which has a direct relationship to the Fund’s founders, Walter and Elise Haas. Mission-related Special Grantmaking provides the Fund flexibility to respond to emerging and changing community needs, and to address key areas of interest that cut across or otherwise support the Fund’s overall mission and categorical programs. Please note that, with one exception (San Francisco Parks), unsolicited letters of inquiry and proposals are not accepted in this program area.
- San Francisco Parks: A small percentage of the Fund’s grantmaking budget will be allocated to exceptional community engagement initiatives that support and improve San Francisco’s parks and open space because of Walter and Elise Haas’s strong interest in this area (letters of inquiry are accepted);
- Annual Grants: A limited number of grants will be provided to organizations supported by Walter and/or Elise Haas during their lifetimes;
- Jewish Community Federation: In recognition of Walter Haas’s leadership of, and commitment to, the Federation as an umbrella source of support for the Jewish community, the Fund makes a significant contribution to the Federation’s annual campaign. This leadership gift complements the Fund’s own Jewish Life program.
- Descendent Grants: In recognition of Walter and Elise Haas’s belief in engaging future generations in philanthropy, a small percentage of the Fund’s grantmaking is reserved for descendent-initiated grants.
- End-of-year Grants: Carrying on a family tradition, the Fund makes a number of small grants to organizations that serve very low-income families and individuals; most of these grants are designed to address some of the special needs that arise during the holiday season.
Mission-Related Special Grantmaking:
In keeping with our mission and values, the Fund will continue to be an active participant in both our geographic community, and in the philanthropic and nonprofit communities. Most of our active engagement will fall within one or more of the Fund’s primary program areas. We recognize, though, that there may be a relatively small number of special projects—consistent with the Fund’s mission, values, and overall strategy—in which we will choose to participate. Such projects, for example, might involve advancing the effectiveness and accountability of philanthropy, or be in response to extraordinary opportunities or crises facing critical community institutions and organizations.
A current example is the Fund’s Safety Net Initiative. Responding to the dire economic conditions of the day, Walter & Elise Haas Fund trustees have recently set aside grant funds to support key organizations providing safety net services for people most in need. The Fund is pursuing a two-pronged approach with these resources: The lion’s share of funds will go to critical service agencies, while a few targeted planning and coordination grants will be made to help groups respond to the rapidly changing environment. Service priorities include food and shelter programs, as well as crisis services related to mental health and domestic violence. Given the enormity of the needs and finite resources, application to this funding pool is by invitation only.
Mission-related Special Grants are initiated by Staff and Board; letters of inquiry and proposals are not accepted.