Pamela H. David
Executive Director's Message
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
The financial health of the country has waxed and waned since the Walter & Elise Haas Sr. Fund issued its first grants back in 1952. Throughout these fluctuations the founders and their descendents have remained consistent in their commitment to community, providing stable stewardship in times of need and times of plenty. I am pleased to report that the W&EHF has provided over $234 million in philanthropic resources since its inception.
At the same time, the Fund's board and staff are sobered by the fact that 2009 was a difficult year for our community. Many of our community partners suffered on multiple levels, facing cutbacks from both private and public funders, individuals, and institutions, while demand for services increased. At the same time, similar to other philanthropic institutions, we experienced a precipitous decline in the value of our endowment. However, in light of the level of community need, the trustees agreed to allocate over $12 million to grants in FY2009, compared to $12.85 million in 2008. This was only a 6% reduction in the grantmaking budget in spite of the fact that the Fund's endowment at the beginning of 2009 had decreased by nearly 34% from the prior year.
In addition to maintaining stability in our grantmaking levels, the Fund launched a Safety Net Initiative at the end of 2008, allocating $1 million towards this effort in 2009. This new element within the Fund's larger giving strategy provided essential services for people most in need. The vast majority of grants made through the Safety Net Initiative in 2009 went directly to critical organizations providing food, shelter, and crisis response services; over $200,000 of the grants were made in coordination through the Jewish Community Federation. The remaining grants were directed towards public policy, planning, and coordination in order to assist organizations and local governments respond to the rapidly changing economic environment.
As I look back on 2009 in this Annual Report, I take great pride in the Fund having provided both financial and human resources to so many important and effective nonprofit organizations. At the same time, I know that the years ahead will not be easy. However, I am heartened by serving such a committed, intelligent, and compassionate board of trustees, and having the honor of working with such dedicated and talented staff.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Walter & Elise Haas Sr. Fund's 2009 Annual Report. On behalf of the board and the staff, I look forward to our future work with you building a healthy, just, and vibrant society.
All the best,
Pamela H. David