Pamela H. David
Executive Director's Message
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Thank you for taking the time to review the Walter & Elise Haas Fund's 2011 Annual Report. Looking back at the past year, I am heartened to see two primary themes distinguishable in the Fund's actions: holding strong in the face of economic uncertainty and intentionally investing in non-profit capacity building.
As our board president's letter underscores, the trustees and staff take seriously our responsibility to be a stabilizing community force in periods of great uncertainty. As a foundation, we are only required to pay out 5% of our endowment each year. However, the Fund has intentionally exceeded that amount in response to the severe and prolonged economic downturn, maintaining a steady grants budget.
In addition, trustees continued in 2011 a $1 million allocation for critical safety net services (primarily those providing food and shelter to high need populations). While the Fund's intent is to sunset this initiative when conditions improve, we recognize that safety net organizations are still being hit hard by increased demand and shrinking public funding.
We also expanded our investment in a range of capacity building endeavors for our grantees and key community institutions. Helping with executive leadership development and transition, building strong second-line leadership, and strengthening boards of directors are just some of the ways in which the Walter & Elise Haas Fund supported grantees in 2011. We also continued to provide flexibility to grantees facing unexpected shifts in their work plans or budgets.
We recognize that the hard times are not over, and that, at the end of the day, the social contract terrain may have permanently shifted. Also, we know that the nonprofit sector, while heavily impacted by current and future shifts in public funding, plays an absolutely integral role in civic life. We hope to continue to bolster the important work those in the non-profit sector do to build and sustain our communities. It is an honor to be part of that essential work.
All the best,
Pamela H. David