Dear Friends and Colleagues:
In 2012, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund marked its 60th year of existence. The current trustees are honored to continue the philanthropic vision and commitment of our grandparents—or for some of us our great grandparents. Three Executive Directors have provided strong leadership over the years, and this year we celebrated Pam David’s tenth year in that role.
When Pam came to the Fund in 2002, we were undergoing one of the natural generational shifts that occur in family foundations (I was still a “trustee in training” then). Moving forward with a new executive director created a wonderful opportunity for dialog about how the Fund could stay current, relevant, and impactful in its program areas while continuing the legacy of Walter and Elise Haas. Values such as individual responsibility, civic leadership, wise stewardship of resources, and active partnerships with the most effective community organizations rose to the top. These values continue to provide a framework for the Fund’s work today.
What is striking to me is how well we have integrated Walter and Elise Haas’s vision and values into the daily work of the Foundation. We hold a deep respect for the people and organizations with whom we partner. We understand how hard the work on the ground is, and strive to offer both intellectual and financial capital to amplify and strengthen that work. Our staff brings tremendous experience, intelligence, and knowledge to bear, but they never forget how much there is to learn from grantee leaders.
It is also important to the trustees that the Fund remains current. We have relied upon the perspectives of our strong staff to lead us in this regard, ensuring we continue to address community needs.
Our second Grantee Performance Report, which the Fund commissioned from the national Center for Effective Philanthropy, validated my positive opinions of our fantastic program staff. This research document interviewed our grantees regarding our effectiveness and impact. The report’s respondents considered the Haas Sr. Fund program staff to be “consistently professional, helpful, and deeply committed.”
It is our program staff that carries the energies and the values of the Fund into the community. We rely on our staff’s integrity and expertise as wise and thoughtful community partners in order to do our work as trustees and stewards of Walter and Elise Haas’s legacy. I am deeply appreciative of Pam’s leadership of our wonderful staff.
I am confident that future milestones will find the Walter & Elise Haas Fund similarly committed and true to the vision of its founders.
Jennifer C. Haas
President, Board of Trustees