2016 Annual Report

A Message from Leadership

October 17, 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we write this introduction to our 2016 Annual Report, we see the world changing around us. Certainly, the election buzz throughout last year impacted many of our grantees and our own staff and board, but we did not anticipate the seismic shifts that came post-November. While this Annual Report addresses our 2016 grantmaking and finances, things have changed — so disturbingly and across so many fronts — that it would be unreasonable for us to write now about 2016 without some acknowledgment of those shifts.

Traumatic upheaval has forced us and our peers in philanthropy to take stock of the current political landscape and our role in providing stability through it. From an independent press to the importance of science and facts; from the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty to hard-won civil rights, we have recently had to rejoin fights we thought were in our past and steel ourselves for a challenging future.

Yet this perspective only heightens the value of the work our grantees accomplished in 2016.

Our grantees’ work has never been easy, but in 2016 and beyond we have been fortunate to be part of a community — of foundations, nonprofit organizations, and people — who are resilient, smart, creative, and adaptive. We will continue to step up and do what is required, as daunting as our tasks may be.

Last year, we were again reminded of the value of our responsiveness, particularly when it’s paired with a longstanding commitment to addressing large, seemingly intractable problems. For example, our Economic Security program helped launch a cross-sector conversation about how low-wage workers are impacted by the so-called gig economy. That inquiry is turning into action this year — with multiple funders, practitioners, and policy makers at the table — all working together to ensure programs and benefits cover both new and traditional gig workers, from Lyft drivers to domestic workers.

HopeSF, San Francisco’s 20-year initiative to rebuild public housing communities, hit a significant milestone in 2016 when the last residents of Bayview’s Hunters View public housing project moved across the street into new buildings. The challenges, however, continue. We need to rebuild that community’s fabric and improve residents’ access to opportunity with the same resolve with which we have rebuilt their housing.

The Fund’s Education program began a concerted effort in 2016, committing to improve how we train, support, and retain the teachers upon whom public school students rely. Reversing the teacher shortage in our schools and revitalizing our school systems’ deteriorating ability to provide challenged children with the education they need and deserve will take perseverance to address — but this is the task we have set for ourselves.

Similarly, the artistic community found itself fighting for survival in 2016. In addition to continuing our ongoing support for arts education and access, our Arts program began working with many partners to address issues of affordable space. In Jewish Life, our program continues to build bridges between faith communities, asking hard questions now because it is interconnectivity and our shared humanity that is required to build a better future. The events of and since 2016 underscore the need for our continued investment in interfaith understanding and organizing.

On an intimate level, we also take note of the loss of our beloved board president, William S. Goldman — who had just begun his leadership term at the end of 2016.  He died, as did his 6-year-old daughter, in a tragic accident in July 2017. Bill was more than our colleague, family member, and friend. He was a man whose compassion and intelligence helped us to come together in the ways that sustain. To call his death a loss does not even begin to encompass the truth. We are truly diminished.

The world may have dramatically changed around us, but we know it will change again, and again, and again. The Walter & Elise Haas Fund is committed to being here for the long run. We will keep asking the hard questions and seeking opportunities and answers in collaboration with all of you, through times of stability and times of chaos. Regardless of the political climate, our goal remains the same: to ensure access and opportunity, building a more equitable future for us all.


Pamela H. David
Executive Director

Peter E. Haas, Jr.
Board President

In Memorium

Bill Goldman

On Thursday, July 13th, 2017, William S. Goldman died in a tragic accident. Shortly after, his daughter, Marie, died from injuries suffered at the same time. We remember both with love and affection. The memory of the righteous is a blessing.

On January 20, 2017, the day our current president was inaugurated, Bill Goldman wrote:

“Now is our moment, to demonstrate the courage of our convictions, to push back constantly against the waves of darkness, to prove over and over that the world is better than this. It will not be fun. It will not be easy. But it will be done. Let us escape from our complacent lives, let us overcome our fear and terror. Let us give our lives a lasting meaning beyond what we believed possible.”

Bill’s too-short life has left us with lasting meaning. In his every endeavor — as a university professor, our foundation’s president, a New Israel Fund board member, and as a friend, colleague, father, husband, brother, and son — Bill made an enduring impact. His intellectual curiosity, intelligence, and discipline paired effortlessly with his empathy, wit, and humor.

As we remember and mourn Bill, we celebrate what he exemplified and encouraged. We remember him as a worthy heir to our founders, Bill’s great-grandparents, Walter and Elise Haas. Bill understood his responsibility as a citizen of the world, as a defender of democracy, as a steward of his great family’s philanthropic traditions, as a teacher, and as a leader.

While we only had him by our side for such a short time, his legacy will stay with us forever. In his memory, we recommit to the spirit of generosity and community that Bill exemplified. Bill’s work, his passion, and his love will continue to inspire us. Our hearts go out to his and Marie’s family, and to the community which he affected and loved so deeply.

Program Areas

The Arts

Economic Security


Jewish Life

Safety Net


Grants By Program Area

Grants By Program Area

Change in Net Assets

Change in Net Assets

Financial Position

Financial Position

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