2017 Annual Report

Letter from the Board President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

2017 has been a year of profound transition. On top of the dramatic turn of events in American politics, which continue to reverberate across the diverse Bay Area communities in which the Fund works, we experienced change on a strikingly more personal level at the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

William S. Goldman — Bill — our friend, family member, and board president, died in a tragic accident. It is hard to adequately encapsulate all that Bill was and how much he contributed in his far-too-short life. Bill warmly accepted his responsibility to speak for those who lacked a voice and stood as an example of what it means to be a teacher, a mentor, and an inheritor of the ideals of Walter & Elise Haas. He brought wisdom, curiosity, empathy, and joy with him, in all situations.

At the time of this writing, it has been just over a year since Bill passed. It is a testament to the impact he has had on the board, staff, and family that his loss still weighs so heavily on our hearts and minds. We will forever be grateful to have known him and to have lived beside him.

As we mourned Bill’s passing, we also were amidst another transition. Even though we had long planned for Pam David’s departure as Executive Director, this was only the second Executive Director change the Fund has had to navigate. Finding someone able to complement Pam’s significant strengths was not easy. As a cross-sector collaborative partner, inspired community leader, and as a woman of integrity, strength, and wisdom, Pam’s shoes were not easy to fill.

We were both lucky and grateful to have had the input of the Fund’s staff and Pam David herself in finding someone well-suited to carry the Fund’s legacy forward. While there were many exceptional candidates, Jamie Allison arrived as bright as a lightning strike.

We have every confidence in her to lead us through the transitions before us as well as the ones to come. Change can be traumatic, but when we come together, it can also be a source of inspiration.

In terms of those less inspiring transitions still affecting the country and our Bay Area grantees, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund stepped forward. The Fund has always stood up for inclusion, access, and opportunity for all. Those basics were under tangible threat in 2017 and continue to require our full commitment.

As changes in immigration and other wide-reaching policies came into effect, the Fund reached out to our grantees, offering them flexibility in applying for funds to respond to immediate need. We made clear our unwavering commitment to our ideals and offered stability where it was needed most. The Fund represents a through-line of philanthropic values that are inextricably tied to the Bay Area and — regardless of personal, political, or professional changes — we will look forward with optimism and collaborative strength. We will keep working towards a healthy, just, and vibrant society in which people feel connected to and responsible for their community.

In memory of Bill, in respect for Pam, in honor of Walter and Elise, and in anticipation of all Jamie, the staff, the board, and the community will achieve in the years to come, we wish you well.

Peter E. Haas, Jr.
Board President

Letter from the Executive Director


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I was offered the thrilling opportunity to step into the role of Executive Director of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund in late 2017.

Since moving to the Bay Area from Tennessee in 2001, I’ve been invested in contributing to my new home as a nonprofit professional, volunteer, and engaged resident. To this end, the work and legacy of the Fund has inspired me philosophically and literally. Its generosity and commitment to the Bay Area have benefitted me as well, both generally and specifically. From its support of community-based performing arts to its early funding for the Center for Cities & Schools — where I was in the first cohort of UC Berkeley graduate students researching how schools and government systems can better work together — I have experienced first-hand what it means for a philanthropic institution, like the Fund, to enhance lives.

Now, as Executive Director, it is my welcome responsibility to carry that generosity forward. As a first step, I have been immersing myself in the legacy and ethos of the Fund so that our founding values remain an anchor, even in these transitional times. For while the world may be in a period of dramatic change, the founding values that motivate the Fund’s work remain our guide. Here, we all commit to collaboration, community, common cause, and creating opportunity for all.

We continue to play an important role in preserving and extending the Bay Area’s unique strengths by contributing to a vibrant arts scene and stabilizing the affordability of physical spaces so artists remain a welcome part of Bay Area life. We strengthen workforce systems so those in need receive the support that leads to earning a living wage. We invest in wide-reaching systems to train the teachers on whom our children depend and we bring the values of Jewish culture to our social justice collaborations. As disparity continues to grow, our commitment to vital safety net organizations remains steady.

This is why the Fund is here, and why I’m here. I’ve been honored with the best job in the history of jobs. Its substantial responsibilities are a gift.

Every day as I walk to work, crisscrossing different neighborhoods, I become increasingly clear on what it means to be part of San Francisco, with all its assets and challenges. Each day I work with the exceptional staff and board of the Fund, connect with the organizations with which we collaborate and to which we offer support, and I look up in awe.

We are living through a time of transition, together.

I could not be more excited or proud to be working alongside all of you.

Jamie Allison
Executive Director


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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