Author Archives: The Walter & Elise Haas Fund

  1. Gen Z Is the New Beginning

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    W&EHF BAY Fellows and Skillman Foundation President’s Youth Council members at the Grantmakers for Education Conference in Atlanta, GA in October 2023


    Our future is a multiracial democracy, where demographers project that by 2048 a majority of Americans will be people of color. This future is driven not by an influx of immigrants but young people of color. In fact, as sociologist Dr. Manuel Pastor points out, our country is living with a racial generation gap, with a 14-year gap between the median age of whites and of Latinx peoples, and “an older generation looking at a younger generation and not seeing itself and not making the investments that are necessary for that younger generation to thrive.”

    The younger generation — Gen Z — isn’t waiting to make our collective future better for us all. Four leaders, ages 19 to 22, working at the Skillman Foundation in Detroit and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund (W&EHF) in the San Francisco Bay Area, presented a Funders Lab, “Get Ready for Gen Z: Foundations Driven by Youth” at the Grantmakers for Education Conference, and laid out learning and action steps for philanthropy to center youth. Veronica, Shamere, Quirina, and Jeremiah have together designed, implemented, and decided $700,000 in grant dollars for the community, along with 16 of their peers at both foundations as part of the Skillman Foundation President’s Youth Council and the W&EHF BAY Fellows, respectively.

    Here are excerpts from that Funders Lab, and a larger call to action for adults working in philanthropy:

    Move from adults using youth…

    “Adults describe youth as either at risk or exceptional. You bring us out to get funding then send us to the back room to eat pizza.”

    “Youth don’t like being used. We will get tired of speaking if you don’t listen. We do this work because we have a personal stake in making our communities better.”

    “Language matters. Don’t call us kids. Don’t denigrate the people we serve. Let young people control the narrative.”

    “Don’t make assumptions about us. Listen to us.”

    …to how we can learn together…

    “Don’t expect perfection. We’re all learning here.”

    “There’s a deep generational divide that we should be working towards closing.”

    “It’s going to be messy. But the messiness is the good part. That’s where the learning and growth happens for youth and adults.”

    …about money and grantmaking…

    “For our generation there’s either no relationship with money or a bad relationship.”

    “Those closest to the problems are usually furthest from resources, especially young people. The roles we play in foundations is changing that.”

    “Young people submitting nominations [for organizations to receive Possibility Grants] and young people making the decision [of who receives grants] is a win for everyone.”

    …shifting power…

    “There are not enough young people [here] at the conference. Why aren’t young people in spaces where you’re discussing the future and education issues that directly impact youth?”

    “We are leaders already. Tell us we belong and that we already have it in us to lead.”

    “[We should have] more youth decision makers. Give us a seat at the table and decision making power …”

    “… but also, you can’t invite me to a table I already own. We are the rising demographic in this country.”

    …and what you can do *now*

    “The way institutional philanthropy works limits youth organizers. There’s too much emphasis on quantitative metrics. Focus on our dreams and aspirations. Invest in our dreams and aspirations.”

    “Don’t be scared. Let go of things you created without us. Those things aren’t working for us.”

    “Don’t forget to pay us. We deserve and need to get paid. We live in a capitalist society. We can’t live for free.”

    “Create access! And not just for exceptional young people. Not just for loud young people. Find us and give us access.”

    “Gen Z is the new beginning.”

    More about the writers

    Veronica Cañas is an Oakland-raised activist who is passionate about building safe and healing spaces for BIPOC and queer people, and is focused now on reimagining philanthropy spaces to provide true support for communities.

    Shamere Duncan is a youth advocate from the city of Detroit, founder of Black Initiative 313, and student at Wayne State University. She works to enhance communities and create racial equity through volunteerism, social media, and social engagement.

    Quirina Gutierrez is a first-gen Zapoteca invested in healing for the community, who currently organizes for college affordability and access. Quirina is currently a student at San Francisco State University.

    Jeremiah Steen is the first youth trustee for the Skillman Foundation. His goal through his organizational leadership is to create opportunities to ensure communities receive the resources they need.

  2. We Need to Talk about Nonprofit
    Job Quality More

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    Photo by Ted Soqui.


     “When I was a nonprofit Executive Director in San Francisco in 2017 I made $80,000. Raising my salary wasn’t a priority for me; it would mean more fundraising and funds were better spent elsewhere. But that also meant I wasn’t prioritizing others’ salaries. Two brilliant staff, a BIPOC woman and gender-expansive folk who I hoped would eventually lead the organization were facing a promotion without appropriate compensation. What’s more, those staff had been participants in our programs years before. They embodied leadership with lived experience. I was not only wronging those staff, but our mission, as we were funneling our youth into a trap: mission-driven values-aligned work that would not pay their bills and allow financial autonomy in adulthood.” — Pui Ling Tam

    The nonprofit starvation cycle threatens organizational sustainability and indirectly constrains the sector’s impact. But it also hurts the very people who make nonprofits run.

    Too many nonprofit jobs lack family-sustaining wages, necessary benefits, worker protections, and advancement opportunities. Instead of enabling economic security, for many, a nonprofit job means sacrificing personal economic security and, in some cases, physical and mental well-being.

    This is self-defeating for philanthropy. As a sector we endorse greater support for other essential occupations like healthcare workers and teachers, yet we are silent when it comes to nonprofit workers. We need to start talking. No matter your philanthropic strategy — from economic justice to climate change to the arts — your work depends on the well-being of nonprofit workers.

    Here’s why it matters:

    It’s about racial and gender equity

    In the Bay Area alone, the nonprofit sector employs close to 800,000 workers, who are predominantly people of color. In San Francisco, 75% of nonprofit workers are people of color and low-wage nonprofit workers are disproportionately Black or African-American. Nonprofit jobs remain some of the most accessible to people of color; yet unlike public sector jobs with strong unionization, nonprofit jobs do not provide a path to economic mobility. To the contrary, under-compensation of nonprofit jobs perpetuates racial and gender inequity.

    The nonprofit sector needs to recruit and retain talent

    Nonprofits take on monumental tasks, like repairing centuries of harms inflicted on people of color, women, and gender expansive people. This work is deeply personal, often relying on individual workers’ hard-earned wisdom gained from decades of experience. It is also hard, under-resourced, and surprisingly thankless. At the same time, organizing wins are driving job quality improvements in other sectors, threatening to widen the gap between private sector and nonprofit employment. This forces brilliant young people and nonprofit professionals alike to choose jobs that pay a living wage over working for social good. With turnover in nonprofits almost double that of other sectors and leaders reporting an acute shortage of talent, this limits organizational capacity and nonprofit (and thus philanthropic) impact. If we want the best and brightest in our communities to join or stay in the nonprofit sector, we must stop expecting people to either have generational wealth that can subsidize their nonprofit career, or that the (often, but not always) rewarding nature of nonprofit work justifies struggling to make ends meet.

    The massive sector needs to focus on quality jobs

    For some workforce development funders, quality jobs are the name of the game. As foundations, we fund a long list of tools that tend to focus on job access in key sectors. But that work seldom focuses on nonprofits, despite the fact that the sector is the country’s third largest and contributes $1.5 trillion to the economy.

    Conversations and early pilots to increase job quality are underway, but progress is not linear. Wage compression, or the decrease in the difference between higher salaries and lower salaries, can leave more senior staff feeling undercompensated. In addition, when one philanthropic funder or stream of government funding raises wages, it can lead to the same role having two different salaries based on funding source alone, eroding equity across the organization.

    How we’re moving from words to action

    These are real challenges, but addressing big problems is what this sector does. Here’s some initial steps we’re taking to address them with real action in support of nonprofit well-being:

    • At Irvine, in Better Careers’ updated strategy, our support of direct-service organizations focuses on those who are led-by and accountable to the communities they serve and who use workforce development as a tool for repair. We are beginning a year-long listening process to understand from leaders and staff what we can do to support better quality jobs. We fully expect that this means our grants will have to be larger and that we will have to choose fewer grantees and potentially serve fewer people in the near-term as a result. We believe the tradeoff is worth it.
    • At ReWork the Bay, a community-led funder collaborative, our funder partners learn from community-centered, participatory grantmaking practices through our ReWork Philanthropy initiative. ReWork the Bay is also partnering with Irvine on a participatory research and capacity building effort to advance philanthropy’s understanding of the needs of client-facing nonprofit staff related to job quality and professional development, and identify and share practical strategies to better address those needs.
    • At the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, we launched the Endeavor Fund, a commitment of seven years-long general operating grants of $3.5 million each to seven organizations. We were transparent with potential grantees that we cared about two things: how they are closing the racial and gender wealth gap, and how they support and increase nonprofit well-being. We understand that it’s our job to amplify what the seven nonprofits are learning, trying, and building, from the mistakes to the possibilities, so that others — other organizations and other funders — can learn and act alongside us.

    And we’re standing on the shoulders of tremendous work of nonprofit leaders. Fund the People and All Due Respect have been part of leading the charge around this work, and we’re pleased to be partnering with them in 2024 to host a convening on this topic. We will bring together funders, nonprofits, supporting organizations, and government leaders to share experiences and think through balanced approaches to progress.

    We hope you will join us by adding your voice to this urgent conversation and taking concrete action. Whether you come to the convening or start a conversation with your grantees or funders about what you need to advance job quality in the nonprofit sector, this work requires all of us.

  3. A Path to Economic Well-being: The Endeavor Fund Cohort

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    We are thrilled to announce the seven Bay Area nonprofits receiving grants from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund’s most substantial philanthropic initiative to date — the Endeavor Fund. These seven nonprofits will be awarded a total investment of $24.5M over the next seven years to combat one of the toughest problems of our time; closing the racial and gender wealth gap. This cohort of nonprofits has over 150 combined years of experience in building systems for a more equitable future. They are leaders in fighting the barriers to economic well-being and share our steadfast commitment to centering communities by prioritizing values of family, belonging, shared responsibility, and possibility. Perhaps most importantly, the skilled individuals employed by these organizations are honored, trusted, and beloved by the people they serve. We proudly support these leaders and organizations — we share their vision of a better tomorrow and look forward to partnering with them to amplify their impact and contribute to creating a more equitable society.

    A grey haired smiling woman in a read shirt saluting from the window of a dark blue car. A solidarity sign is taped to the passenger window behind her. East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)

    is committed to advancing economic, racial, and social justice by building an inclusive economy based on good jobs and healthy communities. For more than 20 years, EBASE has united low-wage workers, communities of color, immigrants, and faith-rooted organizations to build power and create real change in worksites, neighborhoods, and at city halls. Its “whole worker” approach to coalition-building centers the voices of grassroots BIPOC leaders and meaningfully addresses a broad set of systemic challenges that are key to closing the economic and racial wealth gap: access to quality jobs, stable and safe housing, investment in public services, and community health.

    Throughout its history, EBASE and its allies have won dozens of local policies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EBASE was at the forefront of fighting to protect the rights of tens of thousands of low-wage workers, who are majority people of color and were deemed to be essential workers — the backbone of our economy. EBASE won a nationally precedent-setting good jobs policy that has shaped large-scale economic development at the Port of Oakland, resulting in thousands of well-paying jobs. This transformative win benefits many residents of Oakland, primarily low-income, Black people, and people who were formerly incarcerated. EBASE is currently organizing tenants and convening coalition allies to pass local protections that ensure working families have stable and safe homes in response to the displacement of low-wage workers to Contra Costa County.

    East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)

    is a Black woman-led organization that promotes the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) women. The organization’s team of legal experts provides direct services in Alameda and Contra Costa counties for those enduring the structural barriers to prosperity. EBCLC’s services span eviction defense, debt alleviation, immigration relief, record remedies, education justice, public benefits advocacy, and transactional legal services.

    By investing in systems change, EBCLC leverages real-time data from its legal practice to draft and champion legislation that addresses the most essential racial and economic needs in the community. Its unique ability to understand current trends led EBCLC to drive Alameda County’s eviction moratorium, the longest-lasting in the country, by tying it to the lifting of the COVID-19 public health order.

    Looking from above into a commercial kitchen with chefs preparing food La Cocina

    cultivates low-income women entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their food businesses. The organization focuses primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities because these entrepreneurs experience a comparative lack of resources and more significant barriers to entering the formal food industry. For over 18 years, La Cocina has been reducing barriers by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance, and access to market opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs — 94% of them women, 94% of them people of color, and 65% of them parents.

    What started as a small grassroots organization in the Mission District of San Francisco has grown into the best-known kitchen incubator program in the United States and has inspired similar nonprofit incubators across the globe. There are currently over 80 active businesses that are part of the La Cocina community, which includes businesses at the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, the nation’s first women-led food hall. At its core is a commitment to preserving and reinforcing a vibrant, inclusive, and diverse local food economy. Food businesses are not merely ways to build wealth: they connect the whole ecosystem of an economy — customers, farmers, small vendors, neighborhood partners, the city, and more. La Cocina has built a place where women, BIPOC, and immigrant small business owners can claim a place at the table and be the catalysts for economic development for their communities.

    Oakland Kids First (OKF)

    is a youth-centered organization that advances racial justice and education equity. Every year, OKF provides hundreds of students of color across Oakland public high schools with paid internships, academic and postsecondary support services, case management, leadership development programming, and organizing opportunities. In short, OKF ensures that students have access to the programs and resources needed to navigate existing learning conditions and the support to transform systemic inequities through organizing.

    OKF’s youth-led organizing campaigns include school-based advocacy, as well as citywide campaigns to provide students with the conditions they need to thrive. Recently, OKF youth leaders built a youth coalition to research and co-write the Oakland Youth Vote legislation with the City Council President, which would lower the voting age in local school board elections to include 16 and 17-year-olds. That policy passed the city council unanimously and made history when it passed with 67% of the vote. The Oakland Youth Vote campaign builds power for youth to make decisions about their own schools, hold elected officials accountable to meet their needs, and develop skills for a lifetime of civic engagement.

    A group of young school children holding their Oakland Promise Certificates of Scholarship and cheering Oakland Promise (OP)

    advances equity and economic mobility by providing Oakland’s young people and their families with opportunities and resources to fulfill their college and career aspirations. The organization brings a cradle-to-career, multi-generational support model to the Oakland community, with programs that start investing at birth and pave the way for economic security. Rooted in the belief that education is a key to breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty, OP offers programs to support children in every milestone of their educational journey, helping students and families navigate the complex systems of education across generations and overcome the barriers that often prevent low-income and first-generation students from accessing and completing college.

    Since 2016, OP has secured resources to support individual college savings accounts and scholarships for over 1,400 Oakland children and families, empowering Oakland parents to save, build assets, and even buy homes. In the last seven years, it guided 9,000 high school students to college and their chosen careers and awarded a total of $18.5M in scholarships to over 2,800 graduates. This spring OP is poised to award a record-breaking 900 scholarships to Oakland public high school seniors starting their postsecondary journeys. The organization expects to support college savings accounts and scholarships for 30,000 children and families through the year 2035.

    Four young adults wearing black Young Women's Freedom Center shirts and blue jeans walking on a sidewalk Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC)

    provides support, mentorship, training, employment, and advocacy by and for young women and trans youth of all genders in California who have grown up in poverty, experienced the juvenile legal and foster care systems, have had to survive living and working on the streets, and who have experienced significant violence in their lives. The organization’s work is grounded in a holistic approach that meets immediate needs, builds each participant’s capacity for self-determination, and creates systemic change for our communities through local and statewide organizing.

    In 2019, YWFC successfully organized to shut down San Francisco’s juvenile hall in order to stop the criminalization of BIPOC young women and trans youth of all genders. To prevent new pipelines to incarceration from being built to replace juvenile halls, YWFC launched the Beloved Housing continuum: a transformative, community-based alternative to incarceration for young people, their families, and communities. In 2020, the organization launched Freedom 2030, a ten-year campaign to end the incarceration of women and trans people of all genders in the state of California. YWFC has continued to win victories towards these goals, including organizing to get to zero girls incarcerated in Santa Clara County’s juvenile hall, passing statewide legislation to provide a Youth Bill of Rights in all county juvenile detention centers, and continuing to organize communities across the state of California in support alternatives to incarceration.

    Two young women leading a classroom of student organizers Youth Organize! California (YO! Cali)

    is a network of 115 organizations dedicated to expanding the capacity of young people and organizations in California to practice transformative youth organizing, build power, and create long-term transformation in our communities. YO! Cali builds leadership pathways and serves as a hub for youth organizing, with directly impacted young people at the forefront of a bold, multi-issue movement for transformation, liberation, healing, collective power, and justice. Launched in 2017, YO! Cali was established by more than a dozen youth organizing and multi-generational organizations to work toward an interdependent future of abundance and justice. YO! Cali focuses on four core strategies to strengthen the youth organizing ecosystem and social justice movement: capacity building, power building, healing justice, and field building.

    YO! Cali leverages the power of youth leaders from low-income communities of color to transform the systems that perpetuate scarcity, inequity, and racial injustice. With hundreds of youth across the state, the organization drafted the Young People’s Agenda, which reflects their vision for a world with equity, freedom, and racial and social justice, rooted in mutual support, strength, leadership, and love. In addition to training youth leaders, YO! Cali mobilizes funders to rally behind the voices and vision of young people for our collective prosperity.

  4. Introducing the Generational Recovery Fund

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    The Walter & Elise Haas Fund is honored to participate in and support the Generational Recovery Fund, a pooled fund dedicated to the recovery of those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: The Bay Area’s youth. Its first round of grants distributes $1.5 million to fifteen youth-serving nonprofits in San Francisco.


    About the Generational Recovery Fund

    The Generational Recovery Fund (GRF) recognizes the power philanthropy has to help counter the potentially disastrous, pandemic-related consequences faced by young people — especially those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). On top of personal and economic losses, this generation of youth has lived through a crucial year and a half of their lives dealing with isolation, illness, and uncertainty.

    Over the past four months, the Generational Recovery Fund raised a first tranche of over $1.5 million to be disseminated as general operating support grants. This first round of grants aids fifteen youth-serving nonprofits in addressing priorities identified by youth themselves: wellness, learning, and jobs.

    While Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) facilitates the GRF with pooled fund support from Amalgamated Foundation, the GRF is independent by design. And its grant making decisions are made by an independent team of youth and adults.

    Centered on Youth

    It is important to us that the GRF not only invests in youth, but also that it centers on youth at every turn. Youth voices guided the creation of the GRF in April 2021, highlighting their needs beginning in those first weeks of California’s initial shelter-in-place order. Youth co-designed the pillars and priorities for the Generational Recovery Fund’s first round of grants. Alongside other community members, youth nominated organizations for potential grants, joined panels to provide direction on grantmaking, and worked alongside adults in making final decisions.

    The GRF holds to heart the belief that nonprofit resilience today will translate to youth resilience both today and tomorrow. That’s part of why Generational Recovery Fund grants are intentionally given as general operating support grants. It’s also why GRF grants are made over a time period determined by each recipient organization, so nonprofits can respond to their community’s immediate needs while planning for long-term recovery.

    Grantmaking Details

    Generational Recovery Fund grantmaking is directed towards youth aged five to eighteen, and especially to BIPOC youth in that age range. It also favors organizations run by BIPOC leadership, that are deeply rooted in the community, and that offer youth compensated leadership positions. Among the three focus areas of the Generational Recovery Fund (wellness, learning, and jobs), youth prioritized those addressing wellness and jobs.

    From an initial list of over 40 nominated organizations, fifteen were awarded grants. Nonprofits receiving grants:

    • train and pay youth as environmental educators and community stewards;
    • organize systems-impacted girls and gender-expansive youth of color to campaign and lead the work to decriminalize girls;
    • empower Samoan and Pacific Islander elementary school youth through their culture;
    • teach low-income working youth about transforming their first paychecks into economic mobility pathways, so they can then train youth-serving nonprofits in the same; and
    • pay youth to support elders’ rental assistance needs and to run a community food pantry.

    Learn more about all fifteen grantees on the Generational Recovery Fund website.

    What Comes Next

    The process of growing this emerging fund has been extraordinary, from the ready generosity of the eight different foundations involved, to the incredible tenacity of the nominated nonprofits — we wish only that we had been able to provide grants to all of the recommended organizations. $1.5 million is worth celebrating and also not nearly enough.

    Please consider helping the Generational Recovery Fund do more for youth.

    These grants represent only the Generational Recovery Fund’s first round. We want your help in strengthening the process, whether by focusing the areas of support; adjusting our direction to match specific, local community needs; or by providing funds. Already, participating funders are convening to consider grantmaking needs in the East Bay for the next round of giving. Let’s do more, together.


  5. Welcome Jamie Allison-Hope, New W&EHF Executive Director


    The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce that effective February 1, Jamie Allison-Hope will succeed Pam David as Executive Director of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

    Ms. Allison-Hope is currently Vice President Programs at the S. H. Cowell Foundation. Pam David, the Fund’s ED for 15 years, stepped down as planned at the close of 2017 — she is now pursuing the next phase of her career.

    In the 65-year history of the Fund, it has had only had two Executive Directors, making Ms. Allison-Hope its third. Board President, Peter E. Haas, Jr. extends his congratulations and welcome to Jamie Allison-Hope:

    We’re so pleased to have someone of Jamie’s caliber joining with us to lead the Fund in its future work. Jamie is devoted to developing the kind of leadership that brings a more healthy, just, and vibrant society closer to hand for everyone. Through her work with S. H. Cowell Foundation, she understands how crucial it is to ensure access and create opportunity for all in the Bay Area and beyond. On behalf of my fellow trustees and staff, I’m thrilled to extend to Jamie the warmest of possible welcomes. We are very much looking forward to working with her.

    Jamie Allison-Hope has helped lead the S. H. Cowell Foundation since 2006, beginning as the Program Officer in charge of Youth Development grantmaking. She became a Senior Program Officer in 2012, her portfolio growing to encompass Affordable Housing and management of program-related investments (PRIs). Then, she took over the role of Vice President Programs for S. H. Cowell Foundation in 2016.

    Ms. Allison-Hope grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics at the University of Tennessee. She earned her Masters from the University of California at Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. Her breadth of civic involvement includes serving on the board of The Whitman Institute, a philanthropy focused on promoting equity, among other priorities.

    Ms. Allison-Hope says:

    Being asked to build on the legacy of the Fund’s work is an extraordinary opportunity. It’s also a privilege, and one I’m honored and thrilled to have been asked to take on. The Fund’s mission of building a healthy, just, and vibrant society is one to which I have long been personally committed — and it’s one that’s vitally important for all of us to invest in right now. I look forward to helping to lead the Fund into its next phase of work and to adding my creativity and innovation to what Pam David, the family, staff, and so many others have built.

    Over its long existence, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund has remained focused on the areas of support Walter A. Haas, Sr. and Elise Stern Haas identified in 1952. Their sense of responsibility for society, their active involvement and leadership, and their respect for community found a strong champion in Pam David.

    Among other achievements, Pam extended the Fund’s giving to include a portfolio to address economic security for the working poor and built upon the Fund’s commitment to collaborative partnerships and community initiatives that continue to improve lives in the Bay Area and beyond. Pam predicts Ms. Allison-Hope will find great success at the Fund:

    Jamie Allison-Hope is an inspired selection by our board of trustees. She is an experienced and thoughtful leader who shares the family’s and my values and perspective on the role of philanthropy in our communities. I am confident that she will not just continue the Fund’s legacy of being a reliable partner, facilitator, and funder, but will take the Fund to new heights of relevance and effectiveness. It has been an honor to lead the Fund for the past 15 years, and I am so happy to have Jamie step in at this difficult time for the nonprofit sector and the communities to which we hold ourselves accountable.

    Please join us in welcoming Jamie Allison-Hope to the Walter & Elise Haas Fund!

  6. Pam David to Step Down as W&EHF Executive Director

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    The Board of Trustees of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund has announced that Executive Director Pam David will step down at the end of 2017, bringing her successful 15-year tenure to a close. During Ms. David’s stewardship, the vision and legacy of Walter and Elise Haas was enhanced and expanded for a new generation of trustees and residents of the continually evolving Bay Area.

    Leading by Example

    During her tenure as Executive Director, Ms. David built upon the Fund’s commitment to collaborative partnerships and community initiatives that continue to improve lives in the Bay Area and beyond. Under her leadership, the Fund launched an effective program area addressing economic security for the working poor, continued its commitment to public education, celebrated the Creative Work Fund’s 20th anniversary, and supported innovation in the Jewish community. Additionally, a $1 million annual Safety Net fund was created, helping communities respond to urgent food access and shelter needs. The Fund also played a leadership role in strengthening the capacity of anchor institutions in low-income neighborhoods to respond to disaster.

    Ms. David’s ability to bridge the gulf between the nonprofit, philanthropic, and government sectors increased the Fund’s effectiveness and reach at every level. Of particular note, she served as a board member and chair of Northern California Grantmakers and provided leadership to HOPE SF, San Francisco’s signature initiative to improve the lives of public housing residents.

    Inspired to Make a Difference

    Board chair William Goldman, a fourth-generation descendant of Walter and Elise Haas, said, “We have benefitted greatly from Pam’s ability to facilitate difficult conversations, find common ground, and build effective cross-sector partnerships. While Pam will step down at the end of this year, we know she will continue to offer her leadership and experience to benefit the social good. We applaud and honor all she has achieved as she approaches this next phase of her career.”

    Pam David, speaking of her departure, said, “I have had the immense honor of working with three generations of Haas family trustees and a staff that defines the word ‘excellence.’ I am grateful for the Trustees’ leadership, their critical support, and their enduring commitment.”

    Ms. David will serve as Executive Director of the Haas Sr. Fund until the end of December 2017. The trustees have begun planning for this important leadership transition and have launched a comprehensive search for her successor.

    About the Walter & Elise Haas Sr. Fund

    The San Francisco Bay Area’s Walter & Elise Haas Fund works to ensure access and create opportunity. Its support of a healthy, just, and vibrant society focuses on the arts, economic security, education, Jewish life, and safety net services that benefit people on the margins. The Fund was established in 1952.

  7. EVENT: How (& Why) Higher Ed. Contributes to Community

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    We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for a free event focusing on higher education’s role in building just and sustainable communities. We hope you will attend.

    Building Just and Sustainable Communities:
    Are Colleges and Universities Doing Their Part?

    February 21, 2017, reception 5 – 6 pm | program 6 -7 pm
    Presidio Trust South Gallery
    Presidio Trust Headquarters – 103 Montgomery St., the Presidio

    Colleges and universities have both special responsibilities and distinctive opportunities in creating strong and healthy communities. At their best, they contribute not only by preparing students for lives of engaged citizenship, but also by supporting research and institutional practices that serve the public good. In a moment of renewed focus on how local institutions can contribute to the sustainability of democracy, join us for a conversation about how higher education is rising to the challenge and building cross-sector collaborations to do so.

    Offered in partnership by Presidio Trust and California Campus Compact, this engaging evening of conversation features remarks by California Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn, followed by responses from the W&EHF’s Executive Director, Pam David, and Sheryl Evans Davis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

    [Register here]


  8. Successfully Navigating Leadership Transitions

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    created by Proletkult Graphik from Noun Project

    We are excited to share news of the California launch of What’s Next: Leading a Thriving Transition, a program for long-time nonprofit leaders who anticipate transitioning out of their leadership roles within the next five years.

    We know that leadership transitions — especially those of long-time leaders — raise specific challenges and opportunities for executives, boards, and organizations. This three-day program helps. It helps late-career leaders to explore their legacy; supports boards in preparing for new leadership; and strengthens organizational readiness for change.

    Each What’s Next program invites executives to two intensive retreats bolstered by coaching and a peer network that encourages thoughtful reflection on preparing for change. Leadership transitions may be inevitable but there’s no reason why well-planned transitions have to remain as rare as they currently are in the nonprofit sector.

    The Walter & Elise Haas Fund partners with The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, The Durfee Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in order to offer What’s Next: Leading a Thriving Transition sessions in California for the first time. We’re doing this because we believe well-considered leadership transitions ought to be the norm.

    As some leaders may not yet be ready to broadcast their plans, inquiries about or participation in this program will be kept entirely confidential. All inquiries and participant selection will be managed by Third Sector New England, the organization that has provided this program to more than 65 leaders to date.

    Northern and Southern California sessions of What’s Next: Leading a Thriving Transition are open to late-career leaders from any nonprofit sector, but space is limited.

    Cohorts will meet in:

    • Petaluma, March 20 to 22 and June 11 to 13
    • Santa Barbara, March 14 to 16 and June 4 to 6

    The deadline to submit applications is February 8, 2017.

    For more information, visit

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