Standing With Grantees
The Walter & Elise Haas Fund stands with those who fight for justice. We stand with those whose courage and moral leadership insists that we address racial discrimination and anti-Black racism immediately. Last week the Fund’s Board Chair John Goldman and I co-authored a message to the Fund’s grantees. We share it here publicly on our website, so that all can know what to expect of me, staff, and trustees in the work ahead.
June 5, 2020
We write to you today from a place of sadness, anger, and fear, but also from a place of resolution, focus, and determination. Our emotions run deep as our nation reels in anguish in the aftermath of another murder of a Black person at the hands of the police.
We stand with those who are marching in the streets to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among many others, and recognize that police brutality is a symptom of a larger system of white supremacy that is embedded in every aspect of our society.
We also stand with each of you. We know that many of you as individuals are hurting in this moment. And we know that the communities you work with are hurting, too.
Together, as the Executive Director and the Chair of the Board of Trustees, we lead a foundation that for over 60 years has quietly and humbly supported efforts in the Bay Area to build a more just and equitable society. Our founders had a strong sense of justice and they believed in a shared responsibility for our community. While we are proud of what we have accomplished in partnership with you, the voices calling out in righteous anger over the past week have called into question the humility with which the Fund fulfills its mission. It’s not enough to let our funding and the work of our grantees speak for themselves. While words feel utterly inadequate to address the vast injustice and inequity we are witnessing, silence is its own form of violence. The fact is: the words of the Fund have power and it’s incumbent upon us to use that power to advance the rights of all of us, especially those who suffer injustice daily because they are Black.
The ugly stain of systemic, institutionalized racism affects every aspect of American society. Profound inequities underlie our systems. They are not just limited to encounters with police. Black and brown communities are disproportionally impacted by under-resourced schools and public health, economic, and climate crises. Our understanding of this, as a foundation, guides our support of the work we do with you.
The coming weeks will be challenging for all of us. When you next reach out to the Fund, you may have tears, we may have tears.
Our hearts are heavy, and we recognize that taking care of our hearts, minds, and bodies is important. While we feel a sense of urgency, we have a long road ahead. Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other, and let’s take care of our community.
Jamie and John