The first step in applying for a grant from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund is to make sure your organization or project fits with the Fund’s priorities — both generally and in terms of the specific program area you’re applying to.

These guidelines clearly outline what we do — and by extrapolation do not — fund.

From there, we strongly encourage you to investigate who we currently and historically have funded and why. Our grantmaking puts our guidelines into action, supporting organizations and projects that collaboratively advance our mission.

Is Your Project Eligible?

Applicants to the Walter & Elise Haas Fund must:

  • Fit with the Fund’s grantmaking priorities, both generally and in terms of the specific program area to which they are applying.
  • Be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and not classified as a private foundation under Section 509(a) of the Code. In selected cases, the Fund might consider support for projects sponsored by governmental entities.
    • Organizations may submit applications through a sponsoring organization if the sponsor meets the above criteria and provides written authorization that confirms its willingness to act as the fiscal sponsor.
  • Be based in or manage significant activities in San Francisco or Alameda County for grants in most program areas.
    • In terms of Alameda County, the Fund places the highest priority on projects in Oakland and Berkeley.
    • Jewish Life program projects may extend throughout the Bay Area.
    • Creative Work Fund considers applications from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

As a general rule, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund does not provide grants:

  • To individuals or to for-profit entities
  • For general fundraising benefits and events
  • For endowment campaigns, with rare exceptions made for organizations that have a long-standing relationship to the Fund or when endowment goals are incorporated into a larger capital campaign
  • For the creation of a film, video, or creative artwork (except through the Creative Work Fund)
  • For scholarships or fellowships

If your project or organization fits with the Fund’s priorities and meets these eligibility requirements, you may request an account on our grants portal in order to submit a letter of inquiry.

Letter of Inquiry

The Fund invites applicants to submit brief letters of inquiry as the first step of the grant application process. These allow you to quickly and concisely communicate the main ideas of your project and your organization without the burden of providing extensive financial and organizational information.

Download a Word document detailing all the things we ask for in a letter of inquiry.

Letters of inquiry are reviewed on an ongoing basis. In most cases you’ll hear from the Fund within six weeks about whether you should proceed to submit a full grant proposal.

Full Proposal

A full grant proposal builds upon your letter of inquiry, allowing you to explain your project’s goals and objectives, the context for the work, and how you’ll evaluate its impact in depth. We ask for substantial details about project budget, organizational financials, personnel, and leadership.

Download a Word document detailing everything we ask for in a project support proposal.

Download a Word document detailing everything we ask for in a general operating support proposal.

Proposals are reviewed on an ongoing basis and are forwarded to the Fund’s Board of Trustees for their decision. The Board meets three times per year in spring, summer, and fall.

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