Non-profit

Walter and Elise Haas Fund

Website:

haassr.org/

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

94-6068564

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2020):

Assets: $263,301,616

Type:

Private Family Foundation

Formation:

1952

Executive Director:

Jamie Allison

Executive Director's Salary (2022):

$447,061 1

References

  1. “Walter and Elise Haas Fund.” Nonprofit Explorer, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/946068564.
Budget (2022):

Revenue: $-33,483,244

Expenses: $16,338,216

Assets: $240,889,163 1

References

  1. “Walter and Elise Haas Fund.” Nonprofit Explorer, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/946068564.

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The Walter and Elise Haas Fund is a private foundation created by the long-time president and board chair of Levi Strauss and Co, Walter A. Haas, Sr., and his wife Elise Stern Haas. 1

Walter and Elise Haas created the foundation to support arts and civic organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jewish causes, and organizations working to advance economic opportunity. 2 Over time, its grantmaking has shifted toward the political left, with its funding of arts, cultural, Jewish life, and economic opportunities program areas being de-emphasized in favor of supporting left-of-center “justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion” (JEDI) programs. 3 4

History and Founders

Walter A. Haas, Sr. was president of Levi Strauss from 1928 until 1955, then became the apparel company’s chairman of the board until 1970. 5 His wife Elise was the great-niece of company founder Levi Strauss and was widely active in San Francisco Bay Area social and artistic causes, becoming the first female president of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 6

The Haases created the Walter & Elise Haas Fund in 1952 to focus on supporting arts and civic organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jewish causes, and organizations working to advance economic opportunity. 7

The Walter and Elise Haas Fund has a large endowment with $240 million in assets as of 2022. It regularly awards $10 million to $13 million in grants each year, with $12,437,941 in grants in 2022. 8

Programs and Grantmaking

The Fund’s original focus areas reflected the broadly liberal principles Haas had championed at Levi’s, but over time, its focus and grantmaking philosophy has shifted increasingly leftward, accelerating after 2020 as the fund publicly committed itself to left-of-center “justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion” (JEDI) principles. 9

In 2023, the Haas Fund announced a “new grantmaking philosophy” focused on those left-of-center principles, combined with new methods for selecting and overseeing grantees that give left-of-center and radical leftist “community-based” organizations in the Bay Area the ability to “vet” future grants. 10 11 It stopped taking applications for grants in its traditional arts, disaster and climate resilience, Jewish life and racial justice programs, and announced that it would be restructuring its economic well-being grants in 2024 in accordance with its new philosophy. 12

Democracy Program

In 2020, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund joined other Haas family philanthropies, including the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the Peter E. Haas, Jr. Family Fund, in funding “democracy” programs that opposed “creeping authoritarianism, voter suppression, disinformation and other forces.” 13 This included co-founding the Democracy Policy Initiative at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. 14 15

Other Walter & Elise Haas Fund grants in in the democracy program have included $55,000 for the Take Back the Court Foundation and $100,000 for Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE). 16

Politicization of Jewish Life Grants

Over the years, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund’s original core focus on supporting Jewish social and cultural causes has been de-emphasized and politicized, with many Jewish Life Program grants in recent years going to Jewish organizations that advance left-of-center causes such as Bend the Arc, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, Integrity First, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, JOIN for Justice, J Street Education Fund, and the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. 17

Since 2014, the Fund’s Jewish Life program has reported $420,000 in grants to support the left-of-center Islamic Networks Group, such as a $60,000 grant in 2023 to support “interfaith programs that bridge Muslim and Jewish communities and to fight Islamophobia.” 18

California Black Freedom Fund

The Walter and Elise Haas Fund was one of the original donors to fund the creation of the California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF). CBFF is a left-of-center grantmaking organization that funds California-based groups that seek to eliminate what it perceives as systemic racism. It used funding from the original donors to provide grants that went towards advocacy for targeted redistricting, so-called racial equity, and the firing of allegedly racist police officers. 19

References

  1. “History & Legacy.” Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/our-identity/historylegacy/.
  2. “History & Legacy.” Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/our-identity/historylegacy/.
  3. Hernandez, Anna, Natalia Vigil, Suki O’Kane, and Marcel Marania. “Fund Adventures in Silo-Busting and Trust-Building .” Walter & Elise Haas Fund, June 18, 2024. https://haassr.org/blog/adventures-in-silo-busting-and-trust-building/.
  4. Allison, Jamie. “New Grantmaking Philosophy.” The Walter & Elise Haas Fund, May 11, 2023. https://haassr.org/blog/wehf-new-grantmaking-philosophy/.
  5. “Walter Haas Sr., 90; Ex‐Chairman Joined Levi Strauss in 1919.” The New York Times, December 8, 1979. https://www.nytimes.com/1979/12/08/archives/walter-haas-sr-90-exchairman-joined-levi-strauss-in-1919.html.
  6. “History & Legacy.” Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/our-identity/historylegacy/
  7. “History & Legacy.” Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/our-identity/historylegacy/.
  8. “Walter and Elise Haas Fund.” Nonprofit Explorer, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/946068564.
  9. Hernandez, Anna, Natalia Vigil, Suki O’Kane, and Marcel Marania. “Fund Adventures in Silo-Busting and Trust-Building .” Walter & Elise Haas Fund, June 18, 2024. https://haassr.org/blog/adventures-in-silo-busting-and-trust-building/.
  10. Allison, Jamie. “New Grantmaking Philosophy.” The Walter & Elise Haas Fund, May 11, 2023. https://haassr.org/blog/wehf-new-grantmaking-philosophy/.
  11. “A Path to Economic Wellbeing The Endeavor Fund Cohort.” Walter Elise Haas Fund, April 24, 2023. https://haassr.org/blog/endeavorfundcohort/.
  12. “Program Areas.” Walter & Elise Haas Fund, 2023. https://haassr.org/our-impact/program-areas/.
  13. Cathy Cha and Ralph Lewin, Guest Contributors. “Why All Funders Should Be Democracy Funders.” Inside Philanthropy, June 13, 2024. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2024/6/11/why-all-funders-should-be-democracy-funders.
  14. Cathy Cha and Ralph Lewin, Guest Contributors. “Why All Funders Should Be Democracy Funders.” Inside Philanthropy, June 13, 2024. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2024/6/11/why-all-funders-should-be-democracy-funders.
  15. “Democracy Policy Initiative.” Goldman School of Public Policy | University of California, Berkeley. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://gspp.berkeley.edu/research-and-impact/policy-initiatives/democracy-policy-initiative.
  16. “Grant Search Results for ‘Democracy.’” Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/grants/search/keywords/democracy/.
  17. “Search Results for Jewish Life Grants.” Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/grants/search/program/110/.
  18. “Grant Search Results for ‘Islamic Networks.’” Walter & Elise Haas Fund . Accessed June 24, 2024. https://haassr.org/grants/search/keywords/islamic+networks/program/110/.
  19. “Funders Join Together to Launch $100 Million California Black Freedom Fund.” California Black Freedom Fund, February 19, 2021. https://cablackfreedomfund.org/funders-join-together-to-launch-100-million-california-black-freedom-fund/.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1953

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $263,301,616 $1,721,908 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $237,988,230 $1,626,923 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $216,563,642 $490,216 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $229,266,015 $581,735 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $235,536,007 $516,735 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $215,734,747 $563,746 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $206,983,820 $704,329 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Walter and Elise Haas Fund

    1155 BATTERY STREET LS7
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111-1203