Evelyn Danzig Haas

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Evelyn Danzig Haas
Born Evelyn Danzig
Died February 3, 2010 (age 93)
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Education B.A. Wheaton College
Occupation philanthropist
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Walter A. Haas, Jr.
Children Robert D. Haas
Betsy Haas Eisenhardt
Walter J. Haas

Evelyn D. Haas (1917 – February 3, 2010) was a prominent San Francisco Bay Area civic leader and philanthropist. She was the co-founder of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Under the leadership of Evelyn and her husband, Walter A. Haas, Jr., the Fund contributed more than $364 million to hundreds of Bay Area cultural, civic, and social service organizations.


Born Evelyn Danzig in 1917, she grew up in New York City and graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she developed her love of art.[1] She met her future husband, Walter A. Haas, Jr., while he was attending Harvard Business School. They married and moved to San Francisco in 1940, where they raised their three children: Robert D. Haas, Betsy Haas Eisenhardt, and Walter J. Haas.

Evelyn's brother Jerome Alan Danzig was married to tennis star Sarah Palfrey.

Making the Arts Accessible to All[edit]

Mrs. Haas was devoted to finding ways to make art accessible to all people, and is perhaps best known in the Bay Area for her leadership on the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.[2] She and her husband were instrumental in helping to raise the $95 million needed to build the museum’s iconic facility[3] in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) area; it opened in 1995.

Mrs. Haas was involved in the San Francisco Symphony for more than 40 years and ultimately became a Life Governor of the institution. Under her leadership, the Haas, Jr. Fund provided the symphony with a $10 million lead challenge grant for the creation of Keeping Score, a wide-ranging initiative anchored by a PBS television series aimed at “bringing the power and joy of classical music” to millions of Americans’ homes and schools.[4]

Love of the Outdoors[edit]

Mrs. Haas was a great lover of the outdoors[5] who was committed to ensuring that all people have access to the beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area. She and her family spearheaded the restoration of Crissy Field, a former military base, into a 100-acre urban national park. The Crissy Field restoration project is now regarded as a national model for how to engage diverse communities in the creation and stewardship of urban parks.[6]

Mrs. Haas also was an avid fly fisher—a hobby she picked up from her husband. She co-authored a book, “Wade a Little Deeper, Dear: A Woman's Guide to Fly Fishing” in 1979, which became a classic among fly fishers. It was one of the first books to encourage women to take up the sport.

Chronicle Season of Sharing Campaign[edit]

Mrs. Haas was a leading advocate for the San Francisco Chronicle’s annual Season of Sharing Fund, which her husband first launched in partnership with the newspaper in 1986. After Walter’s death in 1995, Mrs. Haas became even more active in the campaign as one of its most vocal proponents, writing personal letters each year to urge hundreds of friends and colleagues to contribute to the cause.[7]

Personal life[edit]

She had three children with her husband Walter A. Haas Jr.: Robert D. Haas, former chairman and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. who is married to Colleen Gershon Haas; philanthropist Betsy Haas Eisenhardt who is married to Roy Eisenhardt; and Walter J. Haas, co-chairman of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and former chairman and CEO of the Oakland Athletics, who is married to Julie Salles Haas.[8] Funeral services were held at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco.[8]


  1. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (27 June 2011). "Philanthropist, arts patron Evelyn Haas dies". SF Gate. 
  2. ^ "Philanthropist, arts patron Evelyn Haas dies". San Francisco Arts Commission website. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Statement on Passing of Evelyn D. Haas February 3, 2010 Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/press/releases/news/835#ixzz1KxgSzlW8 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website. 
  4. ^ "Evelyn D. Haas, Co-Founder". Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund website. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Evelyn Haas Dies". Midcurrent.com. 
  6. ^ "Restoration of Crissy Field". National Park Service website. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Scherr, Judith (24 December 1998). "SEASON OF SHARING / Benefactor Haas' Memory An Inspiration to Donors". SF Gate. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  8. ^ a b San Francisco Gate: "Philanthropist, arts patron Evelyn Haas dies" by Michael Cabanatuan February 4, 2010

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