Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

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The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is a private foundation established in 1953 by Evelyn D. Haas and Walter A. Haas, Jr. As of 2011, the Fund has awarded nearly $390 million in grants towards advancing fundamental rights and opportunities for all.

Based in San Francisco, California, the Haas, Jr. Fund supports nonprofit organizations and initiatives in five main program areas: Immigrant Rights and Integration; Gay and Lesbian Rights; Education Opportunities; Nonprofit Leadership; and Community Partnerships and Initiatives.

The foundation is particularly well known in the San Francisco Bay Area for its support for institutions such as UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,[1] and for its leadership in local efforts such as the San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund and the transformation of Crissy Field from a former military base to a 100-acre urban national park.[2]


The roots of family philanthropy run deep in the Haas, Jr. family. Walter A. Haas, Jr.’s great-great-uncle Levi Strauss, an immigrant from Bavaria, arrived in San Francisco in 1853 and started a dry-goods house that grew into a prosperous business and eventually became Levi Strauss & Co. A donor to organizations serving children and the poor, as well as UC Berkeley, Strauss was credited in a 1902 obituary for his “numberless un-ostentatious acts of charity in which neither race nor creed were recognized.”[3] Six generations later, the Haas family still supports local San Francisco Bay Area institutions, as well as some national nonprofits, such as Oakland-based, Coaching Corps.

Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. started the Haas, Jr. Fund while Walter was working as an executive at Levi Strauss & Co. In its mission statement, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund describes its goal “to fulfill (its) founders’ vision of a just and caring society where all people are able to live, work and raise their families with dignity.”[4]

“I always seemed to have a consciousness about people who really struggled with great challenges and adversity, while trying to live positive, productive and healthy lives,” Walter remarked when asked why he created the family foundation. “Evie and I wanted our Fund to help those in need and to try to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s most gratifying when the Fund, quietly, can help people help themselves.” [5]

Evelyn and Walter’s three children are trustees of the Fund’s Board: Walter J. Haas is Chair, Robert D. Haas is Treasurer, and Betsy Haas Eisenhardt is Secretary.


  1. ^ Guthrie, Julian (1 July 2007). "THE HAAS LEGACY How one family's generosity and commitment to civic life are transforming the Bay Area". SF Gate. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Crissy Field". Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy website. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Fund History". Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr.Fund website. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Mission Statement". Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund website. 
  5. ^ "Our Founders". Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund website. Retrieved 30 April 2011.