Recent Trends in Haas Fund Giving in the Bay Area

To close out the 2015 calendar year, lots of foundations made big grant commitments. But today we’re looking at the Walter and Elise Haas Fund and what it’s been interested in at the local level. In recent years, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund has spread its funding around fairly equally across the areas of the arts, education, economic security, and Jewish life.

Related: You Say Haas, I Say Haas: Key Differences Between the Bay Area's Two Haas Funds

But what do those broad categories really mean for local nonprofits? Here we take a closer look at a few recent grantees and trends in Haas Fund giving.

Youth Arts

One of the biggest trends in Haas giving is youth arts in various forms. Haas supports many different types of art for kids and teens, which is evident in its grantmaking. For example, the funder gave $15,000 to CANTARE Con Vivo, which provides tuition-free music instruction underserved Oakland public school students. Haas also gave $15,000 to First Exposures, which serves low-income youth with digital and darkroom photography instruction, museum visits, and support in showing their work.

Another $2,500 went to the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco to train young opera talent, and $20,000 went to the Oakland Youth Chorus to take on an additional 90 in-school students. Youth journalism has also captured Haas attention, as Oakland’s Youth Radio received a $70,000 grant for programs as well.

But of note, established adult-level arts programs have been steadily receiving Haas’ support too, including the San Francisco Opera Association, San Francisco Film Society, and San Francisco Ballet Association.  

Employment Assistance

Finding a job after jail is an uphill battle, but fortunately there are quite a few nonprofit programs in the Bay Area dedicated to this cause. The Haas Fund committed $50,000 to the Oakland-based Center for Employment Opportunities to pilot a training component that prepares men and women recently released from prison for higher-paying jobs.

Haas also sees Employment assistance as one way to tackle homelessness. It committed $100,000 to the Community Housing Partnership in San Francisco to develop additional training and placement capacity for a higher tier of jobs for chronically homeless individuals. Haas also gave $25,000 to the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative to construct a new housing complex by employing economically advantaged workers. This group also provides job placement and financial capability programming to the formerly homeless and low-income residents.

Teacher Training

More and more funders these days are seeing teacher and principal training as the key to student success, and the Haas Fund is no exception. In a recent grant cycle, Haas awarded a $60,000 grant to the Alameda County Office of Education to train teachers and teaching artists how to integrate arts education with other academic subjects.

Haas also supported Leap: Imagination in Learning with $30,000 for its professional development programs and peer-to-peer learning exchange. And Haas’ $180,000 to Oakland Schools Foundation will be going towards attracting philanthropic support for effective staff-development programs. The San Francisco Teacher Residency Program received $180,000 from Haas to help more than double its capacity by 2020. This group trains individuals who are committed to teaching in San Francisco urban public schools.

It’s been a little while since the Haas Fund staff has updated its blog and press release page, so check out the Glass Pockets Grants List to see a list of recent grantees and a description of those awards. To learn more about this funder, check out IP’s profile, Walter & Elise Haas Fund: Bay Area Grants.