Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund aims to promote equal rights among all people. The fund's major grantmaking programs are immigrant rights, gay and lesbian rights, education equality, nonprofit leadership development, and community institutions in the Bay Area of California.

FUNDING AREAS: Immigration rights and reform, gay and lesbian rights, education equity, leadership development, and community initiatives

IP TAKE: The Haas Jr. Fund is not accepting unsolicited grant proposals. However, nonprofits might be able to get involved by focusing on immigrant or LGBTQ rights and have creative ideas for moving the needle on those issues locally.

PROFILE: Established in 1953, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is a San Francisco-based foundation started by a descendant of Levi Strauss & Co. fortune. Levi Strauss was an immigrant from Bavaria who started the dry goods business that became synonymous with blue jeans in America. When Levi Strauss passed away in 1902, his obituary credited him for charitable contributions that were not bound by race, creed, or color. His great-great nephew, Walter A. Haas Jr., led Levi Strauss & Co. from 1958 to 1976. Today, Walter and Evelyn's children — Walter J. Haas, Robert D. Haas, and Betsy Haas Eisenhardt — run the foundation with this same open-mindedness and commitment to fairness and equal opportunity for all. Grantmaking includes immigration rights and reform, gay and lesbian rights, education equity, leadership development, and community initiatives.

Foundation grantmaking centers on improving equality. For many years, the Haas Jr. Fund has been a leader on gay marriage. The Haas Jr. Fund prioritizes grant proposals that demonstrate multi-year goals rather than short-term plans.

Grants range in size from $100 to more than $1 million. Search the funder’s grants database to learn more about past grantees. Grantmaking focuses on the Bay Area of California. The foundation tends to give out a couple of hundred grants each year totaling around $30 million. The board of directors believe the fund should make fewer but larger grants to match its program aspirations.

The foundation generally has restricted application access and now accepts grant applications by invitation only. If invited to apply, a grantseeker’s initial approach is a simple one- to two-page letter of inquiry outlining the program and organization goals. The fund's website features an online portal system to submit application documents. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at 415-856-1400 or siteinfo@haasjr.org.

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