OVERVIEW: Haas's current LGBT work has three main areas of focus: defending marriage equality and LGBT rights through litigation, public education "about how the freedom to marry does not infringe on religious liberty," and raising awareness about anti-LGBT discrimination," although Haas funds several other areas related to LGBT rights.
IP TAKE: The Haas Fund is a pioneer in marriage equality and awards large-scale grants for a range of LGBT-related work. However, grant proposals are by invitation only, and clearly states on its website that few resources exist for new grantseekers.
PROFILE: Walter Haas Jr. and Evelyn Haas established the San Francisco-based Haas Jr. Fund in 1953. The family foundation seeks to create a "just and compassionate society where all people have the opportunity to live, work and raise their families with dignity." Leadership has remained in the Haas family as three of the late founders' children currently serving on the board. In the more than six decades since its founding, the foundation has awarded more than $500 million in grants. The fund invests in immigrant rights, gay and lesbian rights, education, leadership initiatives, and community initiatives.
Haas conducts its LGBTQ grantmaking through its gay and lesbian rights program, which addresses the employment, housing, and public accommodation needs of the LGBTQ community. The foundation claims it was "the first foundation to support marriage equality," which it did in 2001 providing $2.5 million in funding to the marriage equality organization, Freedom to Marry. The fund is also a member of the Civil Marriage Collaborative, a network of leading funders in the marriage equality movement, and continues to urge its peers who are not already on board with the CMC to do so.
In light of the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing marriage equality, Haas's LGBT work has stated three main areas of focus: defending marriage equality and LGBT rights through litigation, public education "about how the freedom to marry does not infringe on religious liberty," and raising awareness about anti-LGBT discrimination "and the need for protective policies." Indeed, in a recent interview, Senior Program Director for Gay and Lesbian Rights Matt Foreman specifically mentioned anti-LGBT discrimination as a major challenge for the movement going forward.
The foundation offers grants of $25,000 or more. Grantseekers can search the fund's excellent grant database. Past grantees include the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the Equality California Institute.
Owing to "significant commitments to current grantees and the clarity of our grantmaking strategies," Haas is currently accepting grant proposals by invitation only. Additional information about Haas' funding preferences can be found on its FAQ page.
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