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Beatrice Hirsch Haas
Non-profit fundraising consultant and philanthropist
2024 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement

Be Haas photo portrait.jpg

QUICK FACTS

 

Birth Date

May 16,1905​

Death Date

September 13, 1997

Induction Year

2024

City, Town, Region

​Atlanta, GA

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1925 - Graduated from Wellesley College.

  • 1927 - Married civil rights attorney Leonard Haas; together they raised two children.
    Active in the League of Women Voters in 1930s, serving as president of both the Atlanta and Georgia Leagues, and treasurer of the
    National League in 1946.

  • 1944 - Member of the Arnall Commission responsible for rewriting the constitution for the State of Georgia 

  • 1945 - Named Woman of the Year for civic affairs.

  • 1954 - Co-founded Atlanta's first fundraising firm, Grizzard & Haas from which Alexander Haas, Coxe Curry & Associates and several other 
    Georgia-based fundraising firms trace their roots.

  • 1950s - Established Joint Tech-Georgia Fund.

  • 1961 - Named Woman of the Year, but this time for business.

  • 1988 - Honoree in conjunction with Visiting Nurse Association’s Fortieth Anniversary for over 15 years of dedicated service and outstanding 
    leadership.

  • 1973 - named to the Board of Directors of Rich’s Department Store and became one of the first women in Georgia to serve on a corporate 
    board.

  • 1988 - Recipient of the WSB/Atlanta Gas Light Shining Light Award.

  • 1993 - Received the Vitality Award from the Osteoporosis Foundation.

  • 1993 - First recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Georgia Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives (now known as the Association of Fundraising Executives/AFO). Later honored in perpetuity by the Atlanta Chapter of AFP which established the 
    Be Haas Award for Professional Excellence. 

  • 1997 - Honoree at the Wesley Woods Geriatric Center's Heroes, Saints & Legends Dinner.

Related Links

Through her work at Grizzard & Haas and the firms that followed, Be had the perfect platform for transforming her vast experience in community service and civic activism into a successful business; this expertise in turn helped strengthen the entire nonprofit community throughout Georgia. In the 1950s, long before Georgia’s public universities had robust, well-staffed development offices, Be was called upon to help create the Joint Tech-Georgia Fund. This fund was the first effort by both the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology to attract dollars beyond the state budget, setting the pace for private philanthropy efforts at those institutions.

In 1979, when Spelman College invited Be to serve as consultant, she helped Spelman establish the Friends of Spelman group, which brought together leading women from every corner of the community to raise major gifts for the college as well as its profile. In the wake of the devastating 1962 plane crash in Orly, France in which 130 arts patrons perished, Be was called on to advise Mr. Robert Woodruff and other leaders who were determined to build a new Memorial Arts Center (later to be called the Woodruff Arts Center) in memory of the victims.

 

From 1954 until 1997, Be served tirelessly as both volunteer and professional consultant for over four decades working with civic, business, and community leaders on myriad fundraising campaigns for all kinds of nonprofits, large and small, across the state. It is noteworthy that these were years of significant transition and growth in the third sector and included communities’ best efforts to respond to significant achievements by the Civil Rights Movement as well as the establishment in 1969 of the official IRS Code defining the 501 (c) 3 status for charities.

 

As Georgia saw explosive growth in the non-profit community after this era, Be and her firm were well-positioned to support that growth and did so with professionalism and grace. Among her long list of well over 100 clients throughout her long and productive career were the Atlanta History Center, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Boys Club of Albany, Georgia CASA, Georgia Legal Services, the Historic Savannah Foundation, Parent and Child Development Services of Savannah, Prevent Blindness Georgia, The Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, the United Negro College Fund, the YMCA and many others. Her firm was chosen to work with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to raise funds to match a national Ford Foundation grant.

 

In 1988, Be directed a major capital campaign for the Girl Scouts of Northwest Georgia, which at the time served young girls throughout North Georgia; it was the first capital campaign in the region to be led by all-female volunteer leadership. Be was known for her brilliance, her vast network of connections, and her unstoppable energy. She had no interest in elevating her own status but preferred to work quietly behind the scenes to help non-profit board and administrative leaders raise the profile of each organization she was called to serve. When she was honored in 1988 with the Shining Light Award, one writer said, “How on earth can one person have accomplished so much, and yet go so unrecognized? (It is) chiefly due to her own desire to always remain in the background.” Be continued working effectively with clients, directing major capital campaigns well into her 80s and 90s and driving herself to most meetings. In 1997, she died after a short illness at the age of 92.

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