Following Sale of Company, Haas Trusts Could Increase Giving

With the recent sale of Rohm & Haas to the Dow Chemical Company, the assets of the Philadelphia-based Haas trusts have swelled to $2.7 billion, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Even before the Dow-Rohm deal, which was finalized on April 1, the four Haas charitable lead trusts had distributed more than $40 million to nonprofits in 2007, including arts and cultural organizations, churches, land conservation groups, and arboretums. The sale, however, has made the trusts among the largest private sources of philanthropic funds in Philadelphia, after the Pew Charitable Trusts. According to the Inquirer, experts believe the Haas trusts could award as much as $67 million a year to nonprofits if they keep giving at the same rate. In addition, the Haases control two family trusts — worth a total of about $2.3 billion when the Dow-Rohm deal closed — which could also potentially be used for charitable giving.

Created by Otto and Phoebe Haas in the 1950s and '60s, the Haas trusts historically have focused on giving in the Philadelphia region — including to the William Penn Foundation, which received $201.5 million between 1993 and 2007 from one of the trusts. Although the Haas family has dispersed geographically and grown in number, leading to a diversification of the trusts' giving, the family has said it remains committed to the region.

"The Haas family's commitment to Philadelphia remains unchanged," a Haas family spokesperson told the Inquirer. "The trusts will continue to support the William Penn Foundation, as has been the case for many decades....The trustees remain committed to their fiduciary responsibilities and to ensuring that the resources of the trusts continue to support worthwhile causes."

Bob Fernandez. "Charity Giants." Philadelphia Inquirer 04/26/2009.