Albert Haller Foundation boosts United Way, area food banks

As one familiar with a struggle through sometimes difficult economic conditions, Albert Haller was keen to make sure Sequim-area residents got a helping hand from those who could spare the funds.

Nearly 30 years after establishing a nonprofit foundation to do exactly that, Haller’s legacy is helping peninsula residents imperiled by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

The Albert Haller Foundation’s board members agreed recently to distribute $10,000 each to the United Way, Sequim Food Bank and Port Angeles Food Bank, foundation board president Gary W. Smith said.

Smith signed checks for the local nonprofits on April 14.

“Hopefully this will ease the paint a little and I know Albert would have been 100 percent on board as well,” Smith said.

The contribution had to come with an adjustment of Haller’s will, Smith noted. As board members corresponded in recent weeks remotely via email, they came to the conclusion the foundation should help with so many residents affected by COVID-19.

“The local food banks are obviously under a lot of pressure and in need of help but we had already donated our max contribution allowed under the terms of Albert’s will when establishing the foundation,” Smith said.

“We decided to amend the will and did so with a unanimous vote of the board,” he said.

Haller was born in Port Angeles in 1903 to Sequim Valley pioneers Max and Anna Haller. The 10th of 13 children, he began working in the woods at an early age. Expanding his log sales beyond the Olympic Peninsula, he at one time was the largest independent landowner in Clallam County.

But his wasn’t a riches to riches story. Family members recall that Haller and his wife Julia fed themselves from a home garden and fish from peninsula rivers. They lived a life of frugality and self-reliance, and in the beginning, a struggle financially, family members said.

That meager beginning and the lack of formal education stuck with both Julia and Albert Haller, friends recall.

Just prior to his death in 1992 at age 88, Albert Haller set up an estate and foundation that has donated millions to area groups, “to be operated exclusively for charitable … or educational purposes whose activities most closely correspond with my intention as to furthering the welfare of the citizens of Clallam County.”

For more information about the Albert Haller Foundation, visit www.alberthaller foundation.org.

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