William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Hewlett Foundation Logo
Founded 1966
Founder William Redington Hewlett and Flora Lamson Hewlett
Type Private foundation
(IRS status): 501(c)(3)
Method Endowment
Website www.hewlett.org

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a private foundation, established by Hewlett-Packard cofounder William Redington Hewlett and his wife Flora Lamson Hewlett in 1966.[1] The Hewlett Foundation awards grants to support educational and cultural institutions and to advance certain social and environmental issues. It is one of the largest grant-giving institutions in the United States, with assets of over $7 billion.[2]

The Foundation has grantmaking programs in education, the environment, global development and population, the performing arts, and philanthropy, and it also makes grants to aid disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its inception, the Hewlett Foundation has made grants of over $4.5 billion to thousands of organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the United States, and around the world.

In 2011, The Hewlett Foundation awarded a total of $202,844,000 in grants and disbursed $353,400,000 (estimate) in grant and gift payments.[3] The Hewlett Foundation is based in Menlo Park, California.

The Hewlett Foundation is wholly independent of Hewlett-Packard and its Hewlett Packard Company Foundation.

Grants and major donations[edit]

The foundation plays a key leadership role in the nonprofit sector. Although most grants tend to be less than $1 million, the Hewlett Foundation has made several notable gifts and grants.

In 2001, the foundation gave $400 million to Stanford University for humanities, sciences, and undergraduate education. At the time, the gift was the largest on record to a university.[4]

In 2007, the Hewlett Foundation made a $113 million donation to the University of California at Berkeley to create 100 new endowed professorships and provide financial help for graduate students.[5]

In 2008, the foundation awarded the Climate Works Foundation approximately $460,800,000.[6]

Other notable projects include:


The foundation focuses its resources on several key issues where it believes that it can have significant impact. About half of the foundation’s work is focused on international issues.

The foundation also makes grants to support local low-income communities and the field of philanthropy. With significant ties to the San Francisco Bay Area, the Hewlett Foundation’s core programs support nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged populations in the Bay Area.

Education Program[edit]

The Education Program makes grants to stimulate reforms and improve instruction in public schools and community colleges, and to create and distribute free online academic materials. In 2001, the Hewlett Foundation made a $400 million donation to Stanford University to support undergraduate programs in both the humanities and sciences.[4]

In 2007, the Hewlett Foundation made a $113 million donation to the University of California at Berkeley to create 100 new endowed professorships and provide financial help for graduate students.[5]

The Program’s K–12 education grantmaking in California focuses on improving student achievement and graduation rates. Their grantees conduct and disseminate high-quality research about California’s schools, assist policymakers, and build public support and political will for systemic reforms. The Program also supports research on improving the educational outcomes of community colleges.

The Education Program supports efforts to make high-quality academic content freely available on the Internet and to share these Open Educational Resources for teaching, learning, and research.

In May 2010 the Hewlett Foundation announced its strategy of Deeper Learning.[12] Deeper learning brings together five elements that work in concert: mastering core academic content, critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, working in collaboration, and learning how to monitor and direct one’s own learning.[5]

Environment Program[edit]

The Environment Program makes grants to support conservation in the North American West, reduce global warming and conventional pollution resulting from the use of fossil fuels, and promote environmental protection efforts in California. The Program supports domestic and international policies aimed at more efficient, lower-polluting cars and trucks, and by helping large developing nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming. For example, the Foundation’s U.S. grantees have developed data to inform the United States Congress’s consideration of a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and in China grantees have provided technical assistance to mayors and other officials on bus rapid transit and urban planning.

The Foundation’s New Constituencies for the Environment initiative works to strengthen environmental leadership among groups that have been historically underrepresented.

Global Development and Population Program[edit]

In March 2010, the foundation combined its Global Development and Population programs into a single program.[13] The Global Development and Population Program makes grants to promote "equitable" growth in the developing world. The Program seeks to improve U.S. foreign assistance policies and encourage the use of evaluations that measure the impact of these policies. Additionally, the Program supports organizations that monitor government budgets and expenditure and addresses issues including transparency and accountability in the use of public and private funds for development. It also make grants in developing countries to provide high quality basic education, family planning, and reproductive health. In the United States, the Program supports access to quality family planning and reproductive health services.[14]

The Program backs reforms that help struggling farmers in developing countries gain better access to markets both by improving local conditions and by eliminating trade barriers and agricultural subsidies in industrialized countries.

Performing Arts Program[edit]

The Performing Arts Program provides multiyear operating support to hundreds of area organizations in dance, music, theater, and arts education, as well as in film, video, and emerging media. Grants are designed to foster participation in the arts, broaden appreciation of diverse cultural expressions and promote the long-term vitality of arts organizations. Grantees include both large, well-established organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony and the American Conservatory Theater and more experimental companies. In 2006, the Hewlett Foundation provided $10 million to the San Francisco Opera Association and $5 million to the San Francisco Symphony.[15]

Philanthropy Program[edit]

The Philanthropy Program is designed to work with other nonprofit organizations to increase organizational effectiveness. The program provides tools to enable organizations to engage in strategic planning, and improve communications, technology, program evaluation, board development, and fundraising.

The Foundation also advances research about philanthropy—both in universities and in organizations, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy, The Bridgespan Group and the Foundation Strategy Group, with the goal of promoting knowledge useful to nonprofits and foundations.

The foundation also supports GiveWell.[16]

Special opportunities[edit]

Although most grantmaking takes place within the Programs, Special Projects provides support to academic, research, and cultural institutions that do not fall within the guidelines of particular programs—for example, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University’s School of Humanities and Sciences, and the University of California at Berkeley.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William and Flora Hewlett and the Hewlett Foundation (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website)
  2. ^ "About the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation". William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  3. ^ About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website)
  4. ^ a b Hewlett Foundation gives unprecedented gift (The Stanford Daily, May 3, 2001)
  5. ^ a b c Hewlett Foundation Gives $113-Million to U. of California's Berkeley Campus (The Chronicle of Philanthropy, September 10, 2007)
  6. ^ [1] (Top 50 International Grants Awarded by Foundations for Climate Change)
  7. ^ Building a new model for investigative reporting (California Watch. Retrieved 2012-05-18)
  8. ^ Mellon, Hewlett Foundations grant $11M to launch free MIT course materials on web (MITnews, June 18, 2001)
  9. ^ Historic Agreement Reached to Purchase San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds
  10. ^ Conservation Groups Announce $96 Million Fund to Protect Great Bear Rainforest
  11. ^ Lawrence Lessig on the History of Creative Commons (A video of Lessig's speech at the iCommons Summit, July 30, 2008, in Sapporo, Japan.)
  12. ^ A Twenty-First Century Education: Hewlett Foundation Adopts "Deeper Learning" Strategy (Hewlett Foundation website, May 2010)
  13. ^ The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website
  14. ^ Global Development and Population Program – The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website
  15. ^ William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 2006 Annual Report(The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website)
  16. ^ Our Story (GiveWell website)

External links[edit]