08 February 2013

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's,  was established in 1967 to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. Its total assets (as of December 2011) are $7.29 billion.

The foundation's program goals include:
  • helping to reduce global poverty
  • limiting the risk of climate change
  • improving education for students in California and elsewhere
  • improving reproductive health and rights worldwide
  • supporting vibrant performing arts in our community
  • advancing the field of philanthropy
  • supporting disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area

Three fundamental values guiding these programmatic goals:

  • The Hewlett Foundation is concerned primarily with solving social and environmental problems. This requires that staff defines program objectives, grants, and other activities in terms of problems to be solved; identifies indicators of progress and criteria for evaluating success; and that the foundation is prepared to stay the course.
  • The solutions to serious problems are seldom known with anything close to certainty. The Foundation must therefore be prepared to experiment and take risks in its grantmaking. This, too, requires setting clear objectives and creating ways to measure success whenever possible. Without this information, it would be very difficult to know how the risk eventuated. This approach also requires a willingness to acknowledge and learn from failures.
  • Grantee institutions--nonprofit organizations and, in some cases, government entities--are essential partners in achieving the Foundation's goals. This explains the relatively high proportion of the Foundation's grants budget allocated to general operating support. It also implies a concern not only for the health of individual organizations, but for the fields in which they operate.


  • Education: pursues outlined goals by investing in organizations that develop and advocate for innovation in ideas, practices, and tools, as well as those that participate in the public debate on these issues.
    • Programs: 
      • Deeper Learning
      • California Education
      • Open Educational Resources
      • Serving Bay Area Communities
    • Goals:
      • increase economic opportunities and civic engagement by educating students to succeed in a changing world through deeper learning
      • improve the conditions for education reform in California
      • equalize access to knowledge for teachers and students around the globe through Open Educational Resources
      • raise educational achievement in disadvantaged communities in San Francisco Bay Area
  • Environment: to pursue program goals, the foundation works closely with a wide range of nonprofits and diverse populations that bring varied perspectives and practical experience to their grant-making.
    • Programs:  
      • Western Conservation
      • Energy and Climate
      • Serving Bay Area Communities
    • Goals:
      • conserve the ecological integrity of the Western U.S. and Canada for people and wildlife
      • avoid the worst effects of global climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions
      • ensure clean and efficient supplies of energy, while protecting human health and the environment
      • reduce environmental problems that disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Global Development and Population:  the foundation seeks to maximize its investments by supporting sound policy making through research, analysis and advocacy.
    • Programs:
      • Transparency and Accountability
      • Research, Policy Analysis and Advocacy
      • Quality Education
      • Quality Family Planning
      • Serving Bay Area Communities
    • Goals:
      • promote transparent and accountable governance around the world, including through a Mexico country program
      • foster greater use of high-quality research and analysis to create sound policy in developing countries, including through investments in training and policy research capacity
      • improve the quality of basic education and children's learning in the developing world
      • ensure access to quality family planning and reproductive health, both domestically and internationally
      • reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy in disadvantaged communities in San Francisco Bay Area and California's Central Valley
  • Performing Arts
    • Programs:
      • Continuity and Engagement
      • Arts Education
      • Infrastructure
      • Serving Bay Area Communities
Other Work:
  • Effective Philanthropy Group
    • Programs:
      • Strategy Support
      • Measurements and Evaluation
      • Organizational Learning
      • Organizational Effectiveness
      • Philanthropy Grant-making
  • Special Projects
    • Programs:
      • hosting initiatives that might (or might not) eventually become part of the foundation's primary strategies
      • supplementing program budgets when unexpected opportunities arise
      • supporting selected national media organizations
      • supporting social science research that informs the foundation's strategic pursuit of its goals
      • supporting think tanks and related institutions, some of which are especially concerned with international relations
      • supporting key academic and cultural institutions
      • supporting evidence-based policy making and common values

To learn more, including information of the foundation's impact, please visit The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website, here.

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