The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (DLPF) was created in 1964 by David Packard (1912-96), co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and his wife, Lucile Salter Packard (1914-87). Mr. Packard was a lifelong conservative Republican, a staunch advocate of free-market capitalism, and a leading donor to the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. From 1969-72, he served as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Nixon.
DLPF did not become a major grantmaker in the philanthropic world until the early 1980s. Nor did it become fully funded until 1988, at which time Mr. Packard donated $2 billion in H-P stock to the Foundation. When Packard died eight years later, he endowed DLPF with the assets of most of his estate, thereby making it one of America’s largest and wealthiest grantmaking entities. But as the Capital Research Center points out: “When Packard died, control of his foundation went to his three liberal daughters, Nancy Packard Burnett, Susan Packard Orr, and Julie Packard, and his conservative son, David W. Packard. The charity decided to betray its benefactor’s commitment to conservative causes by defining donor intent in a way that ignored Packard’s conservatism.”
Packard’s grandchildren subsequently continued to move DLPF away from its founder’s conservative orientation, a process facilitated by the fact that a few of the founder’s core beliefs regarding environmentalism and population control could be easily reframed to suit liberal-left agendas. For example: (a) DLPF leaders embracing the notion of anthropogenic global warming could point to David Packard’s belief that pollution associated with fossil-fuel combustion was causing “some very drastic changes in our climate”; (b) DLPF leaders wishing to prevent all forms of industrial development on vast swaths of wilderness land could cite the fact that Mr. Packard in the 1980s had led efforts by the Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to buy thousands of acres of habitat in order to render them off-limits to builders; and (c) DLPF leaders who supported the expansion of abortion rights could claim some measure of fidelity to the founder’s assertion that without effective “population control,” the earth’s environmental problems would “eventually … become unmanageable.”
Today DLPF states that its mission is to “wor[k] with partners around the world for social, cultural, and environmental change designed to improve the lives of children, families, and communities.” Toward these ends, the Foundation has established several distinct program areas:
(1) The Climate Program, which funds a wide array of organizations committed to the anti-capitalist agendas of radical environmentalism, embraces the premise that the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with human industrial activity are major contributors to the potentially catastrophic phenomenon of global warming. To address its concern that “increasing threats such as overfishing and climate change are putting pressure on the ocean and damaging its ability to sustain ocean life,” this program aims to: (a) “ensure that fishing and marine aquaculture are sustainable”; (b) “protect places that are vital to maintaining biodiversity and wild fish stocks”; (c) “eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing … around the world”; (d) “protect seabirds and shorebirds and their habitats”; and (e) “understand and proactively address the impacts of greenhouse-gas emissions on the ocean.” The Climate Program has also backed land conservation efforts in the North American West, in part by “supporting the purchase of critical lands or easements protecting those lands.” For example, a major beneficiary of DLPF funding has been the Resources Legacy Fund, which, as the Capital Research Center explains, “networks with land trusts in particular areas and also acts as a pass-through organization for nonprofits interested in buying and preserving land.”
(2) The Population and Reproductive Health Program, which supports many left-wing feminist organizations that endorse unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, seeks to “slow the rate of growth of the world’s population” by funding efforts to “improve the quality of comprehensive sexuality education, voluntary contraception, and abortion care”; “shift social and cultural norms to allow women and youth to make their own reproductive health care decisions”; “create positive and effective messages about reproductive health and rights at the regional and global levels”; and “expand the availability of abortion technologies and providers.”
(3) The Children, Families, and Communities Program works to “ensure [that] all children and their families have access to and can afford quality health care and health insurance coverage.” Toward that end, this program supported the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the expansion of Medicaid during the early part of the Obama administration. Moreover, DLPF was a key funder of Health Care for America Now, an organization that favored the incremental implementation of a “single-payer,” government-run healthcare system. The Foundation has also lobbied for taxpayer dollars to be spent on: “training and professional development for child care providers and educators”; programs and groups that “provide parents, family, and friends that care for children with the skills and support they need to create nurturing environments for children”; efforts to “integrate after-school and summer learning programs into the education system to narrow the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income students”; and the expansion of “access to the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”
(4) The Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation Program supports “smallholder farms” while opposing large-scale industrial agriculture, whose practices it views as a grave threat to “biodiversity.” This program’s efforts are focused primarily in Ethiopia, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For information about additional PF programs, click here.
To view a list of noteworthy grantees of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, click here.