- Assets: $107,003,493 (2016)
- Grants Received: $0 (2016)
- Grants Awarded: $5,049,074 (2016)
The Flora Family Foundation (FFF) was named after Flora Lamson Hewlett (1914-1977), who was a board of trustees member of Stanford University and the San Francisco Theological Seminary, an executive committee member of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, and the wife of Hewlett-Packard Company co-founder William R. Hewlett. FFF was established in 1998 when Walter Hewlett—son of William and Flora, and chair of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (WFHF)—approached Stanford University psychology professor Herant Katchadourian (a longtime family friend and a WFHF board member) with a proposal for a new family foundation that he and some of his siblings wished to create. That same year, Walter Hewlett drew up a constitution for FFF and designated Katchadourian as its president.
As his first order of business, Katchadourian interviewed the Hewlett family members to assess where they might wish to direct the philanthropy of their fledgling foundation. There was no clear consensus on this during FFF’s formative years, and thus the 351 grants (totaling $19.4 million) that the foundation made during its first four years of operation had no unifying theme. To help move FFF toward a more clearly articulated sense of purpose, Katchadourian proposed the creation of a family council that would meet annually and develop specific funding objectives for the foundation.
FFF finally began to find its purpose when a distressed Esther Hewlett (Walter Hewlett’s sister) alerted her family members to a Chicago Tribune article describing the vastly disparate living conditions that existed in wealthy as opposed to impoverished nations. Soon thereafter, the Hewlett family agreed to allocate $1 million annually to a “Gap Fund” aimed at closing the “poverty gap” in foreign lands. The first Gap Fund projects were earmarked for recipients in Africa and then expanded into Latin America and Asia.
In FFF’s calculus, poverty overseas is exacerbated by the material wastefulness and economic self-absorption of the United States and its people. To address this problem, the foundation—animated by “the belief that each individual has an obligation to go beyond the narrow confines of his or her personal interests and be mindful of the broader concerns of humanity”—has set up programs to encourage “less impactful consumption habits by Americans.” In a similar spirit, FFF programs to train “teachers for underserved communities” and to provide “after-school educational services for low-income children” are aimed at domestic poverty and its associated problems.
In addition to the foregoing areas, FFF grants today are allocated to a wide variety of recipient groups, both in the U.S. and around the world. These include organizations dedicated to health care, the environment, disaster relief, social services for women and children, arts and culture, international development, economic development, humanitarian assistance, cultural preservation, and international security. Having recently expanded its activities into the anti-war activism movement, FFF is now a member organization of the Peace and Security Funders Group.
Among the noteworthy recipients of recent FFF grants are such organizations as 350.org, the Apollo Alliance, EarthJustice, Ecotrust, Friends of the Earth (Indonesia), the Institute for America’s Future, the International Crisis Group, Mercy Corps, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, Oxfam America, Planned Parenthood, the Rainforest Action Network, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Tides Center, and UNICEF.
FFF’s Family Council, the consultative body that meets once a year to help determine the foundation’s policies and programmatic directions, currently consists of William and Flora Hewlett’s five children and twelve grandchildren, along with the spouses of those children and grandchildren. In addition, the foundation has a rotating eight-member board of directors, also composed of Hewlett family members.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Flora Family Foundation, click here.