The late William R. Hewlett (of Hewlett-Packard fame), his wife Flora, and their eldest son Walter established this Foundation in 1966 to “promote the well-being of humanity.” When William Hewlett died in 2001, he bequeathed the Foundation more than $5 billion, making it one of the America’s largest philanthropic organizations. Now chaired by Walter Hewlett, the Foundation focuses primarily on “solving social and environmental problems.” Its grant-making focuses on three major program areas:
Education: Aimed at “improv[ing] the quality and equality of education in the United States and throughout the developing world,” this program is divided into the categories of: California K-12 Reform; California Community College Reform; Open Educational Resources; and the African Education Initiative to fund “universal education, particularly in some of the most resource-poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa.” Additional funds are earmarked for the education of “underserved” (i.e. minority) students in the United States.
Environment: This program has three principal objectives: “to save the great ecosystems of the North American West”; “to reduce the environmental impacts of fossil-fuel energy systems by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources”; and “to build an infrastructure for environmental concerns among California’s growing but still underrepresented populations in the L.A. basin and the Central Valley.” The program’s grant-making priorities are rooted in the notion that wilderness areas in the American West currently “face unprecedented development pressures,” most notably global warming caused by human industry, which the Foundation deems one of “the chief environmental concerns of our time.”
Performing Arts: This program generally supports established organizations whose annual operating budgets are larger than $100,000, rather than start-up ventures.
The Hewlett Foundation also has program initiatives in the areas of conflict resolution, population control, U.S.-Latin American relations, and global affairs.
Among the many groups that the Hewlett Foundation supports directly are the Advancement Project, American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education; the American Civil Liberties Union; Amnesty International; the Aspen Institute; the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN); the Brookings Institute; the Center for International Policy; the Center for the Advancement of Women; the City University of New York; Columbia University; Defenders of Wildlife; the Economic Policy Institute; Ecotrust; the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; the Environmental Defense Fund; the Environmental Working Group; Harvard University; Human Rights First; Human Rights Watch; the Institute for America’s Future; the International Crisis Group; the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund; the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Ms. Foundation for Women; the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League Foundation (NARAL); the National Partnership for Women and Families; National Urban League; the National Wildlife Federation; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Nature Conservancy; Planned Parenthood; the Ploughshares Fund; the Plowshares Institute; Population Connection (formerly known as Zero Population Growth); the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Sierra Club; the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center; the Urban Institute; the Wilderness Society; the World Resources Institute; and the World Wildlife Fund.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, click here.