About the Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world.
“Never stifle a generous impulse,” was a favorite saying of entrepreneur William R. Hewlett, who established the Hewlett Foundation with his wife, Flora Lamson Hewlett, and their eldest son, Walter B. Hewlett. Indeed, it was the personal generosity of Mr. Hewlett, who passed away in 2001, that has made the Hewlett Foundation one of the nation's largest, with assets of more than $6 billion.
The Foundation's programs have ambitious goals that 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, and supporting disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
With such far-reaching goals, and relatively limited funds to achieve them, we acknowledge how important it is to have sound strategies for success in all our programs. That approach is informed by three fundamental values:
- First, 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.
- Second, 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 grantmakings. 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.
- Third, 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. In 2007,
Information provided by the Hewlett Foundation