“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 $9 billion. Click here for a brief biography of William R. Hewlett.
The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, environment, global development, performing arts, and population. In addition, the Foundation has programs that make grants to advance the field of philanthropy, and to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- 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 philanthropic activities. This, too, entails clear objectives and measures of success, without which staff cannot know how the risk eventuated. It 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 mission. This explains the 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, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation awarded a total of $483,654,925 in grants and disbursed $426,384,396 in grant and gift payments.
The Foundation's home in Menlo Park, California, is a highly functional, environmentally friendly building that manifests the Foundation's commitment to social and environmental values. The building is the first in California and only the fifth in the country to receive a Gold-level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. Click here to learn more about the Hewlett Foundation's extraordinary building.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is wholly independent of the Hewlett Packard Company and the Hewlett Packard Company Foundation.