The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a foundation created by David Packard, cofounder of Hewlett-Packard, in 1964. It supports environmental causes, population control programs, and three programs created by David Packard: the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Packard Fellowships in Science and Engineering.
David Packard (1912-1996) was the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, one of the first large corporations to emerge from Silicon Valley. Packard was born in Pueblo, Colorado, and was admitted to Stanford University in 1930. At Stanford, he met William Hewlett, and they decided to go into business together. After both men worked for General Electric for five years, they decided to launch their company in 1939. The garage that was Hewlett-Packard’s first office—at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, California—is now a National Historic Landmark.
Hewlett-Packard began by selling oscillators to Walt Disney and other clients, and then was one of the first companies to develop personal computers and printers. Under Packard and Hewlett’s leadership, HP turned out scores of innovative products, including one of the first handheld calculators in 1972 and the first inkjet printer in 1984. Packard was associated with the company until his retirement in the 1990s, except for a three-year period when he served as deputy secretary of defense in the Nixon Administration.
David Packard was a Republican, who served as deputy secretary of defense between 1969-71. He was an elector for President Richard Nixon in 1972, and grew close to President Gerald Ford. A 1975 U.S. News and World Report article identified Packard as part of Ford’s “kitchen cabinet” or informal advisers who met with President Ford at least once per month. In August 1975, Packard went half time at Hewlett-Packard to serve as finance chairman of President Ford’s 1976 re-election campaign. He resigned this position in November 1975.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation was created in 1964, but it did not begin significant funding until the early 1980s and was not fully funded until Packard donated $2 billion to the foundation in 1988. Packard biographer George Anders writes that Packard expressed his intentions as a donor in a document written in the late 1980s which has never been made public. According to Anders, Packard wrote that the foundation’s first concern should be population control. Packard stated that an annual population increase of two percent would mean “utter chaos for humanity…The highest priority of our foundation must be to do what can be done to get the worldwide population growth” back to lower levels. “We must support abortion and any other policy that will help,” Packard wrote.
In 1988, after the Packard Foundation was fully funded, it increased its annual grants to population control programs from $1 million to $10 million. New York Times reporter Kathleen Teltsch stated that the additional funds would “emphasize Third World assistance and cover adolescent pregnancy and assured access to abortion.”
Environmental and Population Control Giving
Despite his opposition to unions and support for Republicans, Packard supported population control and considered himself an environmentalist. In a 1986 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Packard said that “the most important question we have to deal with is a combination of population control and he control of our environment—how to utilize the world in as effective a way as we can for the future of mankind. Anytime you look at the long-range situation, you come to the conclusion that, unless we can limit the population, the pother problems are eventually going to become unmanageable. Packard said the solution to global population growth was to be “more rational about birth control and abortion” and that “the United States should be a leader in helping with this problem of population control.”
In the same interview, Packard said that environmental degradation was a problem because “the environment is going to determine, in the final analysis, what population can be supported.” Packard said “a lot can be done” in the area of environmental policy, including “trying to preserve some attractive examples of ecology—so you can keep some of the original character of our country.” He also said that “we’re changing the character of our atmosphere” which could result in “some very drastic change to our climate.” Packard said the solution to America’s energy needs was nuclear power, and “we’re going to have to come to some form of nuclear power sooner or later—and I think we’re going to have to do that during the 21st century.”
David Packard supported conservation charities during his lifetime. In 1981 the New York Times reported that Packard chaired the Nature Conservancy’s Critical Areas Program Committee, which was raising $15 million by the end of 1982 to buy 22,000 acres of habitat. In 1985, Packard was one of the initial board members of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, created by Reagan administration Interior Secretary William P. Clark to buy and preserve habitat.
Packard Family Projects
The Packard Foundation also launched in the 1980s three programs it continues today: the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Packard Fellowships in Science and Engineering.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was the largest philanthropic project David Packard launched in his lifetime. Julie Packard, a marine biologist who has been the aquarium’s only executive director, told the New York Times in 1984 that “my father sort of challenged us to come up with a project that was all our own” to fund.
In a 1995 oral history David Packard recalled, “So we did a feasibility study and were told, yes, it is a viable program, and we could build an aquarium there which would cost about ten million dollars, and it would be successful and would pay its own way. So with that information we hired architects and engineers and proceeded to design the aquarium. Well, I didn’t know a damned thing about aquariums, but my wife and I visited every aquarium in the country, and my children visited some of the aquariums overseas.” 
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a 2016 budget of $136.6 million. Aquarium financials state that the Packard Foundation contributed between $1 million and $10 million to the aquarium in 2016. The aquarium gives the David Packard Award to its largest donor. In 2016 this award went to Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who received his award at a ceremony at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
According to George Anders, the children’s hospital “was Lucile Packard’s project.” Planning for the hospital began around 1983, and Lucile Packard saw some of the plans for the hospital before her death in 1987.
As she was dying, David Packard decided to name the hospital for his wife. It was the first building on the Stanford campus to bear the Packard name. “This is her project,” Packard said. “I’m not going to agree to less than that.” The Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital opened in 1991.
The Packard Fellowships in Science and Engineering have been awarded since 1988. They are currently five-year, $875,000 grants. The foundation says it has awarded $378 million in fellowships since 1988 and recipients have gone on to win the MacArthur Fellowship, the Nobel Prize in Physics, and the Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics.
After David Packard’s Death
When David Packard died in 1996, control of the Packard Foundation passed to his four children: Nancy Packard Burnett, Susan Packard Orr, Julie Packard, and David W. Packard. In 1999, the Packard Foundation board allowed David W. Packard to separate from the Packard Foundation with a grant of $1.6 billion (or 11 percent of the foundation’s endowment) to the culture-focused Packard Humanities Institute.
After Packard’s death, the Packard Foundation largely cut off grants to conservatives. It gave one grant to the center-right American Enterprise Institute and a three-year, $600,000 grant to the Stanford University-based center-right research group Hoover Institution. It has since occasionally given grants to Hoover for special projects.
The foundation continued its funding for population control. Susan Packard Orr, who became chairman of the Packard Foundation after her father’s death, told Stanford Business magazine in 1997 that “if you’re really concerned about the future of the human race, what it comes down to is that there are too many people. We’re not shy about stepping up to the plate and talking about the importance of family planning.”
A $10 million loan from the Packard Foundation enabled Danco to begin production of RU-486 (mifepristone), a chemical abortion pill. Packard population program head Sarah Clark told Time that Danco Laboratories was “not able to raise the money through regular channels. It didn’t surprise me. It made me sad.”
In the 21st century, the Packard Foundation launched a program of intensive land acquisition in California. University of Southern California historian Kevin Starr wrote in a 2004 Los Angeles Times op-ed that between 1998 and 2003 the Packard Foundation had spent $175 million buying and preserving 342,000 acres in California. The foundation’s giving, according to Starr, resulted in an additional $700 million in private and state grants to preserve land.
“Never before in California history has a nongovernmental agency acted with such sweeping and bold effect on public value, policy, and action,” Starr wrote.
A 2001 grant of $11 million allowed the University of California to acquire property used for the construction of the University of California (Merced), the tenth branch of the University of California system. Other donors included the Virginia Smith Trust and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which contributed $2 million. When the campus opened in 2005, Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Sara Hebel interviewed UC-Merced associate vice chancellor for university advancement, Michael I. Campbell, who “credits the Packard Foundation with saving the Merced campus.”
Its tax return for 2015 reported the Packard Foundation held an endowment of $6.8 billion. Susan Packard Orr is the foundation’s chairman, while Julie Packard and Susan Packard Bennett remain trustees. Three grandchildren of David and Lucile Packard—Jason K, Burnett, Katherine Orr, and David Orr—are also on the board.
Susan Packard Orr donated at least $2,500 to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and $100,000 to Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC affiliated with Planned Parenthood. The New York Times noted the principal activity of this super PAC was to broadcast “advertisements seeking to undermine Mitt Romney’s support among women.”
California Political Activism
The Packard Foundation has become heavily involved in California politics. In 2007 the foundation, collaborating with the California Endowment, the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation, created California Forward and its associated 501(c)(4), the California Forward Action Fund. The organization claims credit for referenda passed in the state that transferred redistricting of Congressional to an independent commission. In 2010 the organization persuaded California voters to pass Proposition 14, which changed the law so that the top two vote getters in a Congressional primary faced each other in the general election. The law has resulted in numerous two-Democrat (and a small number of two-Republican) Congressional races, and a growing number of two-Democrat statewide general elections.
Population Control Activities
The Packard Foundation continues to be active in population control activities. In 2011 the Times of India reported that a Packard grant to Population Services International would be used to distribute condoms to gas stations and convenience stores in the state of Bihar. The grant included funds for “four trained street theatre teams” who would conduct 400 performances on the importance of condom use.
The Packard Foundation donated $56 million to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America between 2000-15. In 2015, the Packard Foundation gave two grants to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America totaling $5.1 million, in addition to one $750,000 grant to Planned Parenthood’s affiliate in San Jose, California and $500,000 to Planned Parenthood’s Atlanta affiliate.
The Packard Foundation continues to give substantial amounts to environmental organizations. The third-largest grant made by Packard in 2015 was $34 million to the ClimateWorks Foundation. ClimateWorks was founded in 2008 as a joint venture of the Packard, Hewlett, and McKnight foundations, with additional grants from the Ford, Kresge, Moore and Rockefeller Foundations.
The ClimateWorks Foundation was created as a result of Design to Win, a 2007 study calling for foundations to spend heavily on all stages of environmental policy and advocacy.” The foundation funds nonprofits around the world, which lobby for restricting coal use, implementing national carbon taxes, tightening international treaties limiting carbon dioxide production, and discouraging the use of cars.
The Packard Foundation also supports the Resources Legacy Fund, which received five grants totaling $7.2 million in 2015. The fund networks with land trusts in particular areas and acts as a pass-through organization for nonprofits interested in buying and preserving land.
The Packard Foundation and Canada
Vivian Krause, a blogger and contributor to the National Post, has calculated that the Packard Foundation has contributed at least $28.7 million to environmental groups opposed to increased oil production in the western Canadian province of Alberta.
Krause also discovered efforts by the Packard Foundation to restrict or eliminate salmon farming in British Columbia. In 2011 she calculated that between 2000 and 2010 at least $85 million in Packard Foundation grants went to at least 56 organizations that worked to reduce or eliminate the consumption of farmed Canadian salmon in favor of salmon explicitly labeled as being from Alaska or “wild” salmon, 90 percent of which comes from Alaska. These Packard-funded groups included the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which received $68 million. In 2006, Wal-Mart announced that it would buy salmon only from fisheries certified by MSC, which barred non-certified Canadian salmon companies from selling to the world’s largest retailer.
Among other Packard-funded groups using their grants to promote American over Canadian salmon were the Georgia Strait Alliance and Tides Canada Foundation. The Monterey Bay Aquarium joined the campaign, with an exhibit that warned visitors “farming seafood isn’t the answer to saving salmon.” Canadian officials criticized Packard Foundation efforts, with Sen. Nicole Eaton (Conservative-Ontario) noting, “The Packard Foundation was very responsible for demarketing Canadian B.C. salmon […] It in effect destroyed B.C. salmon and it increased the value of Alaskan salmon.”